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Teams are losing effectiveness. Here’s how to make your teams more effective.

With employees spending more time involved in collaborative activities than ever before, are they bringing the right level of mental and emotional investment to the group to maximize effectiveness?

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Posted On May 16, 2023 

Recent research found that the average number of meetings that an employee attends has increased by 150% since March 2020 and employees are spending more time involved in collaborative activities.


The impact of more collaboration (i.e. teams) is that employees struggle to bring the right level of mental and emotional investment to each team, resulting in less productivity, especially if goals and expectations are unclear.


It can take a great deal of investment for organizations to build effective teams. To allocate spend, time and resources wisely, it is necessary to first establish if a team should be created to achieve an outcome or if the same outcome can be achieved more efficiently and cost effectively by a work group.


It is also important that employees know if they are part of a team or working individually. If a work group is referred to as a team but does not function as a team, it can be alienating for all involved and result in reduced satisfaction and performance.


If a team is necessary, it’s important to set a clear direction and agree on shared goals and outcomes. This will help members feel a sense of belonging and buy-in, which strengthens the team’s purpose and dynamic and builds effectiveness.


What is the difference between a team and working group?


Teams are interdependent and united by a shared purpose. Members know who the other members are and achieve common goals together. By contrast, work groups comprise a set of individuals who are more loosely associated and don’t rely on each other to complete a project or achieve an outcome.


A ‘pre-contract’ helps identify if a group of people are a team or a work group and which is best to complete a project or initiative. This is important because some projects or initiatives will be delivered more efficiently by a work group, others by a team. Furthermore, if a work group is referred to as a team but does not function as a team, it can be alienating for all involved and result in reduced satisfaction and performance.


High-performing teams are necessary to improve business impact in the long term, and research shows the first step to building a high-performing team is to formally establish it as a team through a pre-contract.


4 action points to set up an effective pre-contract team


Once the team has established it is a team, it can continue to contract purposefully together and define the framework within which the team will operate. It is also easier to find a solution for how to develop team effectiveness and maximize your return on investment.


In an effective team, every member understands and supports the team’s processes, goals, actions and decisions. If goals are not met, every member feels committed to achieving a better outcome in the future.


Your organization can build an effective pre-contract team by taking these four steps:


  • Conduct interviews with the team’s leader/s and members to identify needs, themes, challenges and areas of focus
    Use these insights to decide what interventions, such as skills training or greater leadership alignment, must occur to help the team learn how to work together and become effective.
  • Use diagnostic assessments and surveys to track and monitor the collective sense of belonging and purpose and how this impacts team agility
    Targeted working sessions can support the team to strengthen belonging and purpose and individual capabilities in the flow of daily work.
  • Use team coaching to identify skills gaps based on goals
    Leadership coaching can support leaders to unlock skills and build an environment where trust, psychological safety and harmonious relationship dynamics can flourish. This will facilitate sustained high performance.
  • Encourage the team to create their own team habits, norms and processes to drive their performance
    Repeat the diagnostics over an agreed period to identify the change and impact on the organization.


Team Effectiveness solution


LHH’s Team Effectiveness solution is a tailored solution to help employers build more cohesive teams, with employees feeling part of a group and working towards shared goals.


Through a series of individual and group interventions, this program will act on the priorities of the team, creating a framework to adopt new team habits over a period of time, that will enhance their overall performance on their journey to greater team success.


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