You wouldn’t remedy an environmental spill, build a bridge or launch a new product without a clear project plan. Similarly, you won’t be embarking on a sensitive and important effort to improve your team’s functioning without some careful thinking, risk management and resource planning.

Assuming you have carefully identified the symptoms and causes of the team dysfunction, and assessed the likely impact of the proposed interventions, here are some other elements that your project plan must take into account.


The context in which you’ll apply your Tools is important. One consideration is any attempts that have been made in the past. What have you, and others, already tried? What worked, and what didn’t work? Explore this question with your predecessors and other longstanding employees who are familiar with the team.

Commonly, team dysfunction will have been considered by the organisation a few times in recent years — by the manager before you, and the one before that. If so, this issue may seem tired and intractable, or even ‘impossible’, from the perspective of the rest of the organisation. Human Resources may have been lumbered with the issue because no one in the past has been brave or skilled enough to handle it.

Perhaps, for example, a consultant was brought in two years ago to conduct a culture review, and everyone invested in that process, yet nothing changed for the better. This will give you an indication ...

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