Are You Addicted To ‘Building Teams’?


I have recently read the story of Judy Estrin from the US who has been involved in the founding of eight businesses. She also has extensive experience and held senior board management positions at some huge enterprises including Walt Disney, FedEx and Sun Microsystems. Her motive for work is that she is “Addicted to the excitement of building teams’
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5 Behaviours You Shouldn’t Tolerate From Your Staff

Building a team with high morale and high productivity can be challenging. In order to create an environment where people can do their best work, behaviour towards each other and those outside must be respectful. In this article we look at five key behaviours which you cannot tolerate if you wish to achieve great things. Learn More

Conducting a Team Self-Evaluation

Many teams are actually just a group of people who happen to be working under the same roof. They may have similar jobs, work for the same company and aim for similar
results, but are they all pulling in the same direction, meeting the same objectives and aiding each other to create a great working environment?

How can the team measure how effective they are and how can you ensure they are all singing from the same song-sheet, as it were?

You could carry out a team assessment. Or, better still, let them carry out a self-assessment themselves.

Here’s how you can set one up:

1) Plan some time and inform every team member what is going to happen. You could provide lunch or snacks, so they see you feel this is important.

2) Get them to think about two key questions: What’s going well that we should keep and continue with? In what ways does the team need to improve?

3) Then get them to assess the team against 10 criteria:

  • Clarity of our goals
  • Relaxed climate to work in
  • Clarity of team member roles
  • Participation in decisions
  • Sufficient resources to get jobs done
  • Good communication
  • Good management support
  • Meetings are useful
  • Conflicts are smoothly resolved
  • External relationships are effective

You can choose others if you feel them appropriate for the team environment.

Allow team members to assess how they feel against each of the criteria. You can devise a scoring system that will help you compare each person’s thoughts (something like 0-10 will suffice)

After marks have been collated, appoint a facilitator whose job is to discuss the results and reach a consensus on action plans

Record the team’s ideas on a flip, so everyone can see them.

Review and prioritise this list before the end of the meeting

Arrange to have the list distributed to all team members.

Decide what follow-up actions are necessary.

Conduct an informal assessment of the meeting.

Decide on future plans for action based on the results of the feedback.

By carrying out an exercise like this, you get every team member to assess how they feel against key criteria. Then, make sure you listen to what is said at this self-assessment and see if you can devise some ‘quick-wins’ so the team can see the exercise was worth getting involved with.

Conducting a self-assessment is something you can carry out annually to check on progress. The team will respond well if they see results coming from it, and you will have achieved a high level of support so that the group of people you are managing maintains its ‘team’ ethos.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

(Image by Digital Art)

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The Difference Between Groups and Teams

Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith in their 1993 book “The Wisdom of Teams” provide excellent, very usable distinctions among the kinds of groups currently operating in organisations. Here’s what they suggested were the differences: Learn More

The Main Principles of Team Building – Part 2

The other day we took a look at some of the main principles of team building and how they effect the success of a team from the inside out. Today I’d like to share a few more concepts in the hopes you’ll be able to apply them to your next team building (or team growing) experience.

Do the members of your team understand the context? In short, do they understand not only the main purpose of the team but how the work the team completes will help the organization reach its ultimate, long-term goals? In short, your team members should feel as though their team is important to the organization.

Does the team feel as though it has the tools it needs to perform competently?Most team members, when asking themselves this question, aren’t looking for materials but are looking at the other people on the team. Do they feel as though everyone in the group is capable of getting the job done. Are they kowledgeable and skilled?

Does the team have control of the project?Have you given the team the power it needs to get the job done while setting boundaries and limitations that will prevent them from going over budget or missing their deadlines? Control is good. Having to redo a project because the team members let the power associated with the work go to their heads is bad.

Is everyone communicating?Communication is key in any venture. Are all members of your team encouraged to give feedback and express their honest opinions. If not, they may be wondering why they are a part of the team at all.

Does your team understand that their work comes with consequences? Do they understand that they are accountable for what they do and do not accomplish and that if the job does not get done there will be consequences? Likewise, will they be rewarded for getting the job done on time and within budget?

Choosing a group of people to participate in a team is easy. Making sure those people are happy, can work together, and actually get the job done is another. You’ll have to work on the team from the inside out but I guarantee once you’re done you’ll have a highly functioning group you’ll be proud to have under your wings.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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The Main Principles of Team Building – Part 1

We’ve spoken several times about how important it is to build a great team. As managers we spend a lot of time focused on building a team and working as a team but we sometimes forget to step back and take a look at how our team members feel about being a part of the team – as part of a team in genearal and, more important, as part of our teams specifically.

So what areas of team building should you really be looking at in order to ensure both the happiness of your team members and the group’s overall success? Here are a few concepts to get you started… Learn More

Finding New Team Members

In the past we’ve talked about team building in terms of bringing your current team members together as a whole. Today I’d like to take just a minute to talk about the ways in which you choose the members of your team. Learn More

Team Building with Ditloids Puzzles

As managers we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to bring our team members together, allowing them to get to know each other in a laid back environment. The next time you have a team meeting, consider breaking your members into groups of 2 or 3 and giving them a series of ditloid puzzles to answer. Learn More

The GOALS Team Development Model

You will, most likely, find yourself faced with a number of challenges as you work to build your growing team. Each member will need to be properly trained and at the same time you’ll need to ensure that every individual is able to work both on his own and with the group.

One of the best ways to monitor the development of your team is through the GOALS model. The GOALS model, developed by Simon Hayward, provides you with a simple blueprint for success. The model is as follows:

  • G – Goals: Does each member of your team have individual goals; and, is each member of your team aware of the group’s overall goals?
  • O – Opportunity: Will everyone have the opportunity to use their strong skills and contribute to the team? Will there be opportunities for advancement within the team or, in some cases, out of the team?
  • A – Authority: Does one person (you) have the authority to lead the projects the group is responsible for? Does each individual member of the team have the authority to access the information he needs to do his job?
  • L – Learning: Will every member of your team have access to the educational resources he needs in order to grow and succeed?
  • S – Standards: Do you expect every member of your team to live up to the same high standards you have set? Are these standards reflected in both their individual and group contributions?

Use this model as you evaluate your team and each individual member. You may be comfortable with the way your team functions now, but why settle for a good team when it could easily be transformed into something great!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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Teamwork and Opportunity

Believe it or not, your employees really do want the opportunity to be part of a successful team. Acting as a member of an effective team gives individuals a sense of pride and accomplishment. There’s something to be said for working with a team instead of alone.

There are bonuses to being part of a team as well. Most people want to be part of a team because they are faced with new opportunities. Some of these opportunities include:

  • The chance to do things that make them feel good about themselves
  • The opportunity to accomplish something they feel is worthwhile
  • The opportunity to learn new things or develop new work skills
  • The freedom to do the their work well
  • The chance to do the things they love and do best

In the end, these criteria have a huge impact on the bottom line performance of any team. If the individual members don’t feel as though they have these “chances,” they will feel stuck and unmotivated.

Take a look at your dynamic team structure as it is today. Are the members of your team experiencing all of the above? If not, can you do anything to ensure they walk away feeling more fulfilled?

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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