Editor’s Note: A global biotechnology company began using The Grove’s Team Performance tools three years ago and the Team Performance Online Survey late last year. Their Learning and Development team draws from the Team Performance System to strengthen team cohesion and performance across wide-ranging functions and locations. Here is the company’s Team Performance story as shared by the project lead, a Learning & Development manager.
Accelerating and improving team performance organization-wide is a key objective for our Learning and Development team. Our company relies heavily on various types of teams to deliver results. We work with intact and within-function teams, as well as with project, cross-functional, geographically dispersed and multicultural teams. Suffice it to say that we have numerous opportunities to use the online Team Performance Survey tool.
Our Approach with Newly Formed Teams
Different team situations require different approaches. In a newly formed team, members don’t know each other well enough to complete the Survey. When this is the case, we conduct a facilitated workshop including an overview of the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model®. We walk through each stage of the Model and focus on the behaviors associated with “resolved” and “unresolved” issues.
Additionally, to address the “Orientation” and “Trust Building” phases, we ask team members to share their DiSC profiles to gain an understanding of the effect of people’s behavioral styles on how teams function. If the team is multicultural, we may spend some time discussing cultural differences that could impact team members’ perceptions of one another.
Launching the Team Performance Online Survey
When the team is established and its members know each other well, we work with the team’s manager or leader to assess the current environment and gain a better understanding of the team’s dynamics and objectives. We’ve found that this assessment is essential in order to tailor our communications regarding the use of the TPOS.
We then gain commitment to launch the Survey and debrief the results. During the debrief workshop, we share the entire Survey report with all team members and discuss the “resolved” and “unresolved” issues at each stage of the Model.
Using the Findings to Improve the Team
Based on the findings, we identify particular areas that warrant additional attention. The TPOS Fieldbook provides helpful information on interpreting results, and the Team Leader Guide is great for identifying specific activities and interventions.
We find that the most challenging part of the process is encouraging the team leader and members to follow up on the prioritized issues. It takes time and commitment to work through unresolved issues and improve how a team functions.
To assess changes—and hopefully support improvements—in how a team functions, we generally recommend that the team repeat the TPOS in three to six months.
Reactions from Learning and Development and Internal Customers
One thing that appeals to our internal customers is the ease of administration of the TPOS. We have an annual license that allows us to run the Survey at no cost to the team. Our Training Coordination team launches the Survey for all of the teams and monitors the results.
Teams also like the Survey’s summary report. The graphs and charts make it easy to “see” resolved and unresolved issues. The data is easy to analyze and allows the team to prioritize and focus on specific issues.
Awareness is one of the Survey’s primary benefits. Instead of a vague notion, such as, “we’re not functioning well as a team,” the team can zero in on specific areas—for example, “some members of our team have unstated goals.”
Additionally, our customers appreciate that we take into consideration their time constraints. We can efficiently address specific issues in “chunks” during regular staff meetings, rather than requiring people to clear their calendars for an eight-hour off-site session.
We have used the Model during the past few years to expose teams to the behaviors associated with high performance. “The Team Performance Model is designed to accelerate the team becoming a well-functioning, high-performing team.” This is our tagline, regardless of the team.
We have shared the benefits of the Team Performance Online Survey tool with our entire management team to generate interest. Moving forward, we will continue to refine our use of the various interventions and conduct the Survey follow-up to develop high-performing teams that deliver results.
This article is drawn from two interviews with the company’s Team Performance lead from the Learning & Development team.
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