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matrix vision newsletter
Teamwork Issue
April, 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 4
In This Issue
Teamwork Snippets
The Team Performance Model
Using Feedback to Improve Team Effectiveness
Quick Links
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Story of the Month
A Japanese company and a Sydney company decided to have a canoe race on the Nepean River.  Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a kilometre.
Afterwards, the Sydney team became very discouraged and depressed. The management of the Sydney company decided that they had to find a reason for the crushing defeat. 
A "Measurement Team" made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.  Their conclusion was that the Japanese company had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the Sydneyites had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering.
So the management of the Sydney company hired a consulting company and paid them incredible amounts of money.  They advised that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people were rowing.  To prevent losing to the Japanese again the next year, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganised to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. 
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.  It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. "We must give the rower empowerment and enrichment throughout this quality program".
The next year the Japanese won by 2 kilometres.
Humiliated, the management of the Sydney company sacked the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment.
Then they used the money saved by giving a High Performance Award to the steering managers and distributed the rest of the money as bonuses to the senior executives.

Teamwork Quotes
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
Henry Ford
"Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable." 
Kenyan Proverb
"It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit."
Author Unknown
"None of us is as smart as all of us." 
Ken Blanchard
"The era of the rugged individual is giving way to the era of the team player. Everyone is needed, but no one is necessary."
Bruce Coslet
"We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately." 
Benjamin Franklin
"Do you want a collection of brilliant minds or a brilliant collection of minds?" 
R Meredith Belbin
"Teams share the burden and divide the grief."
Doug Smith
"Teams are successful when they are focused, have a short cycle time, and are supported by the executives."
Tom Bouchard
"Wearing the same shirts doesn't make you a team."

Buchholz & Roth
"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."

Michael Jordon
"No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it."

H. E. Luccock

Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for April.  This month's newsletter is focussed on Teamwork.  The concentration is unashamedly based on our view of team effectiveness.
This newsletter presents a few tips and alerts us to some of the pitfalls on how we go about the process of teamwork in our business. We have articles including:
  • a Team Based approach to Leadership,
  • the 3 Core Disciplines of Teamwork,
  • the Team Planning Performance & Development Process,
  • steps to achieve consensus in teams
  • leveraging Team differences
  • the Team Performance Model and
  • using feedback to improve team effectiveness.

Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!

If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us.  We would love to talk with you.
TeamworkAll around the world informed leaders are moving away from traditional work structures and creating teams at all levels of their organisations.

The power of teams coming together to solve problems, make decisions and initiate action contributes greatly to organisational success.
When a team is working in an effective way we can clearly see that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts".  We often see teams accomplishing 30-50% more than similar traditional non team-based approaches.
However Teamwork does not happen by accident.  It requires planning structure and energy from leaders to ensure that their teams work to maximum capability.
Leaders need the tools and skills on how to set up effective teams and how to maintain their effectiveness.
The basic concept of a Team Based Approach to Leadership is built on the understanding that teamwork produces better results when used effectively in organisations.  Enough research has been done to establish that strong teams of people achieve more and with greater quality than the same individuals operating independently.
However, the key to successful teamwork is to establish agreements which provide the focus and guide the behaviour of each of the members of the team.  No team can be successful without having all team members understanding and supporting these agreements.  These agreements cover such things as goals, roles, processes and relationships. 
These agreements can only be developed successfully through the involvement of all of the team members in meetings.  Therefore the major thrust of the development of teamwork is through introducing processes and tools that enhance the quality of meetings and enable teams to create better quality agreements.
Core Disciplines
We have found that teamwork is enhanced by the application of three team processes that are central to the successful functioning of any organisation: Team Data Handling, Critique and Shared Leadership. We consider these processes to be core disciplines. They can also be thought of as techniques, tools or practices.
Teams that apply these disciplines quickly become more effective.
Team Data Handling

