|Challenges of Working in
Increased global business uncertainty, complexity
and competition, as well as decreases in personnel and support budgets are
becoming more of a reality in today's corporate climate. With this business
climate, the question of how to effectively implement and sustain change
is a core challenge for corporations. In collaboration with one of our major
clients, a unique service has been created that is making a difference in
how people and teams work to most effectively accomplish business results.
|Creation of Team Effectiveness
Confronted with the need to create and innovate under severe financial
and time constraints in the client's matrixed organizational structure,
the conventional wisdom grows out of the value on what can be measured
and described; that people can weather the storm if only they could focus
more time and expertise on technical issues and devise an ideal set of
"metrics" to manage subordinates' activities.
The Team Effectiveness Coaching group held a different assumption about
how teams could maximize performance. Their belief was that it is frequently
the intangibles of human interaction processes that separates average performance
from outstanding execution: unless teams could improve their interpersonal,
team and organizational effectiveness, their technical achievements would
not get them to the level of execution necessary.
"We seem to say everyday, every minute that our problems are related
to the product and designing parts but they are not. It's with dealing
with people and helping them understand what they have to do, communicating
with them and establishing strong bonds in the group. Here I see the very
powerful effect of the Team Effectiveness Coach in the team" said one
Product Development Leader.
The Team Effectiveness Coaching Service was created to assist Product
Development Teams in enhancing their effectiveness through real time, practical,
action learning that generates immediate and cumulative results.
Team Effectiveness Coaches (TEC) partner with a product development team
who requests the service, and works at all levels of the system simultaneously.
This includes individuals, sub-teams within the larger team, the product
development team as an organizational whole, and even at the Enterprise
level as the coaches can act as an intelligence network that supports cross-team
and cross-function learning.
The focus of the work is to help teams and their leaders develop and
sustain individual and team behaviors, team operating structures and interpersonal
relationships to achieved desired business outcomes.
|A Cost Savings Intervention
A Quality and Cost Savings Intervention
A dramatic example of the benefit afforded the company by the TEC service
occurred in the recent effort to root out inefficiencies in new product
development Teams of cross-functional employees were charged with identifying
areas of inefficiency in Product Development and developing action plans
for improvement. Beginning with an immediate and urgent need to get feedback
from the working level engineer, the Team Effectiveness Coaches were asked
to pool their knowledge and efforts for more than three weeks developing
an interview protocol and questionnaire, collecting data through shadowing
and interviews, coding the data, summarizing and feeding back the findings
to the teams.
Without their intimate prior knowledge of the systemic workings of the
organization and the trust they had built up with individual engineers
at all levels, the speed, accuracy and usefulness of the data would have
been comparatively anemic. Certainly no external consulting firm could
have delivered this information with the same efficacy, quantity and quality
within such a short period of time. And given the current economic constraints,
the Team Effectiveness Coaches were able to deliver this service for a
correspondingly and dramatically lower cost.
|How Team Effectiveness Coaching
On a day-to-day level, a Team Effectiveness Coach is present at team
interactions of all kinds at all levels wherever and whenever seems of
highest leverage. These situations can vary from: a strategic thinking
session with the leader of the product development team; a two-person interchange
between executives in a hallway; weekly staff meetings; ad hoc planning
sessions. The TEC is then able to identify patterns in interpersonal and
team behaviors and structures that are inhibiting or promoting desired
Once a TEC has developed a sense of these patterns s/he begins to intervene
in real time at the individual, group or organizational level as critical
incidents occur. This immediate feedback gives individuals and teams the
collaborative change skills that empower them to monitor their own progress
toward "best practices," and continual learning. With this evolving knowledge,
individuals and teams successfully re-align their own organizational structures
and working relationships in response to unexpected changes in business
and customer demands and thereby meet and exceed company goals.
|How Team Effectiveness
Coaching Differs From Other Models
Given the array of modalities an executive or leadership team might choose
from when hiring outside help for executive, team or organizational development,
what differentiates Team Effectiveness Coaching from training, executive
coaching or traditional project-oriented OD work? While it can and does
include these modalities, the mindset and approach are essentially integrative
and thus distinct from any one of the other approaches.
Like a trainer, a TEC does teach concepts and engage clients in interpersonal
skill-building activities. But the benefits of training - the transfer
of knowledge and skills - can be short-lived when there is no follow-on
plan or structure to support the employees applying their training on the
job. What makes a TEC most unlike a trainer is that a TEC is "on the spot"
and the skill building activities are immediately invoked in the actual
setting when needed. The lessons conveyed are specific to the situation.
Unlike training alone, the TEC role builds in on-going coaching at an
individual and team level that promotes true assimilation of new concepts
and behaviors. However, team effectiveness coaching in no way excludes
the use and value of other types of interventions such as training. In
fact, their integrated use can provide yet another synergy for the client
who wants to accelerate the development of the team.
