In Monday Memo


From time to time in this series I have mentioned that team development traditionally has dealt with the team dynamic. Obviously this is great especially where the team dynamic is far from fine or suffers from one or more of the five dysfunctions discussed earlier in the series. However, too often in these cases the fundamentals of what the team had been set up to achieve – its purpose, goals and roles – were far from clear. In these cases, no amount of team process facilitation would remove team conflict that originated from task confusion.

Team performance is fundamentally dependent on how the team collectively engages with all its stakeholders. In realising this, Peter Hawkins started experimenting with helping teams to shift from their focus of an ‘inside-out’ perspective to ‘outside-in’. When teams start with ‘outside-in’, they start by asking who the team is there to serve and what their stakeholders need and want from them – and what they will need and want from them in the future.

And this raises another distinction: most teams work from ‘the past forward’ in trying to address current problems that have arisen from the past. Again, Hawkins realised that what was more important was to help teams focus ‘future-back’, that is to focus on what their current and ‘not-yet’ customers and stakeholders were going to need different from the team in the future. Only then can one explore how the team need to function differently to meet those ends.

In the Systemic Team Coaching process, the team is able to collect key messages from the feedback as well as the key dynamics of the team. Doing this with all the different key stakeholder groups, or at least the critical stakeholders, provides the team with a rich field of data to explore as well as a better understanding of what they need to do differently.

One way of doing this is to use the Team Connect 360 diagnostic survey as a way of identifying the strengths and challenges of the team in these areas. Please drop me an email if you would like me to send you a Team Connect brochure so that you can learn more about what can be achieved; alternatively contact me if you would like to explore the notion of systemic team coaching further for your organisation.

(I am indebted to the work of Peter Hawkins, of Renewal Associates, especially his book, Leadership Team Coaching, 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.

Some of the other books that form a foundation for this series are:

Systemic Team Coaching by John Leary-Joyce and Hilary Lines

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Team of Teams by S McChrystal et al

Seeing Systems by Barry Oshry

Flawless Consulting by Peter Block

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter Senge et al)

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