What Kind Of Team Are You?

By Tiffany Chepul

dateSun, Jan 17, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

As Rhythm teams embark on the journey of building a High Performance Team, a logical first step is to iStock_000068561271_Medium_1.jpgidentify your starting point. Where do you and your team fall on the spectrum as of today?

To figure it out, consider the framework of Stephen Covey’s Maturity Continuum from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Also, think about how your team employs Rhythm’s Think Plan Do methodology.

Read these descriptions and try to identify your team:

Dependent Team 

A Dependent Team needs other people to get what they want. They are highly dependent on their manager for direction and training. Unfortunately, this team is usually micromanaged and might even be fearful and mistrusting of each other and their manager. People on these teams are frustrated and might even say things like “My job stinks” or “It’s a paycheck.” A Dependent Team might be this way because of the manager, or because the people on the team aren’t owning their own career paths.

Dependent Teams likely struggle with Plan and Do habits in Rhythm. They may not have a Quarterly Planning session or the manager might just assign priorities to everyone. Their Weekly Meetings either don’t happen or are just the manager having weekly one-on-ones. Weekly discussions center mostly around status and not around adjustments or solutions. Sometimes, people are scared to status Yellow or Red on anything. They also are not connected to the Company's strategic foundation. They might struggle to tell you the company's Core Values, Core Purpose, BHAG, etc.

Team of Independent A Players

Teams of Independent A Players can usually get what they want through their own effort. Team members are strong and get results. People generally like to work with A Players. They can achieve great individual success, but there is rarely a "team" win. The language they use is more like "I'm great" and "Look what I did." Sometimes they even can go so far as to hope for the downfall of others - as long as they are performing well (or better than everyone else) on their own, they're happy.

These teams usually have some strong Plan and Do habits, but don't quite get it over the goal line. They are probably having a quarterly planning session and weekly meetings. However, priorities might not be aligned to represent a coordinated effort. How KPIs are measured might not be standardized either - everyone might be out to make themselves look the best. There might be some gaming of the system going on because of competition. They also probably aren't looking at each other's priorities, commenting and collaborating or helping each other with stucks. They are probably aware of the company's strategic foundation, but might not be living it, or understanding how their priorities support the long-term strategy.

Interdependent A Team

An Interdependent A Team has moved beyond being a Team of Independent A Players. Team members have come to the realization that in order to achieve greater results, they need to move past what they can do alone. Their language has changed from "I" to "we" and they are saying things like "We can do it!" and "Look what we did!" They are truly combining their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve greater success.

Plan and Do habits are strong with these teams. Planning sessions are collaborative and everyone is working toward a common goal. Company/Group priorities have strong buy-in and everyone understands their role in supporting them. KPIs are standardized and they face the brutal facts together. Everyone is comfortable statusing Yellow/Red because they know it will prompt good discussion at their weekly meeting. They look at each other's priorities and comments between weekly meetings and help each other get unstuck. They are more connected to the strategic foundation of the company, and they understand their team's role in achieving the long-term strategy. A possible pitfall, however, is that this team could be operating in a silo, separate from the rest of the organization.

Company of Interdependent A Teams

A Company of Interdependent A Teams is the pinnacle of high performance teams development! This is the culmination of all the Interdependent A Teams working together. No team tries to outshine each other. They lift each other up, support each other and realize they can do more together

They have strong Think, Plan and Do rhythms. Planning is happening at the Company level and with all the Groups. After planning is complete, the teams are getting back together to share plans across departments. They are resolving conflicts for resources and having healthy discussions around each group's plan before execution begins. They look at comments on other team's dashboards regularly and offer help.  

A Company of Interdependent Teams is deeply connected to the strategic foundation. Everyone can tell you Core Values, Purpose, BHAG, etc. off the top of their head. People from different departments are working together on Think Rhythms. For example, a Think Rhythm to work on your Brand Promise might include someone from Sales, Delivery, Customer Advocacy, Marketing, Finance and the Exec Team.


So, did you see your team described somewhere above? The first step is admitting it - the second is to take action! Discuss with your team what you can do to take the next step toward becoming a Company of Interdependent A Teams.

Download Free Middle-Market
CEO Playbook for Success

Photo Credit: iStock Photo by Getty Images 

Tiffany Chepul


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images