Accelerated Team Formation
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WHAT IS ACCELERATED TEAM FORMATION?

Rationale

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Teams go through predictable stages of development:
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Forming (characterized by): orientation, testing dependency

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Storming: organizing to get work done, intra-group conflict

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Norming: information flow, group cohesion

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Performing: problem solving, interdependence

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Accelerating the team formation process enables the team to achieve better results (by getting to “performing”) faster.

Potential Applications

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Forming a merger-integration team

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Multi-site development projects

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Virtual teams

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Action-learning teams formed to accomplish a specific task quickly (e.g., assess the feasibility of building a plant in China, salvage a damaged but key customer relationship and prevent it from ever happening again)

Residual Benefits

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Develop tools / processes for facilitating team formation that are customizable and replicable

 GOALS OF TEAM FORMATION 
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Build trust

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Establish a sense of identity / group cohesion

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Establish shared norms for how the team will function

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Clarify roles and responsibilities

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Enhance “team literacy” skills for:
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communicating (mental models)

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problem solving (systems thinking)

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organizing (team maintenance roles)

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learning (improving their own effectiveness)

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Make team dynamics explicit so team members can manage them themselves

bulletCreate a shared vision
SUCCESS FACTORS FOR ACCELERATING TEAM FORMATION 
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Front-end analysis (to customize the process), determining
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Team purpose (product development, marketing, etc.)

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Team type (work group, project team, etc.)

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Team duration (permanent or ad hoc)

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Team membership
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Relative newness of members to each other

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Homogeneity/heterogeneity (of ethnicity, function, level)

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Status differentials (‘second class’ perception, in-group / out- group; ‘us’ vs. ‘them’; “we acquired them”; etc.)

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Other success factors
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Buy-in to the process by both team leader and members

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Integrated with real work; perceived as relevant
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Topics discussed are selected by and important to the team

bulletAccountability for learning over an extended time

 THE TEAM FORMATION PROCESS 
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Intensive team building (3-5 days) focused on:
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encouraging participation & high energy / enthusiasm

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acquiring team learning skills (mental models, communication / dialogue, systems thinking)

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inspiring personal mastery (courage, honesty, etc.)

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building shared vision

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Heavy initial facilitation, but …
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ever-increasing the team members’ responsibility for their own learning and leadership

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Periodic follow-up sessions
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E.g., 4 to 6 half day sessions, spaced over 2 months

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To reinforce team learnings, build new skills

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Initial commitment is to the entire process

 OTHER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 

Each design is customized to needs of each particular team. and may include:

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Use of simulations

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Use of self-score instruments, followed by discussion

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Low-rope team-building elements

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This page last modified on 04/12/10