Team Data Handling (TDH) is an empowering, carefully structured process, designed to avoid many of the problems associated with groups, while enhancing the positive aspects of teamwork. It is a key to holding effective problem-solving meetings. When the process is followed and used as intended, TDH produces the best possible results from the available information.
TDH resembles brainstorming in some respects, yet has important differences, which significantly affect the result.
The process is designed to:
  • support effective individual participation;
  • minimise the type of conflict that leads to poorly functioning teams;
  • allow consideration of all ideas, even those that may at first seem impractical because they are different or not well expressed;
  • increase the likelihood of getting relevant information and using it to solve a problem;
  • encourage decisions to be based on competence, reason and logic rather than relying on status, position or the loudest voice;
  • use time effectively;
  • keep goals and objectives in mind.
We distinguish between critique and criticism. We say that critique focuses on learning, especially learning from experience, whereas criticism focuses on the person.
We need to be able to critically examine our experiences to improve personal, team and organisational effectiveness. Unfortunately, criticism often takes the form of blame, denial, buck-passing, grabbing credit and only looking at part of the picture.
We can achieve a positive critical process by approaching critique as a discipline. Like TDH, the discipline of critique has clear rules and a structured process. When used with TDH it becomes a very safe and productive method of understanding and dealing with problems, and leads to improvement in involving the whole team.
Shared Leadership
Shared leadership is the third core discipline. It is mainly evident in meetings, where it is most effective.
Meetings are seen as the most productive way to reach and review agreements, involve people and enable them to contribute their expertise and experience. Shared leadership enhances the effectiveness of meetings by encouraging greater participation and involvement of all team members.
We are aware that shared leadership is not natural behaviour. Meetings are more naturally dominated by those who are strong, senior,  ambitious, loud and so on. However, what is natural is not always the best way.
By knowing exactly what is meant by shared leadership, and how to apply it, we can achieve higher standards of performance.
Shared leadership is not a form of industrial democracy. It is used at meetings to generate effective agreements and encourage the acceptance of responsibility necessary to achieve results.
To find out how these three core disciplines can improve your team effectiveness give please CONTACT US. To get more information on our "Team Based Leadership" Program CLICK HERE.

Team Snippets
Team Performance Planning and Development Process
TeamThe best way to achieve goals is through teamwork.  Teams working towards the right goals, using the right resources and a sound process, ensure the likelihood of success.  To move forward effectively a team needs to answer a series of questions.

How do we want things to be?

What is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour in the team (sometimes referred to as "Team Norms")?
Who are the team's key stakeholders (i.e. those people outside the team who rely on the team to provide them with something)?
How would the team like to be seen by it's key stakeholders?
What is the team's Primary Mission (what are they expected to provide, who are they making it available to and in what area or location)?
How the team can tell when it has fulfilled it's role successfully (Performance Standards) including not just output standards but other standards such as safety and housekeeping?
What objective measures will the team use to tell when it has done well (Performance Indicators)?

Who will do what?

What is the role of each team member?
What are the standards of performance to which they fulfil the role?
What are the performance indicators that the team will use to measure success of the role?.

What can we do better?

How have the team performed against their previous team agreements?
How well has the team worked together?
Are there any gaps or issues the team considers need fixing?
What actions should the team take to fix the issues and build competency?

What do we need from each other?

Establishment of a team meetings agreement:
Why should the team meet?
What should be covered in team meetings?
How should the meetings be conducted (process)?
How often meetings should be held and how long they should last?
Who else should be invited (apart from team members)?
This process becomes a cycle where each year the team looks at it's agreements, critiques it's performance and develops new agreements and plans.  These team plans become the basis of the ongoing individual performance plans.


Steps to Reaching Consensus

The following steps are helpful when reaching consensus as a team:
  1. Define the decision to be made as a team. This can be accomplished simply by stating the purpose of the decision and the alternatives available.
  2. Gather information. This may require postponing the decision long enough to get the information needed to consider all angles.
  3. Prepare your thoughts regarding the issue. You should know how you feel on a given issue before discussing it as a team.
  4. Share your thoughts with your team. Be sure that you express your thoughts and feelings with your team members.
  5. Listen to the views of others on the team.  Allow others to fully express their views and try to understand their perspective.
  6. Make a decision as a team. Reaching consensus as a team requires that you concentrate on reaching a decision that everyone can support and not one based on your own preferences.
  7. Implement and support the decision as a team. Once made, everyone in the team must take ownership for the decision and all they can do to see that it is successfully implemented.
Tips for Teams - Kimball, Rayner & Belgard 


