In Monday Memo


Last week I wrote about seven challenges that teams of today face, that teams of the past didn’t need to deal with. It follows then that developing teams today won’t necessarily follow the same team development and team building paths of the past – they simply are unlikely to work.

So, what does a team need to do to overcome these challenges? Peter Hawkins suggests the following 4 dimensions that need to be added to the normal definitions of effective teams:

  1. The ability to have effective meetings and internal communication;
  2. The ability to work individually and collectively in representing the team to all its major stakeholders in a way that successfully engages the stakeholders and has impact;
  3. The team as a ‘learning system’: this enables the team to increase the capacity and capability of each of its team members, as well as to continually develop its own performance and collective capacity and capability;
  4. The emotional work of the team: an effective team also acts as an emotional container that addresses and resolves conflict, aligns the work of all its members, provides emotional support across the team, and increases morale and commitment.

Building on this, Hawkins arrives at the following definition of an effective team: ‘A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of goals and shared approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. The common approach needs to include ways of effectively meeting and communicating that raise morale and alignment, effectively engaging with all the team’s key stakeholder groups, and ways that the individuals and the team can continually learn and develop.’

So, how do your teams, especially leadership teams, stack up against this definition?

I hope that the series creates not only greater understanding for my readers, but that it perhaps creates more questions than answers. If I am successful in achieving this for you, please feel free to raise your views or questions with me at

In addition this week, I am offering the first ten people who respond and qualify a free meeting audit consisting of an interview with the team leader, shadow coaching of one team meeting, and a report back with the team leader. These can be done face to face with teams in Johannesburg and Durban, and by way of a video-conferencing facility for other respondents. To respond, and to see if you qualify, please send me an email on in which you highlight the challenges you are facing in your meetings. This offer is open until close of business on 26 April 2018.

(I am indebted to the work of Peter Hawkins, of Renewal Associates, as well as the methodology of Integral Coaching Canada, which I have integrated for purposes of this series and in developing my Systemic Leadership Team Coaching process.) 

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