Chapter 5. Change: Devising More Effective Ways of Working Together

The last “C” in our model refers to change, the key meta-competency in our model. High-performing teams not only understand what is impeding their performance but are able to take corrective action to achieve their goals. Team building refers to the activities in which a team can engage to change its context, composition, or team competencies to improve performance. In this chapter we will discuss (1) the common problems found in teams and how to diagnose those problems, (2) how to determine whether the team itself can solve its problems or whether a consultant is needed, and (3) the basic elements of a team-building program.

Common Problems Found in Teams

Usually a team-building program is undertaken when a concern, problem, issue, or set of symptoms leads the manager or other members of the team to believe that the effectiveness of the team is not up to par. The following symptoms or conditions usually provoke serious thought or remedial action:

  • Loss of production or team output

  • A continued unexplained increase in costs

  • Increase of grievances or complaints from the team

  • Complaints from users or customers about quality of service

  • Evidence of conflicts or hostility among team members

  • Confusion about assignments, missed signals, and unclear relationships

  • Misunderstood decisions or decisions not carried out properly

  • Apathy and general lack of interest or involvement of team members

  • Lack of initiative, imagination, or innovation ...

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