High-performing teams do not spring into existence simply by giving a bunch of people a common goal. Putting together a team is easy, but making them perform to the best of their abilities is something else altogether. Having a successful team is not something that will ‚fall into place‘ either – no, not even if you really, really want it to… It takes time, dedication and understanding to build an effective team, and probably a few more things besides that.
With that said, let’s look at some tools for teams…
You’ve heard of ARCI, right? There can be a slight affirmative murmur in the training room at this point, or no sound at all. Like so many other tools, ARCI can be implemented in a variety of business scenarios. ARCI can handle large scale scenarios, as well as the smallest process. By taking a structured approach like ARCI to role assignment, you can identify who’ll be doing what and what not on each team task. If done (and followed) correctly, it minimizes the risk of overlaps and confusions. Without further ado, ARCI identifies who is:
- Accountable – this person is the “owner” of the work. He or she must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete. This person must make sure that responsibilities are assigned in the ARCI matrix for all related activities. There is only one person accountable.
- Responsible – these people are the “doers” of the work. They must complete the task or objective or make the decision. Several people can be jointly responsible.
- Consulted – these are the people who need to give input before the work can be done and signed-off on. These people are “in the loop” and active participants in a task.
- Informed – these people need updates on progress or decision, but they do not need to be formally consulted, nor do they contribute directly to the task or decision.
Here’s an example.
ARCI is one of a mountain of tools that helps you define your team. But there are others…
What type of learner are you?
Do you colour code and highlight your way through documents, or do you write notations and questions as you read? Do you prefer graphics and visuals to reinforce learning? Or do you prefer to use tunes or rhymes as mnemonic devices to remember information? Do you learn more effectively via self-study, or via group activity?
The answers to these questions matter greatly in a training environment but they are also relevant in successful teams. Long instructional emails or manuals are difficult to digest for an auditory or visual learner. Or, consider the differences between someone who learns by trial and error and someone who learns from detailed how-to examples.
- Read more about learning styles http://edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/7-styles-of-learning.jpg
- Do the quiz http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml
What type of team member are you?
Belbin Team Type Inventory
An interesting place to start learning more how each team member can contribute to the team, is by looking at the Belbin team type inventory. The Belbin identifies nine different team roles. Each role has strengths and weaknesses, and, keeping personal preferences in mind, tasks can be distributed according to the preferred team role rather than by company hierarchy, technical skills, position or experience.
They provide inside knowledge on the opposition and made sure that the team’s idea will carry to the outside world.
Helps the team to gel, using their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
Needed to focus on the team’s objectives, draw out team members and delegate work appropriately
Tends to be highly creative and good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
Provides a logical eye, making impartial judgements where required and weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
Brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
Provides the necessary drive to ensure that the team keep moving and do not lose focus or momentum.
Needed to plan a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
Most effectively used at the end of tasks to polish and scrutinise the work for errors, subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
Read more about Belbin here.
What is your team’s type?
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Years and years of study and research went into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I will not be able to do it justice with this short summary. (Start here, if you want to learn more about MBTI. If you are interested in creating an MBTI profile, keep in mind that the MBTI is a three step process, and should be performed by a certified MBTI practitioner.)
„If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.“
C. G. Jung
The combined individual profiles of team members can be translated into a team type indicator. Here’s an example of a team with the team identity ESTJ. The first graphic explains the combined strengths of the team members – these are the behaviours that come naturally to them.
And then there’s the flipside. The same team identifies as being INFP. This graphic shows the areas this team needs to be aware of because its team members don’t naturally exhibit them.
Whereas Belbin’s focus is on the balance of team roles and tasking, the MBTI profile is about raising awareness of each other’s preferences and understanding their preferred way of working and communicating. The emphasis is on preferred. Many factors can influence someone’s behaviour in business. It’s not as simple as placing someone in a box of type, or finding the right balance of different types in your team. There is no right balance of type. Every team can work, if you’re interested in knowing who you’re working with.
A short personal disclaimer
I’m not certified in Belbin or MBTI, but some of my colleagues are. They can tell you much, much more, if the mighty Internet doesn’t give you all the answers. I’m not an expert on any of these tools, but I have found them very useful in the various teams I have worked in.