Teamwork and Collaboration
A team can be a group of 3 to about 20 people with a specific goal. Any bigger than 20 is still a broad team but usually, if the size is any bigger than this, sub-teams start to form. A really simple definition of a team is that it is “a cooperative unit which has a common purpose and sees itself, and behaves as if it is a team by meeting regularly and sharing experiences and information”. A team can also be a fixed work group, as in an environment that is team-based, or a team can be a temporary, short-term group of people who come together to solve a problem and then disband. Whatever form they take, all teams need to be progressively “built” or developed in a step-by-step or deliberate fashion so that the team works together to achieve its mission and goals and perhaps even become high-performing over time.
Those of us who have had the good fortune to work on great teams know that it can be a privilege to work on a high-performing team, and it is unfortunately also a rarity. We therefore need to focus our attention as individuals on making the best possible contribution to the team, wherever it may be on its journey and whether it is young or relatively immature or been around for a while and very experienced.
Well before any attempt has been made to build a team’s skills, it is critical to understand the stages through which a typical team will travel over time. A considerable amount of research has been done on the stages of team growth (and especially by Bruce Tuckman). This research suggests that teams go through four distinct phases: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. The “Team effectiveness assessment” looks at an individual’s ability to play his or her part in building the team using the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing model, but with seven separate competencies categories to do so:
- Vision and directional focus (Forming)
- Alignment of values (Forming)
- Team role and competency clarity (Storming)
- Ground-rules determination (Norming)
- Performance appraisal effectiveness (Norming)
- Team learning and results focus (Performing)
- Boundary management (Performing).
This online and paper-based team assessment (see link below) allows individuals to not only carry out a self-assessment (which provides scores and interpretive information in all seven of the above categories) but also allows participants to undertake the team assessment as 180-degree feedback (including his or her boss) and even 360-degree feedback (adding in up to ten colleagues as well). Participants end up with a personalized report of results which also then shows where efforts to improve or make small adjustments in approach may be focused in the future. The $20 spent on this assessment is therefore well-worth the investment.