Existing Teams Move Through the Team Clock Many Times

Published: June 1, 2010
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Welcome back to the Team Clock Institute's monthly newsletter. Each month, Breakthrough Teams will invite readers to participate in an Ask/Apply/Act model: Ask: this month's team challenge Apply: example story Act: action steps for consideration

ASK : “Existing teams seem to move through the Team Clock cycle many times. Can you give me an example of how Team Clock works with new teams?”

APPLY : Over the years, the Team Clock Model has assisted new teams in business, sports, community, and school settings. For example, the Team Clock Institute enjoys a partnership with Pro Soccer International (PSI) in Queensland Australia. PSI is responsible for developing young soccer players, the most talented of which are invited to join the Australian national team. Each year, players gather for six months of intensive team training leading to a tournament where teams are ranked and players are elevated for global competition.

At the outset of the most recent cycle, the Team Clock Institute conducted a preliminary assessment identifying the unique strengths and vulnerabilities of this particular collection of players. Based on these assessment results, a debrief session was conducted in which the entire team discovered key differences in talent, defined common goals, and established the rules of engagement for future team interaction. Finally, they translated their goals into soccer metrics that would indicate successful teaming.

Beyond scoring goals and winning games, this team identified the art of ball possession and passing as the markers of their success.

ACT : The annual tournament was held last month. Our PSI team finished third nationally. Three players from the team were elevated to the national squad. While a third place finish and national representation was respectable by most measurements, the players were most proud of a different accomplishment. At the conclusion of the tournament, all participating teams were evaluated in a range of categories. Proudly, our PSI team was named the “Best Passing Team” in the tournament.

New teams benefit most from an intensive exploration of their unique strengths, vulnerabilities, and differences. Once a common direction has been identified, this foundation supports the team’s ability to trust, become cohesive, innovate, take risks, and adapt to the changing environment their work has created. A team that starts healthy tremendously increases its chances of thriving when conditions become challenging. Investment finds a way to reward risk.

Somewhere in Queensland, a coach and his players are celebrating.

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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.