Does Churn Hurt or Help Team Performance?

In many organizations a lot of work is done through limited life teams. They assemble, complete a project or complex task, and then disband, with individual members going back to their regular job or on to another team's project. But such teams typically change the composition of their members. While several individuals may end up working together on another team, other members join the group. So it starts out as a "new" team, one that, from a human dynamics perspective, is destined to … [Read more...]

A Bit about You and Your Board

I ran across a useful article by Beverly Behan who specializes in board development and relations. She has several good tips for senior teams and CEO's who want to make meetings with their Boards more productive and successful. Even if you don't have to deal with your organization's Board of Directors now it will come up in the future as you advance your career. And, if it is an issue now, here are four tips I've gleaned from her piece: Provide Pre-reading that includes summary points. … [Read more...]

The Army’s After Action Review–a Model for Performance Feedback

The US and Canadian armies (among others, I'm sure) are famous for its post-event after action review (AAR). Whether it's a mission,  a tactical maneuver, or just a patrol, the individuals involved meet immediately afterward to debrief on how it went and what they can learn for the next time. This goal is to quickly and consistently capture new learning and give the squad–both as a team and as individuals–instant feedback and a way to improve right away.   The four questions they ask … [Read more...]

Emerging Evidence of the Impact of Better Bosses

It seems to be a "no brainer" that better mid level managers and supervisors will, by the way they lead their people, yield better results. Yet this relationship has been very little researched, formally and academically. A study published in August, however, does shed some light on this. It is available through the (U.S.) National Bureau of Economic Research and is entitled "The Value of Bosses." The research was done on a large company that featured many "technology based service jobs," for … [Read more...]

The Best Teams Communicate in 3 Critical Ways

Research reported by Alex Pentland in the April issue of Harvard Business Review has revealed some interesting new information on effective teams. He and his group deployed "sociometric badges" in teams in 21 organizations. These devices are able to monitor on individual team members' tone of voice, body language, frequency of initiating and responding, plus the content of the communications. They uncovered three aspects of communication that correlate with successful team … [Read more...]

Allow Team Members to Find Their Place

Edgar Schein, a titan of the field of organizational development, says in his recent book, Helping, that there are four questions on the minds of new members of any team. While these concerns operate at a subconscious level, nevertheless, any team member must become comfortable with the answers before he or she can relax and start to really contribute to team goals. These personal issues are: What role am I to play in this group? In effect, who am I to be? How much control or influence … [Read more...]

Want to Collaborate? Choose Your Level

We hear so much about collaboration these days. Our work is more complex. The best solutions require input from diverse perspectives. We at Fulcrum Associates have just started working with a fascinating simulation learning event, Friday Night at the ER. In it participants experience the challenge of working in a system where the unit managers must ultimately collaborate in the interest of the whole system. Otherwise, when one unit/part gets the best results for itself, other units–which, … [Read more...]

Don’t Clone Yourself

A boss of mine early on in my career had a tough, almost bulldog, style. He was a pragmatic, no nonsense guy. He didn't have a wide vocabulary and didn't spend a lot of time talking about concepts. He was super loyal to the company and even more so to the branch of which he was a part. In short, he was the antithesis of yours truly. I never understood why he hired me, with my Masters degree in HR Management and my parallel interest in the bigger picture and broader developments in the … [Read more...]

Two Years Out…and Still in Orbit!

Tomorrow (July 26, 2011) will be the two-year anniversary of the Build Best Bosses blog! My first post featured a picture of a rocket being launched into orbit. When I started out my goal was to write short, digestible pieces that will help my readers build themselves into their employees' "best boss ever" and also populate "best bosses" throughout their organization. This goal has never changed. I have settled on publishing a weekly post because, I suspect, that is all people want to read, … [Read more...]

Teamwork Palette®…a Tool for All (Team) Seasons

In two recent posts I have written about two capacities teams need to become high performance: Remaining aware of their team processes (vs. just tasks) and Interrupting the business of the team meeting in order to conduct "maintenance" on these processes. The problem for most teams is that group process and relations among team members can be difficult to describe, let alone objectively measure. To some managers they can also seem tricky to deal with. But, at the same time, they are … [Read more...]