Anyteam, Anywhere, Anytime

Published: November 18, 2011

The CEO asked her team for fifteen minutes of their time to complete the Team Clock Online Assessment survey. She knew her team was strong but wanted to dig a little deeper into what opportunities might arise from pushing them to the next level. She wasn't prepared, however, for the results when she pressed "submit" to download her summary report.

100% participation from her team yielded a valid portrayal of the divergence of opinion amongst her team. In fifteen short minutes, they had spoken. As expected, they were organizationally strong in every category. Their mean scores were impressively high. Team like this know this about themselves. There is consensus investment in a common vision. They hold themselves and each other accountable. They innovate and exceed the expectations of their deliverables. They move with nimble focus when faced with change.

The mean scores didn’t tell the story. The insights were embedded in the standard deviations. Surprisingly, our CEO discovered that her strong, unified team had widely divergent perspectives on how best to approach the market challenges lying ahead. The business was nearing a sunset after thirty years of impressive impact in their industry. The succession plan was to fold the tent and celebrate a job well done. However, a significant faction of the team imagined the path to legacy differently than the leadership. Some team members were happy to ride into the sunset with smiles on their faces basking in the contentment of three decades of accomplishment. Others were energized to go out in a blaze of glory with a final push of disruptive innovation.

The team wins either way. The beauty of the dilemma lies in the conversation. By having the bravery to ask the question, the team now seizes the opportunity to steer their course with representation and intention. Self-determination and empowerment guide the future. The CEO asked her team for fifteen minutes of their time.

Instant Insights. Anyteam, Anywhere, Anytime

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.