The Quick and Easy Team Assessment Tool

Published: January 8, 2018

Take a snapshot of your team. Do you share closeness and connection or are teammates guarded and distant? Is your work built on collaborative interdependence or courageous independence? Depending on where your team falls in each of these quadrants, specific team dynamics are activated. This tells you both why you are struggling and what to work on. Let’s look at each quadrant.

High Distance – High Interdependence

Teams in this quadrant are managing a recent change in which norms, values, mission, and vision need clarification. Often, this phase of a team’s growth is characterized by conflict. When differences are managed with respect, professionalism, and maturity, the mission building gives way to connection and collaboration all rooted in an appreciation for diversity.

High Interdependence – High Closeness

Teams in this quadrant leverage the connection they have created and enjoy being accountable to the goals and vision agreed upon when they were forging a new path together. Trust and safety are the markers of this phase in the team’s evolution.

High Closeness – High Independence

Team in this quadrant use the diligently earned interdependence to embrace curiosity, ask questions, experiment, and explore. The foundation of trust enables teammates to take risks and act more independently without sacrificing the mission. The result is usually creativity and innovation.

High Independence – High Distance

Teams in this quadrant have capitalized on their choice to take risks and are managing the consequences of the change they have created. New opportunities have arisen by virtue of their independence and they are forced to say goodbye to old perspectives. Distance allows teammates to refuel and reposition themselves for the next round of interdependence as the new team faces their new circumstances.

Where is your team in this cycle? Are you on a new team navigating a recent change? Are you a connected team enjoying the buzz of collaboration? Are you an innovative team capitalizing on the foundation of trust? Are you a transforming team managing the consequences of the change you have courageously created? Every team is somewhere in this cycle. The challenge is to keep the cycle moving.

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.