The hallmark of the TEC work is ongoing and continuous learning, whether
it is in the service of improvement, adaptation or change.
A primary element of uniqueness is the model for working with teams.
Team Effectiveness Coaches are only placed on teams where there is a commitment
and pull from the customer - the customer wants the service and is willing
to pay it.
The TEC lives full-time, on-site with the team so they are best able
to identify emergent patterns and intervene "in the moment" to assist teams
in resolving issues in real time.
"The most significant contribution of the coach is the constant timely
input for reflection of what we have been doing, what we need to do next,
how we are functioning as a group. I find the TEC to be very valuable in
the sense that they are looking at it from a different lens and have their
receptors out there in a different way.
This allows us to address things in a timely way so that we can effectively
move and take advantage of an opportunity or side step an impending disaster." Product Development Leader.
Team Effectiveness Coaching work focuses on the integration of the elements
illustrated in the following model, proposed by Daniel Kim at MIT's Sloan
School Of Management: Quality of Relationships, Quality of Thinking, Quality
of Action and Quality of Results.
Other areas of uniqueness is the core methodologies that drive the work
of the Team Effectiveness Coaches at Ford Motor Company:
- Building customer capacity so they are able to sustain their own learning
- Establishing a strong customer partnership based on confidentiality,
ownership and accountability;
- Using a data driven approach to drive interventions.
|Working at the Individual,
Team and Enterprise Level
The Team Effectiveness Coaching Service is integrative and involves work
at the individual, team and the enterprise level as described earlier in
the article, referencing the quality and cost savings intervention.
At the individual level, the TEC-Customer partnership addresses issues
of personal, professional and leadership development and effectiveness.
While this work is observable with the individual, the context and driver
for the one-on-one coaching lies in enhancing the effectiveness of the
team as a whole.
Because the TEC has intimate knowledge of and interaction with the whole
system, s/he is immersed in the leader's context and challenges and can
truly serve the leader as a strategic thinking partner.
"The real problem is not the technicals, it's learning how to deal
with people, deal with my emotions, how to use those characteristics to
do battle, to be a better leader and to help the team," one Chief Engineer
Some examples of working at the individual level include:
- Coaching a team member on the impact of their current leadership behaviors,
helping them identify alternatives and build an action plan for improvement;
- Building the individual's coaching competencies;
- Coaching individuals on how to effectively bridge multicultural differences
At the team level, the coach focuses on optimizing team collaboration,
learning and effectiveness and helps the team build an effective team operating
system. Some examples of this work include:
- Guiding the team in exposing, confronting and resolving conflicts and
- Identifying and challenging team norms, assumptions, behaviors and
work culture traditions that inhibit team effectiveness;
- Helping the team align team structures, operating norms and group
processes to accomplish team goals.
"With the help of the coach, we were able to put together a new approach
of managing the program with much higher performance . The single, most
important contribution the coach has made has been helping us come to a
better engineered learning structure and communication process." Product
|Is Team Coaching a Fit in
The emphasis on intervening in "real time" in on-going relationships
at multiple levels is a distinguishing feature of Team Effectiveness Coaching
that offers benefits across multiple dimensions. The benefits include:
- Enhancing the Team's ability to manage the changes created during
a drastic re-structuring;
- Maximizing human and knowledge capital;
- Thinking more strategically and contextually;
- Developing new leaders;
- Improving the decision-making ability of product development teams
and thereby enhancing their ability to adjust effectively to changing
- Improving the capacity to deal with complexity;
- Improving relationships with cross functional stakeholders and suppliers;
- Delivering team effectiveness lessons learned within and between teams;
- Sharing systemic patterns with key enterprise stakeholders to help
them identify ways of leveraging effective patterns and shifting limiting
- Internalizing organizational learning in ways that insure that many
mistakes will not be repeated.
This integrative and systemic approach may not be for every organization.
But for those companies whose leaders and teams are committed to ongoing
learning, continuous improvement and maximizing their human/knowledge capital,
Team Effectiveness Coaching is a unique service to consider for helping
teams be more effective in accomplishing their business outcomes.
Steve Goldberg specializes in executive and team effectiveness coaching.
Steve brings over 20 years of experience in Coaching, Leadership and Organizational
Development to his work with executives, teams and organizations. He is a
masterful coach who specializes in improving group decision-making, communication,
meeting effectiveness, and strategy development. He has worked around the
globe in coaching and organizational effectiveness assignments with organizations
including Ford Motor Company, Forest Industrial Relations Association, Lockheed
Martin, British Columbia Gas and Electric, Arctic College , Northwest Territories
, the US Agency International Development with extensive work with the Governments
of Mexico, Ecuador, St Lucia , Zimbabwe and Zambia. Contact Steve by telephone:
734 330-8346 or by e-mail: email@example.com .