2988E304-C750-0D77-E186-CE0FBEB917EE Improve_Teamwork -1 0|0|0|0

A great team does not just happen, it must be built painstakingly with hard work.

This template contains a few subgoals to reach in your quest to improve the cohesion and power of your team. These are based on the book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni.

You will probably want to adjust the importances of the different subgoals according to your specific circumstances. Using Goalscape to discuss priorities with your team is an excellent way to start the whole process.

If you want to read the book to learn more you can find it here.


Use Goalscape to define and communicate organizational and team goals. Ensure complete understanding and genuine alignment with each member's personal goals.


Brainstorming session with the leadership team according to a well-defined process (possibly moderated by outside experts).

Refine and prioritize your goals: express them in inspirational terms.


Communicate the high-level goals throughout the organization. Use them as the basis for defining specific subgoals for different areas.

Involving team leaders and workers in such discussions is the essential first step to achieving "buy-in" and maximizing the motivational power of goals. Divisions, departments, teams and individuals can use Goalscape to:

  • Set, agree and visualize their own goals
  • Understand how each contributes to the higher-level goals
  • Set importances and identify priorities
  • Make specific plans (including timescales, costs, responsibilities, dependencies, metrics and milestones)
  • Record, track and report progress
  • Identify obstacles and adapt plans accordingly
  • Use a logical, goal-focused approach to team and individual reviews
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    Trust depends on:

  • Organizational personality
  • Goal alignment
  • History
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    The underlying belief system, style and behavior of the organization, based on the personalities of the founders, current CEO and leadership team.

    An organization's vision and goals must truly reflect its personality.

    Organizational personality may be defined by marketing (brand image), HR (processes for recruiting and caring for staff) or management styles. Remember though that it is under constant review by staff and customers according to their personal experiences, peer group opinions and press reports.


    Ensure genuine alignment for organizational, team and individual goals.

    To establish and maintain full mutual trust and respect, the way you set and communicate your goals is almost as important as their content.


    The ability to inspire trust is based on the organization's past actions, reputation or image; and on the past behavior of its leaders. It also depends on each employee's previous experience in this and other roles - and in life in general.

    An individual's personality and attitude are at least partly the products of that person's past experiences.

    A good personality fit is vital in building a strong, tight-knit team - so ignore these factors at your peril!


    Conflict is not always a negative factor. A team full of yes-men will never achieve as much as one that welcomes contrary opinions and is prepared to consider alternative solutions.

    When people are certain they share the same goals they are unafraid to argue about how to achieve those goals.


    There may be many potentially viable ways to achieve a goal.

    When deciding between alternative paths it is essential to start with strictly logical criteria for evaluating and comparing them. These include timescales and know-how required, return on investment, net contribution to higher level goals and likelihood of success.

    In the planning stages, any and every idea should be considered, so people must feel free to contribute without fear of ridicule or other negative reaction. The same applies to any problem-solving required to adapt plans according to changes in circumstances.


    We are all human and we all have our emotional strengths and weaknesses. While team and two-way discussions should always be logical and reasonable, there might also be times when they become rather more heated.

    A certain emotional component may even be welcome since it demonstrates people's passion and heartfelt commitment to the cause. A 'frank exchange of views' or even a brief outburst may also clear the air if people have been burying their dissatisfaction, frustration or resentment.

    Of course such confrontations must never become out of control (a ban on swearing is a good start!); and ideally they should take place in private.


    Shared goals are the best way to engage real intellectual and emotional commitment.

    People's commitment can be enhanced or damaged according to the nature, tone and outcome of their interactions with management and peers.


    Goalscape is the best way to define and share goals and plans, inspire commitment to the shared cause, a positive outlook and a buoyant team spirit.

    Sharing ideas in such an atmosphere builds genuine buy-in from all participants and supports immediate bonding and commitment (both to the goal and to each other).


    A visual goal structure and clear progress tracking maintains focus in review meetings, allowing full participation from all present.

    Highlight the goals where you have made progress. Recognize key milestones and significant achievements as a team - maybe with an agreed reward like a team day out. Always make a fuss about exceptional efforts by individuals.

    Do not avoid confrontations about shortfalls or missed deadlines though. Try to resolve disagreements in the same meeting (especially if they become heated) and end on a positive note by agreeing the best way forward.

    This approach ensures continuing bonding, commitment and motivation.


    There are two factors in successfully fostering accountability: clear goal definitions and willing acceptance of responsibility.


    Every goal must have a clear definition of the goal state, covering specific deliverables and metrics, due dates and budget.


    Most goals will have a single person responsible for them. If it the goal has subgoals, they may be delegated to other team members (or outsourced); nevertheless the person responsible for the parent still has overall responsibility for achieving the subgoals.

    Where two or more people are responsible for a single goal, they must agree on who takes the lead responsibility.

    Wherever possible, allow people to choose the goals for which they bear the primary responsibility. Always agree the relevant targets, metrics and milestones with them.

    Sometimes you may need to assign goals to individuals who are unwilling to accept them. When you do so, use the goal structure to show the context for the work and how it contributes to achieving the agreed higher level goals. You should also explain why you chose that person to do it. Ensuring their full understanding here is the only way to achieve anything more than grudging agreement.


    It is essential to agree specific targets and due dates for every goal and to decide how to measure progress along the way. This is relatively easy where you have numerical targets; in other areas you may have to rely on your own subjective judgment or that of others.

    Wherever possible, define some key milestones along the way - and set due dates for them.

    Focusing on results (rather than effort, attitude, etc) ties your project to the real world. It forces you to make decisions (some of which may be very difficult) and provides the information you need to make those decisions.

    The better you understand your goals and the more accurately you establish where you are right now, the better decisions you will make about what you need to do next.


    Recognition and praise from leaders and peers is the most effective and immediate reinforcement.

    Explicit positive feedback works on a rational level ("my work is recognized") and on an emotional level ("these people like me and value my contribution"). This is more valuable than any monetary bonus or other material reward (in the short term at least!).

    So celebrate your successes as a team, while ensuring that you also recognize significant achievements by individuals.

    This enhances team spirit and morale, as well as reinforcing personal commitment and motivation for all team members.


    We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.

    When you are faced with underperformance during a project you must establish the reasons for it rather than playing the blame game. The problem may be one that you can solve by reallocating resources; or it might require some imagination to find an alternative path.

    Either way, it is vital that everybody knows that they can tell you when they are having problems without fear of censure. Then they are more likely to report potential slippages early (when there might still be a chance to address them), rather than desperately working to find a fix on their own. You must create an atmosphere where everyone (including you) is comfortable asking for help when they need it - and, equally, is prepared to help others in an emergency.

    In the worst case scenario a project ends in complete failure without delivering anything of value. To salvage anything positive from such a debacle you need to adopt a cold, logical approach. Analyze the reasons for the failure and think of ways to avoid or address similar problems in the future. Think too about the reasons you decided to undertake it in the first place.

    Look at your own performance as well as that of other team members. Did you lack a crucial talent or skill? With the personal and team resources available, what could you have done differently (and what might have been the outcome)? Think of ways to address your personal shortcomings: training, coaching, mentoring - or maybe just reading some good books. Add these as subgoals to your own personal development plan.

    Ask the other team members to do the same on their own, then hold a (compulsory) final team debrief to discuss everyone's suggestions. Capture all the good ideas in Goalscape: go over the whole structure later to update it with potential solutions. You can then adapt your updated model for future similar projects.

    Try to make sure everyone parts on good terms with each other, regardless of any personal animosity between team members (including you). You may even want to go out afterward in a mock 'wake' for the dead project!