People are the key to high-performance in any organisation. And nowadays – with the need to be flexible and agile – this especially means getting people to work well together in teams and, equally, ensuring that all managers have strong strategic, not just tactical, skills, to get the right results from people.
Systemic team development for high performance
A team is more than just a group. A team is a set of individuals who are not only working together for a common purpose but who see themselves as strongly interdependent and are committed to each other.
Few teams function as well as they could. Common causes of weak teams include, for example: the aims or powers of the team are not clear; the team does not have the right balance of skills, ways of thinking or personalities; responsibilities between team members are not well defined; relationships between members have not been developed; or perhaps incentives are not aligned suitably to promote team performance.
Research indicates that it is the ‘structural’ elements of a team that are usually most key – who its members should be, the team’s goals, roles, tasks, and ways of working. But to make a team really shine, it’s critical also to address a team’s ‘softer’ elements, including the relationships, trust, and openness felt between team members.
Owen Morris help managers to establish new teams or to develop or improve existing teams. Our approach typically involves a combination of initial assessment/profiling of the condition of the group as a whole, profiling the views and characteristics of each individual group member, and then working with the team together to review issues identified and shape ways to improve performance. We can also provide individual coaching support for individual team members and help bed-in change by joining follow-up meetings of the team over a subsequent period. We make good use, where helpful, of several available psychometric profile tools e.g. Belbin, Myers-Briggs, and DISC.
In all the work we do with clients we emphasize a distinctively ‘systemic’ perspective to the team situation. By this we mean we look at the different ‘levels’ of influence on a group: each individual, relationships between team members, interfaces of the group with related stakeholders, and also the wider organisational context. No team operates in a vacuum, so this more holistic perspective enables more complete team development solutions.
Strategic thinking coaching
A high-performing organisation needs its managers to have the ability to think strategically – which means being able to see situations and issues from a broad and longer-term perspective. It involves seeing the ‘big picture’ facing their organisation and using this to guide their day-to-day decisions.
Good strategic thinking is a wide-ranging skill. A core skill needed often is to adopt a systematic approach for considering an issue (for example, clear definition of the problem, development of different options). Another area of skill is the ability to use a range of different thinking styles – applying normally forms of ‘divergent thinking’, not just ‘convergent thinking’ techniques. And just as important is the ability to limit the influence of potential human cognitive biases that can easily distort a person’s approach to an issue (examples of major biases are confirmation bias, anchor bias, groupthink, and association bias).
Alongside these core areas of skill, good strategic thinkers have a range of associated ‘micro skills’ or personal traits they have developed. These include, for example, a sense of curiosity, an ability to deal with ambiguity, a positive outlook, flexibility and a readiness to be daring or bold.
We offer a range of coaching approaches and programmes to help your managers boost their vital strategic skills. We typically work with executives individually using a personalised programme over 3-6 months, but equally we can arrange programmes for small groups (of managers, supervisors or other staff). All assignments are tailored to each client, based on clearly agreed learning and achievement-level goals for each individual.
So, if you are looking to turn your staff into high-performers, contact Owen Morris today!