• Ruddy Vinck / Belbin UK

Basic steps in team building

The merits of a team should never be assessed without first considering its purpose.

A team is not a group of people who occupy the same physical space, or department.

A team is made up of people who have been chosen for what they can contribute, and who are allowed to contribute freely. Each team member needs a voice that is heard.

There needs to be trust and a culture of respect. And a team needs to be small in size.

But above all, it needs an objective.

There is little point in attempting to build a team or rate an existing team’s performance unless it is needed to perform a worthwhile task.

A worthwhile task is crucial.

Today's workforce demand that the work they undertake has meaning; it resonates with their sense of worth, and is of interest.

But what exactly is it that is worth doing? Questions are the real starting points. This one sounds simple enough. But it is easier to pose than to answer, and vast sums of money can be wasted by starting with the wrong premise.

Back in the 1980s, the inquiry into the siting of London’s third airport cost over a billion pounds and took an inordinate amount of time. The Commission recommended Foulness, the marshland at the eastern end of Essex. The final site chosen was Stansted. It is said the Commission had been given the wrong terms of reference.

There are many other examples that we could cite, and one only wonders what the final cost of Brexit may be…

So, in starting a new venture, nothing should be presumed. Setting the goal is an art in itself, and is something that shouldn't be the responsibility of one person.

It is something that Shapers, Monitor Evaluators, and Co-ordinators working in conjunction are particularly good at.

They may take their time (to the frustration of the Shaper) but once the goal is set, team building can begin.

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