For an organisations stakeholders remote work and virtual teamwork, frequently involves new work and a new team(s). The fundamental principles of Team Development and Effectiveness remain the same, however even with the same Team Charter and Team members there are subtle changes that unrecognised and unsupported will lead to a degradation in team effectiveness. There are three core Dynamics (Forces) at play for any Team.
• Organisation Performance (Value Chain) o How effective is the organisation in engaging and enabling teams achieve high performance contribution to the organisations value creation?
• Team Performance (Process) o How effective is the team (are teams) in organising and working which delivers high performance for their team function/role?
• Individual Performance (Practices) o How well do individuals achieve their potential working within a team that delivers high performance?
In general, we understand some of the change challenges when an organisation moves to (more) remote working and virtual teams:
• Proximity factors: Informal interaction, Social Interaction, Environmental influences
• Communications factors: Body Language, increased asynchronous communications, visibility, feedback & direction
• Relationship factors: Connections: Individual-Organisation-Team. Recognition
• Governance & Policy Factors: Relevance & Compliance
• Personal factors: Discipline, Distractions, Facilities & Infrastructure
Technology has evolved and continues to evolve to overcome many of these challenges, coupled with training and support its often assumed that everything will be fine. However, this is a change for people, and the organisation system, and in the current context (Covid 19) it is likely to have been an unplanned and rapid change, in many cases with suspension of some of the norms of change management.
There are a great many tools and techniques out there for Team & Team Member development such as Tuckman’s; Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Belbin Model and others but they are most effective when facilitated by a qualified professional in a face to face physical scenario ideally before the change rather than after the change.
That said the Team Maturity Index (TMI) a reference model from the Organisation Capability Maturity Framework, and is underpinned by Dynamic Systems Maturity Theory. It is a practical and efficient approach to addressing the three core Dynamics for Virtual team Stakeholders: ‘Organisation’, ‘Team’ & ‘Team Members’.
This Next Generation Team Capability Maturity Reference Model provides a complete Body of Knowledge, and Capability Maturity Assessment and Improvement guidance, for all 6 ‘Constructs’ (Capability Building Blocks) for each of the Three core Team Dynamics (Forces).
Whether it’s a new virtual team or an existing team that has introduced remote working, each will have to go through Tuckman’s Stages and, depending on the Maturity of the three core components ‘Organisation’, ‘Team’ & ‘Individual Team Member’ this will determine how quickly the new team configuration will become effective and the level of that effectiveness. Failure to acknowledge these facts and take into account will likely mean effectiveness issues will arise.
The Team Maturity Index embodies the pinnacles of Team Effectiveness and Development:
(The Route of Travel) Stages of Team Effectiveness (Form, Norm, Storm, Perform, Adjourn-Tuckman)
(The Itinerary & Progress) The Three Pillars of Team Emphasis (Task, Procedure, Relationships)
(The Direction, Speed & Distance of Travel) The three Forces ‘Dynamics’ (Organisation, Team, Team Member) and their 18 Capability Building Blocks ‘Constructs’
Register, Select & pay for Assessment (€99-€149) [circa - 5 minutes]
Configure & Publish an Assessment [circa - 10 minutes]
Participants complete the Assessment [Triage circa 5 minutes, Diagnostic circa 15 minutes]
Report is available in real-time on-line, with both graphic and text maturity level details and guidance for each Dynamic & Construct.
The First Step is optional but may be useful to just get a sense of a specific Virtual Team’s Maturity or to act as a catalyst to open the discussion around how to improve Team effectiveness. (How is the journey going?)
TCIM™ uses the on-line TMI Team Effectiveness Capability Maturity Assessment Plans on www.orgcmf.com.
The first step may provide some pointers as to where team effectiveness roadblocks or constraints may exist for adjustment, or more likely further diagnosis and remediation. Step 2 may be a good starting point for many teams as it identifies the specific Team Capabilities and their maturities that determine its underlying performance and ability to improve. For each construct measured, appropriate guidance on action, that reflects the next logical step in the development process is provided, thus calibrating Team Improvement actions for traction and sustainability. Returning to our analogy, though the route largely remains the same, the destination, itinerary, direction and speed can be improved by maintaining and modifying the vehicle, driver, passenger and supporting infrastructure.
Step 2: (Diagnose) What are the constraints to achieving higher team performance? What do we need to know?
Step 3: (Analyse) How are we doing on each Dynamic & Construct and what actions are recommended?
Step 4: (Calibrate & Plan) Where will we focus action, what is the intended outcome and who will action?
Step 5: (Execute& Monitor) Implement Plans and monitor its impact and maintain improvement momentum.
Remote working in virtual teams follows the same rules and team development process as for any team, however some of the team & individual practices' must change, to accommodate the physical distancing and the use of technology to compensate. Whether the virtual team is a new team, new approach or expanded approach of an existing team, there has been a change. This may have been a sudden change due to a crisis. By having the team complete a TMI ‘Team Effectiveness Maturity Assessment’ the Leader, stakeholders and team members can identify and take action to improve the effectiveness of the virtual team and progress towards high performance outputs and outcomes.