Professor Anneloes Raes (Assistant Professor of Managing People in Organisations, IESE business school)

Anneloes opened by sharing her experiences of observing a board in operation, one who seemed to be doing all the right things (and made time for strategic discussions, had a team coach, went on retreats) but still struggled with implementing decisions and making a real impact on their organisation. The nature of management teams is that they aren’t just focused on the team itself, but they are part of the business with multiple relationships in many directions.

Management team effectiveness comprises:

  • The degree to which the team decisions enhance the unit’s performance
  • The commitment to implement team decisions and work together
  • the extent to which the team processes meet individual needs (both current & future)

Anneloes shared a quote which is not untypical –

“Team? How do you define a team? When I think of a team, I think of interaction, give and take and shared purpose. Here, we’re a collection of strong players but hardly a team. I wouldn’t say we work at cross-purposes but a lot of self-centred behaviour occurs.”

How can we measure ‘teamness’?

  • 1 – Collaborative behaviour:
    • Team members help each other out when busy
    • Team members are flexible about responsibilities to help each other
    • Team members help each other to get the job done
  • 2 – Information exchange:
    • Quantity of ideas
    • Quality of solutions
    • Level of creativity and innovation
  • 3 – Joint decision making:
    • Team members let each know when actions likely to affect each other
    • Clear understanding of joint problems/other team members’ needs
    • Expectations of each other are discussed

A study in Germany explored differing kinds of teams, classifying them as one of four types of teams (along with data on how common these types of teams are):

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There are clear financial benefits in having an effective top team, but what impact to top teams have on people in the organisations? Real teams consistently outperform fragmented / fight club / tough guts on perceived team unity, effective leadership, and innovation. Both internal and external factors contribute to team effectiveness:

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(This was live-blogged during a session at the European HR Directors Business Summit 2015 in Barcelona – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)