Leadership Transition Coaching
Consulting Skills &
Leading Change Program
The primary purpose of this document is to help you make effective decisions regarding the use of team building and the selection of a team building consultant. Also, the document is meant to increase your understanding regarding the nature of effective project teams and effective team building. We hope after reading this document you will agree with our thinking and consider us for helping you with future team building efforts. While this document focuses on team building for project teams, we also do team building for leadership teams or other on-going organizational teams. Most of what is said below applies to this type of team building.
What is an effective team?
The key characteristics of an effective team are listed below:
Why Team Building?
Team Building is an intervention to help a group of people quickly become an effective team and remain effective. It is highly recommended that team building be used on all projects where most of the following are true:
What is effective Team Building?
The most important aspect of an effective team building effort is that it focus on achieving project results and stretch objectives. Relationships will jell around a common quest. We should always remember it is quite possible and frequently happens that teams can have a fine rapport and accomplish very little. This is most likely to happen when there is little external measurement of their results and weak pressure for performance.
A second important aspect of effective team building is data collection. Data needs to be collected by whoever is going to do the team building regarding the context of the project and the key issues it is facing. Data also needs to be gathered on the performance of the project team to date and key relationship issues amongst team members and with its customers and stakeholders. Based on this data gathering, a proposed contract, which outlines the approach to the team building for this particular project, should be developed. Beware of potential consultants who are willing to skip data collection and provide a canned program. Your chances for success will diminish greatly. The team building consultant could not possibly give the level of support you would expect if they had not heard about issues directly from team members, customers and stakeholders.
The proposal the consultant develops after data gathering should clearly comprehend the change structure and the process for doing the project. It should link all major stakeholders together and encourage team work and effective communication across all closely associated with the project.
Effective team building should include periodic major offsite meetings to:
Effective team building establishes a work climate that:
Last, effective team building provides the opportunity for ongoing consultation with project sponsors and the coaching of key players regarding their own effectiveness and how to make the team more effective.
Criteria to use in selecting a consultant
The most important criteria is their experience and track record in working with major project teams. Enough is at stake in major a project that this should be a go/no go criteria. The second most important criteria is the degree their proposal reflects a good understanding of what an effective team is and what effective team building is on a capital project, as stated above. Equally important to the above is the quality of the actual consultant doing the job. Be careful of bait and switch tactics used by some consulting firms. That is, selling you the project with experienced consultants and then sending inexperienced ones to do most of the work. The nature of team building consulting assignments requires experienced and high quality consultants.
Another important criteria is the personal chemistry between the actual consultant doing the job and the key clients. The key clients are going to be obtaining on-going advice from the consultant. If they are predisposed to not listen to the consultant because of a chemistry problem, the consultant will not be effective. Therefore, the selection decision should not be delegated to lower level team members. Where appropriate the consultant's cross cultural sensitivity can be an important factor in selection.
Finally, consider the consultant's ability to effectively support the project. Will they have enough time to support it? This includes effectively planning activities and following up on issues.