Articles categorized as:

Continuous Improvement

  • October 7, 2019A Tool for Your Team’s Renewal

    The teamclock.com website was originally designed as a tool for teams. With a few clicks, you could easily find best practices on team effectiveness and a path to diagnose your organization’s wellness. That was a decade ago and, like most tools, we’ve needed to refresh our approach a few times. Like all living things, the Center for Team Excellence has evolved through many cycles of change. Our new website reflects today’s focus: helping our partners know what stage of growth they are managing, why they are in that stage and what to do next to move forward. We encourage you to take a self-guided tour after enjoying this preview.

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  • January 23, 2019Have a Bad Day!

    Seriously, we wish you a bad day. May struggle fill your agenda. May you confront problems never before faced. May your ability to adapt be tested. May you become aware of your weakest link. May demands stretch your team’s capacity to the brink of failure. Invite the tension. Seize the opportunity. Discover the resolution. What happens next is game changing.

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  • September 6, 2018When to Walk and When to Run

    The normal human reaction to success is to celebrate. Often, this is the moment the opponent seizes to catch you back on your heels – while you’re celebrating. Martial artists master the timing of a counter-strike to take advantage of their opponent’s vulnerability immediately after an attack. In sports, championship teams avoid the natural letdown that follows achievement by refocusing and staying in the zone. They don’t get too high after a positive moment and they don’t get too low after a negative one. Can you apply this to your workplace?

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  • January 22, 2018Choose 4 Team Qualities

    If you could only choose four, what ingredients would you include in a recipe for a thriving team? Begin with the broadest range of history, experience, and perspective. Add a commitment to a common goal. Sprinkle in the energy of new ideas. Finish with resilience in the face of change. Diversity, cohesion, creativity, and adaptability. Together, they keep the team moving forward.

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  • November 28, 2017A 10-Step Merger Prenup

    Often, the task of blending cultures begins after the merger/acquisition has been consummated. The integration decision is made upon the faith that both sides can blend their similarities and differences like mature adults. Unfortunately, the human dynamics that fuel struggle are usually beneath the surface when potential partners size each other up for marriage. Imagine how the new relationship might get off the ground if both sides could see what was hidden.

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  • September 20, 2017Insight Minus Action Equals Frustration

    Doctors diagnose before they treat. Teachers assess learning needs before crafting lesson plans. Risk managers evaluate danger before implementing safety measures. Coaches scout defenses before designing offensive schemes. Action follows insight. Understanding what to do is a much different task than doing it. Unfortunately, many teams get stymied after the analysis. You can build a strategic plan with good intentions but you only frustrate the team if everyone is too busy to execute.

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  • September 6, 2017The Reasons Teams Get Stuck

    The ideal team flows from challenge to challenge moving flexibly over, under, around, or through obstacles. Despite the dynamics that get most teams stuck, they understand the purpose of their struggle and keep working the problem. As diverse as teams are, there are four common causes to derailment.

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  • May 2, 2017What Makes Teams Click

    “Team chemistry” is hard to define. Everyone knows it when they see it. Teammates appear locked in to success, whatever the endeavor might be. Colleagues anticipate each other’s needs. Players play with field vision. Interdependence unfolds naturally. However, teams don’t just conjure up chemistry like magic. There is a recipe. Unfortunately, it takes a level of sacrifice few teams are willing to make.

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  • February 8, 2017Four Stages of Team Growth

    Adversity teaches us how to cope. Occasionally, we come up from an underground subway platform to street level and momentarily lose our bearings. Where am I? Which way is north? In that fleeting moment where nothing looks familiar, we are lost. The fear center of our brain gets activated as we fend off panic and search for direction. Of course, no one stays lost forever. Eventually, learning occurs. Consider what might happen if we got lost on purpose. A good crisis provides many lessons. Let’s look at how growth unfolds.

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  • September 9, 2016When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

    There are few intolerable consequences for settling for good-enough performance. Risking the pursuit of greatness isn’t for everyone. It comes at a cost not many are willing to pay. In most professional endeavors, good enough is good enough. Why, then, do some people, some partners, some teams, and some organizations reach for the sky?

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  • June 27, 2016The Continuous Gap Analysis of Opportunity

    Building a dream team involves both design and maintenance. In the design phase, gather a unique collection of personalities who share a common goal and diverse paths to attainment. In the maintenance phase, catch early warning signs of vulnerability and repair proactively. Whether anchoring the team’s infrastructure or tweaking performance, consider these guideposts and engage in a continuous gap analysis of opportunity:

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  • October 23, 2015When Excellence Gets Punished

    If the norm is mediocre, average performance will always be good enough. Good enough is sufficient in many endeavors. Some commitments, however, require a devotion to excellence and continuous improvement. Elevating good to great and great to greater taxes the system before it fuels. It’s easier not to stretch yourself when the immediate reward is not visible. In a culture that prefers good, great is a threat. Consider these ways excellence gets punished:

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  • December 22, 2014Eight Simple Questions

    The holiday season brings time for reflection. Why squeeze your resolutions into the first week of January? Each day of the year offers a chance to grow. Consider more frequent assessment and reassessment of your direction. What questions might you ask?

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  • October 8, 2014The Beauty of Imperfection

    Whether you’re a part of an organization, a team, a relationship, or engaged in a staring contest with a mirror, poor choices and mistakes create the secret path to evolution. Despite the elusive goal of perfection, true beauty lives in the flaws of being human and, thus, a work in progress. The goal is not to become the ideal. It is to follow our struggles as guideposts for growth. What is your personal strategic plan?

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  • September 12, 2013Tie Your Shoe

    A long time ago, I was running a distance race on college track team when I noticed my shoe was untied. The only reason I became aware of the problem was because my shoe was slipping at the heal and slowing me down. Buried in the middle of the pack, I had to decide whether to “make a pit stop” and tie my shoe or finish the race with the impediment. If I stopped to tie my shoe, I would fall behind. If I fought the slippage, I would have to perform at less than peak ability. What would you do?

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  • December 20, 2012Welcoming 2013 in 4 Easy Steps

    Here we go – one more time around the cycle. Traditions and celebrations will mark the coming weeks as we take stock of a year gone by and prepare for the year ahead. Other than turning the page on the calendar, though, what will really be different? Consider these 4 easy steps:

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  • August 21, 2012Fire!

    The six members of the leadership team entered the conference room looking preoccupied with the activities they abandoned to come to the team assessment debrief session. The team leader commented that the day had been like one fire drill after another.

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  • May 12, 2012Protesting Perfection

    It seems odd to be grateful for a mistake. When we make mistakes, the typical physical responses kick into gear: the pit in the stomach, the heart sinking, the flushing face, the “oh $#%!” moment of “WHAT DID I DO?!?” The alternative is achieving perfection. But is perfection a worthy goal? Do we learn if we’re perfect? Or should we protest perfection and thank our mistakes?

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  • June 16, 2011The Bravery to Look in the Mirror

    “How are we doing?” “Fine, why do you ask?”
    “How are we doing?” “Well, since you asked…”

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