Developing Success Oriented Teams
with the Team Dimensions Profile™
In today’s change oriented society and team based approach to the work environment, organizational success depends, more than ever before, on people working together effectively. This requires a clear understanding, by the individual, of his/her personal strengths, a real appreciation of the difference in others, and how their strengths interact with those of others. This knowledge is the foundation for successful team development.
In the mid 1960’s Bruce Tuckman developed a simple four stage model of team development that became an accepted theory of how teams develop. In his article “Development Sequences in Small Groups” Tuckman outlined four stages of team development – Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. But while this model is a good explanation of the progression of teams, it does not explain the complex relationships in the team that result in the four stages. Each member of a team is an individual with his/her own characteristics and behavioral preferences. Their success as an operating team will depend to a large extent on how well they interrelate and capitalize on the strengths of each individual.
Many of us grew up with the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you”. But today, Dr. Tony Alessandra, in his Platinum rule, disputes that. He argues that to build constructive relationships, we should do unto others as they would like to be done unto. Certainly a different perspective!
The former chairman of the board of the Chrysler Organization, Robert Eaton, has been quoted as saying, “any culture, by definition, exists primarily to prevent change, to set in stone the lessons of the past.” But this is simply not true in the change oriented business world of the 21st century. Organizations today face complex challenges. These challenges result in new and deeper demands on leadership. A cross-national study by the Centre for Creative Leadership indicates that today’s leadership involves more collaborative and innovative approaches. The quality of leadership is also likely to be a major force in helping organizations retain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.
People are different, and if leaders are to be effective they must understand that “one size does not fit all”. Leaders, to be effective, must adapt their approach to meet the needs of their followers.
Teams are groups of diverse people united by a common goal or purpose. Operating effectively they exemplify the acronym T.E.A.M. (“Together Everyone Achieves More”).
In a well functioning team you can recognize 5 key roles being played out.
- Role #1 is that of the Creator who takes a conceptual approach to the task. These are the people who generate ideas.
- Role #2 is that of the Advancer who takes a spontaneous approach. These people communicate and/or promote the ideas.
- Role #3 is that of the Refiner who takes a methodical approach. These people challenge the ideas, and/or point out their weaknesses.
- Role #4 is that of the Executor who takes a normative approach. These people implement the ideas.
- Role # 5 is that of the Flexor who plays the role of the deal-maker and can step in to fill any gaps.
Although most people can stretch to perform each of the roles, these stretches are often stressful and energy consuming. The most effective teams consist of individuals who play to their strengths and use their natural talents. The key element to remember is that everyone has a preferred role that can be used to help teams create their best solutions.
The process is likely to follow a “Z” pattern. The Creator come up with an idea, the Advancer likes the idea and promotes it. Then the Refiner clarifies any objections, and pokes new holes in ideas that make them better, and the Executor gets the information they need to implement the plan or idea. Through the whole process the Flexor plays the role of the deal-maker – providing team balance.
Thus, in a well balanced team you have the Creators that develop new concepts, the Advancers who move things forward, the Refiners who examine the details, and the Executors who follow through on the implementation. While the Flexors monitor the process and step in to fill gaps on the team.
Team Dimensions Profile™ helps us identify our most natural approach and our most comfortable role on a team. We can also use theTeam Dimensions Profile™ to understand how to interact successfully with team members with different patterns.
Team Dimensions Profile™ describes an individual’s preferred role and explores its strengths and challenges. From it you can discover what you do best in a team atmosphere, and you can gain valuable insights into your work habits. In addition you can learn about other team members’ contributions, the value they bring to the process, and how to work effectively together.
In summary, the important lessons in this exercise are that:
- We all have natural strengths that enable us to perform certain roles comfortably
- Our individual tendencies toward change make us less effective alone than when we are part of a team
- We need to balance our strengths as team members
- Then its “Together we’re better!”
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