If you are truly interested in fostering a great team, you need to have a starting point. This is especially true if you have "inherited" someone else's team, which is quite common in business today. Where do you begin?
Whatever you do, please do not just sit back and "observe." That may have some merit, but the best and easiest way to find out about how a team is doing is to ask them. This can be in the form of one-on-one or group "interviews" as well as team meetings. However, one of the best tools that we have developed at Corporate Games is our Team Assessment. It is easy to administer and it will provide loads of valuable information. Here is a streamlined summary of how to do it:
1. Explain to your team that you are meeting to take stock of how the group is functioning as a team, and to ask them to assist in creating ways to improve the team.
2. Divide your team into small discussion groups (3- 10 people each, depending on the size of your total team) and ask each group to come up with a list of adjectives that describe a successful team. Each discussion group will have its own list of 10- 20 descriptors-- such as "Trust," "Clear Goals," "Openness," etc., etc.
3. Ask the first group to read their list as you write down the words on a flip chart. "Post-It" flipchart paper is best. Then, ask the other groups what they have --and add any new words that have not already been mentioned.
4. Next, ask each group to take a look at the whole list of words and based on their own experience with the team, to rate the entire team against each of the adjectives-- on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 is the best, with 1 being dismal. This means that each discussion group will have its own set of ratings-- though they are scoring the entire team.
5. Give each discussion group a colored marker (each must have a different color), and have one person from each group post their scores, using their colored marker, on the flipchart list of words. So, for example, if you have 3 discussion groupss, next to each one of the words on the flipchart, there will eventually be 3 different scores-- one from each of your 3 groups.
6. Everyone will be very interested in how all the scores compare. Some will be close or similar, and others will vary widely. Facilitate a discussion on how the groups came up with some of the scores. Focus particularly on scores that are widely divergent.
7. Finally have each group decide what ONE area could use improvement immediately-- and how they would go about it.
8. You need to follow up on their ideas. Hopefully these are suggestions that you can all agree upon and act on fairly easily and rapidly.
9. The "Assessment" scores that you collect will now serve as a benchmark for the future, and help you determine how your team is doing. You will ask them to score these items again in 6 months to a year.
The "Team Assessment" is the perfect way to determine your teams strengths and weaknesses --and provide direction as to how to improve.