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Building effective teams

One of the many models of team development is that of Bruce Tuckman and the original stages of his model: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, are widely recognised. A key element of a team’s development occurs during the Norming stage when ‘an acceptance of common values and behaviours develops, with open communication that promotes constructive review and suggestions for alternatives.’

The discipline of project delivery is served by many standards and guides that generally contain the same basic good practice in different wrappers. But all these standards and guides make one big assumption – that everyone will internalise and then apply good practice in the same way. This is patently not the case. We are all different and have our own combination of personality traits that lead to us interpret and apply good practices in different ways. These same personality differences lead us to perceive the health of a project or programme in different ways as well.

So how can we develop an acceptance of common values and behaviours? Initially, we should change the word ‘common’ to ‘shared’ and then recognise that team models such as Belbin’s highlight the fact that high performing teams are made up of people with diverse behavioural preferences.

Praxis provides two tools that help to achieve these shared values and behaviours that result in a high performing team.

Firstly, there is Team Praxis. This is a series of pages that supplement the core Praxis Framework by explaining how people with different behavioural preferences tend to internalise and apply good practice in many ways, including what they do, how they do it and when they do it.

This approach uses the DISC theory developed by William Moulton Marston which is now one of the most commonly used approaches to behavioural profiling.

Secondly, there is the Praxis 360o tool that enables managers, sponsors, team members and stakeholders to capture their perception of the project or programme’s health. The resulting consolidation of views acts as a catalyst for the wider project or programme team to discuss their different perspectives. In combination with Team Praxis a deeper appreciation can be obtained leading to improved team understanding and performance.

Going back to the Tuckman statement, this approach is specifically concerned with the ‘open communication that promotes constructive review and suggestions for alternatives.’

Together, these two tools comprise the Team Path, which is one of the three paths that make up the Praxis Pathway (the others are the Individual Path and the Organisation Path).

Within the path, Team Praxis focuses on developing an acceptance and understanding of shared values and behaviours, and Praxis 360o facilitates the open communication and constructive review of how a project or programme is being managed. Together, these help a team’s journey through the norming stage and on to the performing stage of Tuckman’s model.

 

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Building effective teams

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