Poet Ryunosuke Satoro writes, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” A team is the bringing together of diverse individuals, talents, and strengths, which are moving towards achievement of a common purpose. Most organizational tools measure and assess the performance of individuals. We work with the Team Diagnostic™ Model as a way to measure the contributions, strengths, and areas of improvement for the collective team. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and while it is useful to understand the parts, it is invaluable to understand how they interact and what it all adds up to.
A systems view of team is based on four foundational concepts:
- Teams exist to produce a result.
- They are living entities with the capability to grow and thrive.
- Team members want to be on team recognized for its high performance , and they want to contribute.
- Teams have it within themselves to succeed.
Keeping these underpinning guidelines of team in mind, we can use the Team Diagnostic™ tool to determine what we need to do as team member and team leader to bolster this team, to improve performance, and to improve interpersonal dynamics. There are two dimensions of team that we look at:
Productivity relates to how the team comes together to deliver a result. Does it have the capacity to perform the functions required? We measure this through the lens of seven dimensions or competencies:
- Goals and Strategies. Are they clear? Are they challenging? Are team members aligned with them? Are goals and strategies linked to recognition and reward?
- Alignment. Is there a sense of common purpose and mission? Do we value cooperation, interdependence, and collectively owning our results? A lot of times, when people act out in some way, it is because they are not aligned yet. They cannot see their contribution; perhaps they’re not aligned with the goals and strategies or with how they team is moving forward.
- Accountabilities. If something does go wrong, how will the leader and my team address me, as an individual, when I don’t full my responsibilities? How will they address me when I do? How do I understand my role and my contribution and that of others?
- Resources. Do we have the right tools, techniques, machinery, technology, and training, to achieve our objectives?
- Decision-Making. How do we make decisions here? Is there a process? What is my contribution to decisions?
- Proactive. Do we embrace change and move forward? Do we get out in front of it? Can we act on decisions?
- Leadership. Teams follow leaders. Do I believe our leader can and will help us to get there?
Often, we focus on this productivity side. It is the “hard” versus the “soft” stuff. These dimensions can be more easily measured; they’re tangible. There is another dimension, though, that impacts how a team performs: positivity. This relates to the team’s interactions and interrelationships. While more nebulous, it is critically important to the concept of “team.”