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Team Growth

Teams thrive when in balance. Between supporting and challenging each other.  Between working together and relying on each individual member to deliver.  Between personal aspirations and the collective agenda. Between the now and here, and the longer term future.

As dedicated team coach and facilitator we help teams increase their success as a group.  Matching the teams’ business agenda with opportunities for improved interaction and decision making. Understanding the balance between “being too nice” and “being too combative”. Building trust by bringing in the personal, because who we are in essence determines who we are at work.

We take a systemic approach to uncover patterns and aligning on the position and role – current and desired – of the team and its members. We work on team trust, creativity, efficiency and effectiveness.

To give you a taste of what we do look at the cases we describe in our services.

We believe team growth is about fostering the collective strengths that increase performance.

Working together as a team is hard. Miscommunication, different priorities, misaligned interests, varying personalities, stressful working conditions and changed expectations are the some reasons for teams to not perform at their best. If your team is experiencing similar challenges, it’s time for a team tune-up.

We will use an array of interventions during several ‘off-sites’ to align the team members around a common goal and working style. We typically combine the ‘hard’ and the ‘soft’ stuff in a series of dedicated sessions, addressing e.g., concrete issues on vision and decision making while simultaneously looking at the impact of team culture on daily behavior.

Get in touch if you are interested in improving your team performance. 

Case example:

“The culture we had as a team was to keep each other on our toes by being uber critical towards each other. It may have served us initially, but in the end it we found ourselves working very individualistically and not growing to what I personally had hoped for. Even worse, it created a sense of competition in a hostile, perhaps even toxic environment. We had to break the cycle. A painful process, but much needed and one that helped us become a best-performing team within our organization. Having Spark help create that safe environment to collectively ‘reset’ was instrumental.”

We believe team growth is about having a collective strategy to drive performance.

Teams constantly need to adapt to the organizational strategy. This is the step where strategy generally fails, as it requires the utmost of team members. They need to let go of known patterns and working approaches and are required to embrace a new reality. Sometimes team members resist and managers/leaders are torn between the organization’s demands and loyalty to the own team.

We will work with you to spark energy for the new strategy. Defining how the new strategy changes what is asked of the team, of team members’ interactions and of their leadership. And then diving into existing strengths and drivers  to embrace the change, and addressing limiting beliefs as well as blocking behavioral patterns.

Get in touch if you are interested in developing your team strategy.

Case example:

“One of our clients faced the challenge of uniting six, previously semi-independent business units around a collective strategy. We started by exploring individuals’ intrinsic drivers to achieve the strategy. Based on that positive groundwork we then became explicit about what would change – exploring the polarity of autonomy vs collaboration. In the end the team had a clearer view of where and how collaboration would benefit all, and where autonomy (and individual entrepreneurship)  was still an intrinsic part of the new business model.”

We believe team growth is about making sure that a new team gets off to a great start.

Once you have worked in a high-performing team, you have experienced how you were able to perform beyond what you thought you were capable of. More importantly, you will have experienced how rewarding and meaningful it feels to be part of a high-performing team.

We know that trust and open communication is at the heart of great performance.  We will work with you and your team to nurture a safe environment that allows trust to grow which in turn strengthens diversity of thought: 2 key elements of great performance.

Get in touch if you are interested in getting off to a good start with your new team.

Case example:

“I knew that setting this team up in a way that would allow us to quickly become successful was going to be hard. The target we had been given was challenging, the scrutiny high and the team members came from different backgrounds and had diverse levels of motivation to move fast. Kicking off with a ‘Team Launch Session’  helped immensely to remove the hidden obstacles, address the hidden agenda’s and to create alignment about what we collectively wanted to achieve.”

We believe team growth is about sharing the same story consistently and continuously.

We draw our own stories from the strategy that is shared. Unfortunately the picture in the mind of one team member is often very different from that of another team member. We end of working on different things, simply because we never developed a collective change story.

Using a dialogue-based approach we will help you collectively shape your change story. We will make sure that at each level in the organization the relevant activities following from the strategy are known and carried forward.

Get in touch if you are interested in getting to a great collective story.

Case example:

“We had to change our ways: we knew that our funding was going to be cut drastically and that new technology was making parts of our activities obsolete. We were in a pretty bad place and more so because we knew that willingness to change was minimal. With a cascaded dialogue-based change story initiative we managed to quickly get people to embrace the reality rather than fight it. Through the shared story we collectively became owner of our challenge, not just senior management. It helped completely shift the mindset to all of our employees becoming pro-active problem solvers.”

We believe team growth can be accelerated when team members share an experience that goes beyond the cognitive approach.

We are taught to problem solve as the only way to decide on how to move forward. This is just one way and sometimes not the most effective one. When teams get ‘stuck’, unconscious behavioral patterns are often hindering progress. With those being unconscious, a cognitive approach does not help.

In a team constellation you will be guided by questions to move within a team setting, uncovering unseen patterns and creating an understanding of the themes that have been hindering progress. Once those have been uncovered, that’s when problem solving again becomes effective.

Get in touch if you are interested in organizing a team constellation.

Case example:

A picture says more than 1000 words. In one client team where there were several undercurrent tensions we ask team members to ‘plot’ the team members on a self-drawn map. Sharing these ‘maps’ or ‘constellations’ made it easier to subsequently have the discussion about sub-teams within the team, about colleagues who seemed to operate under the radar, and about how the team leader was side tracked by a focus on content which left the team feeling leaderless.”