Leveraging Team Differences - Working on Relationships

One of the most effective ways for team members to improve their communication and trust is to understand their own personality preferences and those of other team members.  This helps them realise that, while personality preference differences may lead to conflict it is in fact the diversity of styles that strengthens the team. Common approaches are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DISC and Belbin's Team Roles.
When we work with teams we generally use several exercises that help members understand each member's preferences, how they can best contribute to the team and what their liabilities are.  We explore what is comfortable and difficult for each type (style) to do, what each style can gain from the other and in simulated problem solving situations where each type can see what valuable perspectives another brings to the situation.
Understanding this information can allow the team to incorporate the knowledge into team roles, assignments and responsibilities. It can help balance the team
If you want help with some of the issues mentioned in this newsletter please give us a call.  We would be glad to help.  For more information on matrix vision's program "The Power of Teams" CLICK HERE
The Team Performance Model
There are four reasons why teams or groups meet other than for the sharing of information. They are:
  • To set goals or priorities. GOALS
  • To analyse or allocate the way work is performed. ROLES
  • To examine the way a group is working; its processes, such as norms, decision making, communications. PROCESSES
  • To examine relationships among the people doing the work. RELATIONSHIPS
GOALS, ROLES, PROCESSES, and RELATIONSHIPS provide a powerful checklist for the health of the team.. 

Team Performance Model

These main sections are broken into a further ten elements which can help us examine what is going on in a team.
The Elements of Teams
  • Goal Clarity - To what extent are all team members clear about the purpose or mission of the team?
  • Goal Commitment - To what extent are team members committed to team goals?
  • Leadership and Direction - To what extent is team leadership present to set direction and manage the team?
  • Role Clarity - To what extent are the roles and responsibilities of team members clear?
  • Role Commitment - To what extent does each person have a "stake" in the work of the team and commitment to or her role?
  • Role Competence - To what extent do the team and each of its members possess the skills necessary for task accomplishment?
  • Norms - To what extent do group norms contribute to team effectiveness?
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving - To what extent do the team's decision-making and problem-solving efforts contribute to goal achievement and ongoing effectiveness?
  • Trust and Openness - To what extent do team members express their ideas, opinions, and feelings, openly and with mutual trust ?
  • Mutual Support & Influence - To what extent is the team characterised by the absence of hostility or indifference, and by the presence of care, concern, and active mutual help and influence?
Adapted from Guide to High Performing Teams - Eggleton and Rice

Using Feedback to Improve Team Effectiveness
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Matrix Vision is a value added reseller and a user of the most powerful and versatile feedback software tool available today.
People need an efficient, confidential and anonymous vehicle for giving feedback to each other. State-of-the-art software can simplify the process of collecting multi-source (360) feedback for anyone in your organisation.
20/20 Insight GOLD is the world's most versatile feedback tool. With this system, we can set up surveys to collect virtually any type of feedback-ideas, opinions, impressions, ratings - from any number of people about the performance of an individual, a team or even your organisation as a whole.organisation.
Using Feedback to Improve Team Effectiveness
High performing teams thrive on feedback.  They seek feedback to build on their strengths and use it overcome some of the perceived barriers or obstacles.
Matrix Vision has developed the Team Effectiveness Survey to help teams understand how the team members feel about some key areas that are essential to effective teamwork.
This survey provides the opportunity for each of the members of a team to give some confidential, anonymous web-based feedback about how they perceive the team is going in a number of key areas.
  • How well does the team set goals or establish priorities? - GOALS
  • To what extent does the team analyse or allocate the way work is performed? - ROLES
  • How well is the team working in terms of its processes, such as norms, decision making, communications? - PROCESSES/PROCEDURES
  • To what extent does the interaction that occurs between team members assist the team? - RELATIONSHIPS
  • To what extent is team leadership present to set direction and manage the team? - LEADERSHIP
  • In addition some general items are included to allow team members to give an overall picture of the team - GENERAL PRODUCTIVITY and CLIMATE
The Team Effectiveness Survey consists of 44 items, most of which are statements about the team which the team member is asked to indicate their strength of agreement on a ten point scale.  In addition there are several open questions for team members either to explain high or low scores or to make general comments about the team.
To get more details about the Team Effectiveness Survey CLICK HERE
To learn more about the power of 20/20 Insight Gold click on the image.

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To talk with us about how you can use feedback to help you improve your team effectiveness, please contact us 

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Next month the theme of the newsletter will be "Giving and Receiving Feedback".
All the Best,
Barry Signature
Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited