I had the opportunity to take part in a session of teamwork training this week, which is always a joy. The trainer led us through a model used by effective teams to implement core values into their daily practices. The model is called B.A.S.K., which is short for Behavior, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge.
The first step in the BASK model is for team members to identify core values or principles, which allows for common expectations and shared understandings among team members. The second step is to link the core values to specific behaviors, attitudes, skills and knowledge needed to make the value part of the team culture.
It is not enough to simply name a core value, because each team member may have a different idea about what the value means.
Consider a team with a core value of timeliness. One team member may think of timeliness as completing their individual tasks on time. Another team member may focus on delivering final products to clients within a specified time-frame. These different conceptualizations of timeliness would result in different expectations among team members.
Even a common definition of a value is not enough, because definitions do not guide the team’s daily activities and interactions.
For example, let’s assume the team discussed above shares a common understanding of timeliness to mean delivery of final products to clients within a specified time-frame. Still, some team members might focus on accomplishing a steady stream of results throughout the project period, while others may rely on “crunch time” productivity just before the final deadline.
To arrive at a truly shared value, teams can use the BASK model to agree upon expected actions. For the timeliness example, a team might articulate the following:
Behaviors – The actions needed by team members to support the value.
- Example: Team members will make steady progress to meet timeliness benchmarks throughout the project period. Team members will immediately identify delays or slipped deadlines so that solutions can be derived to catch-up delinquent tasks.
Attitudes – How team members think and talk about the value.
- Example: During meetings, team members will report about the timeliness of all project tasks, in addition to quality and other factors. Team members will always calculate and consider the affect of new decisions on the timeliness of the project; members will look for ways to assist/support others who are having trouble.
Skills – What tools and abilities team members need to support the value.
- Example: Through training and experience, teams will become proficient at scheduling and estimating the time it takes to complete project tasks. Unless there is an overwhelming need for particular development, team members will engage in tasks for which their skill set is most suited.
Knowledge – What teams need to know, understand, or learn to support the value.
- Example: Team members will identify all tasks that must be accomplished to complete the project on time. Team members will obtain information about needed resources, tools and procedures needed to complete all aspects of project.
When teams associate a particular value with a set of behaviors, attitudes, and skills, and when team members obtain the knowledge needed to carry out those behaviors, attitudes, and skills, the underlying value can take on real meaning to drive team performance. The BASK process allows team members to gain an understanding of their individual and shared perceptions about their core values, and to iron out differences in advance of the pressures of project activities and deadlines.