Holiday Matching Game

Published: November 27, 2013

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?


  1. Corporate leadership is not sure whether the division president has what it takes to lead innovation.
  2. Team roles and work processes have not kept pace with the complexity of the industry.
  3. Traditional succession planning efforts are complicated by competing generational values.
  4. Two members of a fifteen person team are actively disengaged and poisoning the workplace culture.
  5. A sales team wishes to raise performance to the next level following a record breaking year.
  • The team leader sponsored a 2013 “accountability initiative” in which any words or behavior not aligned with organizational values was brought to the larger team for resolution. Within six months, natural attrition resulted in a new composition of talent.
  • A weekly planning session was instituted to research, design, and implement best practices for co-worker, customer, and community engagement.
  • Ten percent of the team’s work week was allocated as “protected innovation time” where teammates were encouraged to brainstorm and collaborate in creating new approaches, process improvements, and efficiencies.
  • The team leader deferred credit for the product development group’s success despite having contributed the ideas that won the most industry praise.
  • A task force stocked with representatives from every workplace demographic was charged with defining the core competencies, goals, culture, and work-life balance expectations for the chief executive of the future.

Submit your entries via email to The first five correct responses will enjoy the delivery of a signed copy of Team Clock: A Guide to Breakthrough Teams.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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.