Assess Ten Strengths

Published: March 9, 2015

Before inspiring your team with tomorrow’s vision, perform a quick assessment. After all, an expensive strategic planning exercise wastes time and talent when the health of the team can’t support the action plan. Before you look too far ahead, measure ten simple areas of team effectiveness.

Moving teams forward requires a baseline of organizational wellness. Otherwise, valuable energy is spent navigating interpersonal and political urgencies rather than digging in to the tasks at hand. A simple assessment of team health illuminates a path to baseline wellness. In order for time and talent to be well spent, a solid foundation of effective teaming must be in place. This platform is anchored by ten essential strengths.

Use a simple Likert scale to rate each domain from 1-5 with 5 representing organizational health:

  1. Establish consistent team norms
  2. Secure alignment with organizational mission
  3. Practice constructive conflict
  4. Create a connection-friendly workplace
  5. Exercise respect in all interactions
  6. Commit to unwavering accountability
  7. Grant permission to take risks
  8. Embrace differences to fuel innovation
  9. Manage change with maturity
  10. Discover new opportunities

Scoring: total the ratings in each of the ten domains
35-50: You have a healthy team – forge ahead!
25-35: Address areas of vulnerability before investing time and talent.
10-25: You have a broken team – craft a plan to get well.

Of course, this measurement is too general to inform what actions best support your team’s health. A diagnosis, by itself, does not tell you what to do to elevate a strength or mitigate a weakness. It is, however, the right starting point.

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 College 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.