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Best Practices in Team Effectiveness
January 7, 2020 What is a Team?
How do you define “team?” Your workplace colleagues? Your romantic partnership? Your book club? Your neighborhood? Your recreational sports buddies? Your family? Perhaps all of the above? Defining teams is both simple and complex. The complex view is an interdependent ecosystem of complementary roles advancing a common mission through shared values toward a clear vision. The simple view is two or more people collaborating on a goal. Let’s break down the simple definition into its key parts.Keep Reading...
August 8, 2019 When Teams are in Triage Mode
Crisis has a way of bringing teams together. The urgency of the moment defines roles and creates a common objective. The medical profession treats a crisis as a normal event by moving into triage mode. More than just setting priorities, triaging assumes the problem is bigger than the resources. Waste and politics are subtracted from the process. It doesn’t have to be an emergency to enter this mode. Consider these five ground rules.Keep Reading...
February 7, 2019 Wasting Team Energy on Office Politics
Zero-error is the goal in many industries. Transportation companies have mastered the skills of full disclosure, root cause analysis, and proactive risk reduction to keep people safe in the air on the rails. Healthcare attempts to apply the same principles yet continues to hurt people at surprising frequency in clinics and hospitals. In businesses where the stakes aren’t quite as high, it becomes a matter of efficiency and productivity.
You have to know where the source of waste or error is before you can make the world a better place. Often, the greatest misallocation of resources is the energy spent on managing team politics. Team dysfunction takes many forms and depletes the system. Assess and solve every disruption. Below are the symptoms of broken culture and suggestions for corrective actions.Keep Reading...
July 23, 2018 Beginnings, Middles, and Ends
The rookies bring energy and the veterans bring wisdom. Those in the middle provide the network of connections. These are among the stereotypes of teammates in early, mid, and late stages of their careers. Let’s look at a lifespan model of professional development.Keep Reading...
October 31, 2017 The “Chemistry” Factor in Teams
What’s the secret sauce? On paper, it’s easy to assemble the right mix of talent to predict team success. Just stock the team with leadership, deep skills in the specialization area of the project, a diligent group of worker bees, and reliable administrative support. The rest will take care of itself, right? Unfortunately, not. Once you blend in the human element, most teams find ways to struggle as conflict, mistrust, fear, and resistance to change impact the group’s direction. So, where does positive team “chemistry” come from?Keep Reading...
August 24, 2017 Ten Advantages of Face-to-Face Exchange
It’s easier than ever to conduct business without ever coming face-to-face with another human being. Smartphones, video conferences, texts, emails, and any number of social media platforms have made it possible to communicate from afar. There’s safety in not having to worry about pace, tone, mood, posture, body language, and eye contact.Keep Reading...
April 4, 2017 We’re Stuck. What Do We Do?
Ask three simple questions and then choose a course of action:
- Where is our team in its lifecycle?
- Why are we in this stage?
- What should we do to move our team forward?
All teams travel through predictable cycles of investment, trust, innovation, and change. Knowing where you are validates the emotional reaction to current challenges. Understanding why the team is experiencing any obstacle is the key to getting unstuck. A diagnosis ignites an action plan. Consider this simple model:Keep Reading...
October 24, 2016 10,000 Repetitions
What competency do you wish to master? Life is short. It takes a significant commitment to specialize. Beyond baseline talent and the gift of opportunity, mastery requires repetition. By most standards, practicing a skill 10,000 times elevates it to a new level. Martial artists know this as they deliver dozens of kicks, punches, and self-defense maneuvers to their daily workout routines. Musicians know this as they pound out scales in every key signature. Writers only get better by writing. So what about mastering relationships? Perhaps every organization should have a team expert. How might this happen?Keep Reading...
July 28, 2016 Lessons from the Team that Created Pokémon Go
These days, you don’t have to travel very far to run into someone playing Pokémon Go. They have a unique appearance. They’re wandering outdoor spaces holding their smartphones at arm’s length with simultaneous telephoto and wide-angle vision. Their posture is slightly more upright than the stereotypical smartphone addict since they are searching the universe. The creative team responsible for this phenomenon achieved their augmented-reality goal: the gamification of daily life. How did they do it?Keep Reading...
April 11, 2016 Team Behavior Checklist
Many organizations are stratified in ways that makes teamwork difficult. Whether a silo or a hierarchy, collaboration has a secret set of rules when boundaries are in play. Whatever the structure, second-class citizens have a lesser voice at the team table. How might this play out in your workplace?Keep Reading...
