Sometimes teams can become quite blind towards some very obvious improvements to their performance. There may be huge elephants in the team room which have somehow become camouflaged. Here is a short team exercise to quickly highlight big improvement opportunities by putting the team into an imaginary pressure cooker.
READ all the main Bioteams Essays
As a team leader you have two distinct leadership responsibilities - Managing the Individuals and Managing the Team. Leaders who fixate on managing the individuals tend to have happy teams which unfortunately under-perform in terms of deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and budgets! Leaders who obsess on managing the team may hit most of these targets but at the expense of team member Alienation, Burnout, Compliance, Disinterest and eventually Exiting (easy to remember - ABCDE!). Great Team Leaders manage both responsibilities. Here is a simple framework with a nice supporting spreadsheet to help you assess and improve your leadership:
I have written quite a lot about the importance of a team's beliefs on their performance and have published some modest research into the beliefs which differentiate 'high performing' teams from other teams. Until today I have not published the questionnaire which underpinned this research. I am now making this questionnaire available here and also, on request, a free spreadsheet tool to help you 'number crunch' and analyse the results from using the beliefs questionnaire with your own teams.
An important free tool which I provide with my new book 'A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams' is a Team Process Health Check Spreadsheet written in Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet allows you to rapidly assess each of 16 important team process elements on a scale of 0-3 ranging from 'totally absent' to 'present and effective'.
By observing newly formed and existing teams playing business simulations I have learned some important insights into how team-working 'evolves' and offer here some specific ideas on how you might accelerate this evolution in your own organizational teams.
On the road to Effective Team Collaboration there seems to be two intermediate phases of 'naïve collaboration' which many teams seem to go through - Hyper-Communication and Over-Delegation.
Team Game Plans are essential when your team is faced with a new and challenging task, such as a business simulation game. To formulate a Game Plan the team must quickly look at their goals and targets and then, based on a shared set of priorities, values, mental models and working practices, come up with a plan for achieving them.
The word 'RAPPORT' is an excellent mnemonic for remembering the 7 key elements of a great Team Game Plan as RAPPORT is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: 'A close and harmonious relationship in which the groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.'
So to have RAPPORT in your team you need to quickly agree your team's:
I am very pleased to announce the release of my new guide book:
A SYSTEMATIC GUIDE TO GAME-BASED LEARNING (GBL) IN ORGANIZATIONAL TEAMS.
My friend Charles Jennings who introduces the book kindly notes in his foreword that 'it provides a deep analysis and clear guidance to help practitioners develop effective social game-based learning solutions'.
I am pleased to release a new white paper "A Leaders Guide to creating High Performing Teams (HPTs)". This 15-page executive guide, aimed at leaders and managers in all sizes and types of organisation, proposes and explains a pragmatic and comprehensive framework for the necessary interventions required to successfully introduce High Performing Teams (HPTs) into organisations.
** BREAKING NEWS **
Ken's New Book - A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams just published on paperback and kindle.
Excellent article by Positive Impact Magazine which reviews the growing field of Organizational Biomimicry and showcases Bioteams, the Biomimicry Institute and Honeybee Democracy. Nice examples of what we have learned from pigeons, bees, beetles, termites, geese, shrimps and even fungi.
I would like to share with you a very simple model I use for helping teams become more High Performing which addresses 4 key aspects of teams - Communications, Alignment, Meetings and Support ("CAMP").
According to a new Deloitte Australia report, The Collaborative Economy, overlong meetings, distractions and failed projects are costing their economy $5.4 billion per annum.
What do we mean by "Teamwork"? We often talk about Teamwork as if its a singular thing however in nature there are 4 different types - each of which have a very precise meaning. I call these Solowork, Crowdwork, Groupwork and Teamwork itself. An effective team knows how and when to use each type - an ineffective team only uses one!
*** Stop Press Ken's new book on teams is out A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams ***
I have just purchased John Kotter's new book XLR8 ("Accelerate") which as well as reworking his previous excellent thinking on change introduces two concepts which resonate with my work - The Dual Operating System and The Big Opportunity. Lets briefly look at each of them.
I am delighted to be able to publish a new Bioteams article in the Summer 2014 edition of The Henry Ford Magazine entitled "Teams in Nature". The article summarises the differences between human teams and natures teams in three critical areas: Communications, Leadership and Scalability.
I am pleased to announce that I have just launched the Dashboard Simulations Blog where I will publish articles on the topics of Business Simulation Games, Informal Learning, Gamification, Experiential Learning and Game-based Learning. It comes pre-loaded with a number of articles the most recent of which is A team game engagement process which guarantees transformative learning.