Team Development for Leaders

Teams at work are often teams in name only — they're actually just groups. True teams are able to achieve much higher levels of performance than groups can. In this program, organizational leaders, manager, team leads, and team sponsors learn the techniques they need to form their groups into teams, and once they are teams, how to keep them there.

There's an entire industry built on what we call team building, in which we take a group of folks, put them through a series of simulations and games, and produce a team. Often, it works pretty well. People do form strong relationships, and some of these relationships are lasting.

Team Development for Leaders

Team development is far more than what happens in team development workshops. Leaders must engage in team development every day.

But it doesn't work all the time, and part of the reason is that what happens at work is different from what happens in team-building programs. Typically, after a few months, we start to see some of the same unhelpful behaviors that we saw before we conducted the program.

This program gives organizational leaders, managers, team leads, team sponsors, and project managers the tools and concepts they need to help a group become a team. And then once they have become a team, there are tools for keeping them from drifting back to being a group.

This insight-filled program deals with issues such as:

  • Are we a team, or just a group?
  • Why can't we collaborate effectively?
  • How do interpersonal relationships affect group processes?
  • How can we benefit from the leadership abilities of people who don't have formal leadership roles?
  • How can we deal effectively with virtuality, split assignments, and reas-signments?
  • What makes a kickoff meeting work well?
  • What are re-kickoffs and why do we need them?
  • What behavioral norms does my team need?
  • With our minimal budget and tight schedule, how can we have celebrations that people enjoy?
  • Why are some major milestones so unappreciated?
  • What makes a meeting agenda effective?
  • Why do we have such trouble making decisions?

This program is available as a keynote, workshop, seminar, breakout, or clinic. For the shorter formats, coverage of the outline below is selective.

Learning objectives

This program helps people who make decisions. As it turns out, that's just about everyone in the knowledge-oriented workplace. Participants learn:

  • What a team is and how it differs from a group
  • The five stages of a team's life cycle
  • The costs of team development
  • How operational teams differ from task teams
  • What team-building is and how it differs from team maintenance
  • The basics of interpersonal communication
  • How organizational policy can constrain team effectiveness
  • Common forms of team dysfunction
  • Internal and external obstacles to team effectiveness
  • What kind of work is best performed by teams as opposed to groups
  • Operating patterns for teams
  • How virtual teams differ from co-located teams
  • What it takes to make high-performance virtual teams

Participants learn to appreciate the true challenges of dealing with cognitive biases. Most important, they learn strategies and tactics for limiting their effects, or, having discovered that a cognitive bias might be playing a role, how to intervene to enhance decision quality.

Program structure and content

We learn through presentation, discussion, exercises, simulations, and post-program activities. We can tailor a program for you that addresses your specific challenges, or we can deliver a tried-and-true format that has worked well for other clients. Participants usually favor a mix of presentation, discussion, and focused exercises.

Based on attendee interest, topics will include, for example:

  • Defining teams and groups
  • Team life cycles
  • Classifying teams
  • Tools for team builders
  • Effects of organizational policies
  • Team dysfunctions and interventions
  • Special properties of virtual teams
  • Creating high performance virtual teams
  • Techniques for maintaining team performance

Whether you're a veteran of team building, or a relative newcomer, this program is a real eye-opener.

Learning model

When we learn most new skills, we intend to apply them in situations with low emotional content. But knowledge about how people work together is most needed in highly charged situations. That's why we use a learning model that goes beyond presentation and discussion — it includes in the mix simulation, role-play, metaphorical problems, and group processing. This gives participants the resources they need to make new, more constructive choices even in tense situations. And it's a lot more fun for everybody.

Target audience

Decision makers at all levels, including managers of global operations, sponsors of global projects, business analysts, team leads, project managers and team members.

Program duration

Available formats range from 50 minutes to one full day. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience.

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What People Say About Rick's Programs
  • "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the group."
    — Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
  • "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
    — Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS
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