Diagnosing teams to improve performance

I have devoted much of my recent attention to the launching of the online content network, the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network. I offer my first post on JJLN today, October 11. Please check it out!

Through the process, I am learning many lessons about teamwork, which I will post about here on the Stronger Teams Blog from time to time. Today’s post on JJLN examines how teams can envision themselves in terms of a human body. Don’t laugh, the analogy is useful! 🙂 Operation_1

Have you ever played the game OPERATION? You know, the game where you play as a surgeon trying to remove various parts of the body from a laid-out patient using a pair of tweezers. To win the game, OPERATION requires players to take very purposeful actions. However, the best part of the game is the fun and passion generated among the players when a hand slips causing the red nose to light up and emit a loud BUZZZZZ!

I bring up the game of OPERATION to illustrate another point about the Ho’ohana Community. The community, like other teams and groups, can be likened to the human body, with various body parts that all need purposeful, passionate attention.

At a recent training I attended, we discussed how thinking of a team in terms of the human body allows team members to conduct a Body Diagnosis. Like a medical doctor performing an annual examination, the team can diagnosis both its strengths and areas that need attention.

Go ahead, give it a try. Answer each of the following questions regarding your team. (Once you get the idea, add or revise questions to customize them to your team.)

Eyes – What is your team’s vision? What do you see as strengths and weaknesses? How do you see making improvements over time?

Ears – How well does your team listen to each member? What might block your ability to hear? What tools and strategies can help you to listen and hear better?

Voice – How well do your spoken messages align with your vision? What methods or tools of communication could help your team be more effective?

Hands – How well do your actions demonstrate your commitments? What actions keep the team functioning? How can your team help each other achieve your goals?

Feet – Where have the team members come from? Where is the team going? Who are the movers on the team? What actions or structures can motivate the team to a higher level?

Brain – How does the team think through decisions and actions? What are some decisions that the team should think through together and what decisions should individual members make on their own?

Heart – What is at the heart of the team? How does the team demonstrate caring for one another? How does the team celebrate its achievements?

Head – Who are the leaders of the team? What are strategies that the team can use to support having everyone act as a leader?

What did you find? Are all the body parts in sync, or could some realignment help?

The key for any team is to get all their body parts working together. A team can perform most effectively when operating like a healthy, coordinated body; when…

  • the eyes see the vision
  • the ears listen to the team members
  • the team speaks a common language
  • the hands take appropriate actions
  • the feet move toward the mission
  • the brains think strategically
  • the heart feels the connections
  • the head leads the way.

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One Response to Diagnosing teams to improve performance

  1. Kent Schnaith says:

    Another useful tool in diagnosing teams is McCarthy’s maxim: Team = Product. The first time I saw this was in Jim McCarthy’s book, “Dynamics of Software Development”. Team = Product, means that the product can’t have any qualities that aren’t already in the team. The product is a reflection of the team. If the product has a weakness, it’s because the team has a weakness. And vice versa. It get’s more interesting when you consider that the product of a management team is a development team. There’s a lot more about this at http://www.mccarthyshow.com/.

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