Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 3.8 Selecting a Team

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In selecting a team there are 6 elements that will have the greatest impact

- membership

- purpose

- skills

- performance goals

- approach

- accountability

1) Membership.

Team membership involves 3 things: size, background and attitude

- size (need to keep the numbers as small as possible; fewer works better with almost all teams)

- background (teams need diversity to work well; necessary skill levels and expertise to handle the purpose of the team)

- attitude (team members must want to be on the team; teamwork requires volunteers, not conscripts)

2) Purpose

After selecting the right membership (a small group of different types of people who want to work on a team), do the team members understand what they have to do? To test the clarity of understanding about the purpose, have the team members explain the purpose as they understand it; this is linked with a degree of goal interdependence, ie the extent to which all team members need to work together to achieve a result requires close co-operation and sharing of workload, ie task interdependence; teams with high levels of goal and task interdependence are more likely to become effective teams

3) Skills

Skills in managing 2 elements, ie the task and the team process, are necessary for effective teams; some of the basic skills include

- managing meetings

- making decisions

- managing participation

- agreeing on behaviour rules

- managing disagreements

4) Performance goals

Linked with success is how the task is achieved; most teams consider themselves successful only if they achieve the required outcomes and if they generate a high degree of satisfaction in achieving those outcomes, ie performance and satisfaction Sometimes performance goals are broken into smaller elements, such as milestones; performance goals vary dramatically with the type of team:

"...- work teams perform best with a scorecard system that reflects the various performance indicators that relate to the work of the team

- project teams work best if they can work to a sequence of milestones

- management teams work to performance goals that derive from regular self-assessment by the team as to how they are performing..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

5) Approach

How the team approaches its work impacts on their performance; the amount of work sharing, degree of overlap, backup and support will determine the effectiveness of the team; style and methods of communications; for example, do team members talk about "I" or "we"

6) Accountability

There needs to be clarity about what the team is accountable for; shared accountability within the team is important

How to build a team - steps in the team-building process

7) Membership

- consider the nature of the team task and select team members on the basis of background (including relevant expertise and attitude)

- decide the minimum number of people required to complete the task

8) Purpose

- write a purpose statement for the team

- check that this purpose can be achieved by the team

- check for clarity by getting a second opinion from another manager and by seeking feedback from the team

- ask the team to reflect back to the manager their understanding of the team purpose

9) Skills

- write a list of all skills (technical and team skills) that need to be represented in the team so that they can undertake the team tasks

- if new skills are required, decide if training is required for which team member and for which skills

- arrange access to supplementary skills that the team requires, such as technical expertise and/or team facilitators who can help with the team process issues

10) Performance goals

- the team agrees on the success measures and timeline (if required)

- discuss reporting procedures with the team, such as frequency and level of detail

- give the team feedback on their performance

11) Approach

- explain your expectations about the way the team will plan and execute its work

- observe team planning and execution, and intervene as required

- arrange team facilitators to provide support, if required

12) Accountability

- discuss the issue of accountability, especially shared accountability, and explain your expectations

- discuss and agree on resource implications and explain sources of support

- encourage the team to agree on specific roles and accountabilities

- decide the follow-up schedule and inform the team of your expectations

(source: Harry Onsman, 2004d)

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