November 3, 2015 Teamwork Made Simple
As complex as the dynamics of most teams may seem, the basics of effective collaboration are not mysterious. Investment builds the team. Trust ties it together. Innovation grows the team. Distancing evolves it. Wherever your team many be in the cycle, there is action to take. If nothing else, do this:Keep Reading...
April 10, 2015 Sample This Recipe
Recently, the founders of the Team Clock Institute met to discuss the resources that brought the greatest value to our clients. Some communicate an appreciation for the online assessment application while others like the benefits derived from the training. The majority of the feedback that comes from business partners, however, points to the worth of the action planning. Learning how to elevate the team is more important than understanding why it is stuck. This was the impetus for the development of The Team Manual. A proven solution to any team challenge is now only a click away.Keep Reading...
December 2, 2014 The 3 Anchors of Team Growth
Whether you are managing a championship caliber sports team, a global law firm, or a local school district, the recipe for healthy growth is the same. First, do your homework. Next, identify your strengths and vulnerabilities. Then, push or pull your team to the next level. First learn, next assess, and then evolve. Here’s how:Keep Reading...
December 30, 2013 2013 in the Rearview Mirror
This year’s discoveries were unexpected. The common theme was courage. Each of the teams highlighted in this retrospective were elevated by the bravery to abandon comfort and ignite change. They didn’t wait for the business landscape to demand a reaction. They listened to their clients, anticipated the future, and created solutions. Please enjoy a sampling of excellence.Keep Reading...
December 5, 2013 We Have a Winner!
Congratulations to Laura Gettinger, a Chicago-based professional wellness consultant, for winning the 2013 Team Clock Institute Holiday Matching Game. Laura correctly matched all five team challenges with the outcomes resulting from their struggles. Below are brief summaries of each resolution.Keep Reading...
November 27, 2013 Holiday Matching Game
Let’s kick off the holiday season with a game. Below are five team challenges observed in 2013. Following the challenges are five outcomes. Can you match the challenge with the outcome?Keep Reading...
August 21, 2013 Organizational Nirvana
Gallup’s recent employee engagement data paints a pessimistic picture of the modern workplace with more than seven out of ten workers either disengaged (“sleepwalking”) or actively disengaged (“toxic”). That leaves a courageous minority of passionate talent who would run through a wall for your organization. Lost in the metrics are the rare organizations that have devoted themselves to a culture of 100% engagement – no sleepwalkers or poison.Keep Reading...
July 1, 2013 77 Meetings
Four families. Four cities. Seventy-seven gatherings. Nobody imagined the depth of bond that would unfold when the original commitment to meet three times per year was made over twenty-five years ago.Yet, year after year, without exception, participants rotated from Chicago to Detroit to Cincinnati to Indianapolis to enjoy each new chapter of the group’s evolution. What began as an assembly of eight young adults grew to three generations of thirty-four people spanning nearly sixty years in age.Keep Reading...
May 13, 2013 Thousands of Lives
Although they impact thousands of lives, you’re unlikely to meet them face to face. Most of their waking hours are spent developing others who become your most trusted partners. Like your physician, minister, and attorney, your financial adviser is selected with care. The relationship is anchored in trust, accountability, talent, and character. Recently, thirty-six of the nation’s top financial advisers gathered in Milwaukee to strengthen their teams. Each leader represented a team of about twenty specialists whose group owns stewardship over the financial stability of thousands of lives.Keep Reading...
February 6, 2013 Equifinality
A widely respected Fortune 500 company has decided to sponsor a race. It’s a race to high performance. Although the winners will be judged by achieving common business goals, the route each team takes to get there is up to them. Each of the forty teams in the race will have a different starting point.Keep Reading...
December 27, 2012 2012 Year in Review
Slowing down to savor the year’s highlights brings a blend of satisfaction and anticipation. From team to team, the stories of courage, innovation, and transformation have a unifying theme: harnessing adversity to fuel growth and change. Consider a few examples.Keep Reading...
October 1, 2012 The Best Job in the World
In the morning, the organization’s Chief Innovation Officer laughed as she detailed the creative tasks that filled her typical day. At lunch, another company’s Controller described how good it felt when the books balance. In the afternoon, a school teacher lit up as he told the story of one of his students’ “aha!” moments. At dinner, the real estate agent described the perfect fit between the family and the home they had located together.Keep Reading...
November 29, 2011 Tolerance For Error in Today’s Economy
In today’s economy, there’s no longer any tolerance for error. The airline industry figured this out a long time ago since the consequences of a glitch are grave. The health care industry isn’t far behind. For some teams, absolute interdependence is non-negotiable.Keep Reading...