Here are exerpts from a letter I wrote today to a client regarding team development. After I wrote it I thought this is worth keeping and sharing. So here we go….

Thoughts keep coming to my mind about recommendations for team development activities. So let me share a few.

First recommendation: determine the purpose and process – why are we doing this, why are we doing it now and what’s the best process to use.

  1. Option one- An exercise just to have the team know a little bit more about each other. This works for either a team that is established, functioning well, roles are clear and their work processes are well defined. This is where something like the MBTI or LIFO works well.
  2. Option two – a development process that includes some kind of simple team self diagnosis either in the meeting itself or beforehand. If it is beforehand the diagnosis can be either a simple team functioning questionnaire such as I sent you earlier or interviews conducted by the facilitator. In either case the results are shared with the leader beforehand and with the team in the meeting. In this case the MBTI or LIFO are used as a part of the workshop but are not the primary focus. Often this kind of intervention leads to further discussions in the team about team functioning. Examples include communication or meeting process, new or better definition of role responsibilities etc.
  3. Option three – a hybrid of the two which can take many forms.
  4. Option four – similar to option one – a training intervention where some expert in some methodology (e.g. communication skills, meeting design etc) delivers that skill only.

Second recommendation: involve the leader in determining of purpose, choosing the facilitator, the methodology and designing the workshop. Too often team development doesn’t  go as well as it could because the leader hasn’t had inputs to these decisions. Sometimes the choices, made by the HR director or someone else on the team, are the right choices but not owned by the leader. The process needs to be seen as owned and directed by him even though much of the setup can be done by you and the facilitator.  Regarding choosing the facilitator, there are two criteria – competence and chemistry. You can search and find many facilitators that are competent but you and he need to evaluate the chemistry decision. The only way I know to do that is to have you, the facilitator and leader meet.