Booz Co Unleashing Power Of Teams


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An interesting article from Jon Katzenbach on different types of teams

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Booz Co Unleashing Power Of Teams

  1. 1. Perspective Jon Katzenbach Aurelie Viriot August VlakUnleashing thePower of TeamsFrom Theory toExecution
  2. 2. Contact InformationChicago New York ShanghaiVinay Couto Jon Katzenbach Joni BesslerSenior Partner Senior Partner Partner+1-312-578-4617 +1-212-551-6115 joni.bessler@booz.comHouston John Rolander StockholmKenneth Kurtzman Partner Per-Ola KarlssonSenior Partner +1-212-551-6114 Senior Partner+1-713-650-4175 August VlakLondon Senior Executive Advisor ZurichAshley Harshak +1-212-551-6113 Ilona SteffenPartner Principal+44-20-7393-3405 San Francisco DeAnne AguirreAnna Brown Senior Partner Olaf BachSenior Associate +1-415-627-3330 Senior Associate+44-20-7393-3733 Aurelie Viriot Senior Associate +1-415-627-4279 aurelie.viriot@booz.comThe authors would like to thank Caroline Kronley, Kenneth Kurtzman, John Rolander, and Ilona Steffen for theircontributions to this Perspective. Booz & Company
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE In most organizations, the untapped performance potential from teams is enormous. While the fundamental theory ofSUMMARY team performance is perhaps well known, many teams fall short of their full potential because they fail to move from theory to execution, particularly when it comes to making critical decisions about when, where, and how to team. The first step to executing a well-designed and sustainably effective team performance strategy should be taken at the senior leadership level. In workshops focused on applying team fundamentals to real business challenges, senior leaders can learn to recognize the significance of different types of teams and when they should be employed, while generating immediate business impact. After senior leadership has successfully embraced and internalized strategic teaming, top managers should develop the institutional capability to spread these behaviors throughout the organization. With attention and diligence, companies can fairly rapidly move from team theory to execution and improve the performance and effectiveness of their teams.Booz & Company 1
  4. 4. KEYS To goals—the challenges it is address- ing—must be laid out in order to a whole should be clearly delin- eated, including precise descrip-SUCCESSfUl establish a commonly agreed-on tions of individual responsibilitiesTEAMIng working approach. and how these responsibilities interconnect. • Communication: What is the process for letting one another • Leadership approach: When do know what we need to know? The we need a single leader as opposed team’s working approach, rules, to multiple leaders? When and behaviors, decision-making pro- how do we shift the leadershipAs business environments become tocols, and interactions should be role among team members basedmore competitive, global, virtual, explicitly discussed, especially at on the task at hand? There areand breakneck-paced, the value and the inception of the group or when distinct team modes, and eachpotential of team performance to new members join. requires a different leadershipdrive organizational success gain approach. Individual leadership,significantly. For one thing, effective • Membership criteria: What do we multiple leadership, and shiftingteaming facilitates cross-functional need in order to accomplish our leadership models are the primaryactivities, which in turn tend to performance goals? Teams operate options, depending on the perfor-produce behaviors that result in best when membership is relatively mance situation.better organizational performance. small but carefully constructed toEqually important, disciplined team- include the necessary skills, exper- Working groups that rigorouslying choices and behaviors improve tise, experience, and political apply these fundamentals will tilt thethe quality of internal discussions clout to get the job done. When odds of success greatly in their favor.and collaborative thinking, create needed, outsiders can be brought But it’s important to bear in mindengaged and motivated workers, and in to offer new perspectives and that not every business challengegreatly extend leadership skills. ideas and team members can be requires a full-blown “real team” trained in new skills. effort. (In our terminology, a realThere are five prerequisites for a suc- team is characterized by collectivecessful team: • Member roles and accountability: work products, shared leadership, What are we mutually accountable and mutual accountability. By con-• Clear objectives: What are we for? Who is accountable for what? trast, a single-leader unit would rely trying to accomplish as a group? Performance expectations for heavily on a hierarchical manager The group’s purpose and specific team members and the group as who monitors individual assignments Working groups that rigorously apply teaming fundamentals will tilt the odds of success greatly in their favor.2 Booz & Company
  5. 5. and accountability.) Depending on single-leader approach; indeed, it is for unstructured discussion whilethe task at hand, single-leader units best for this group to avoid engaging operating too hierarchically.and even mere discussion groups in time-consuming team-buildingmay be sufficient (see Exhibit 1). activities, lengthy debates about In our experience, comparatively fewNo small group at any level or routine matters, and the reconsid- senior leadership challenges actuallydepartment of an organization can eration of everyday decisions. On warrant a real team, but knowingfully succeed without learning to the other hand, operating as a real when this approach is required canintegrate and use discussion group, team is imperative if significant obviously have a tremendous impactsingle-leader, and real team working and profound collective insight on the organization’s chances forapproaches as the situation dictates. is a priority—for instance, when success. In general, real teams are examining the impact on every needed when the situation calls forFor example, a group that must aspect of the business of a possible (a) products to be delivered by threeaddress a business-as-usual issue new discounting strategy that would or more people working together inrequiring speed and efficiency— cut prices across the board by 20 real time, (b) leadership roles thatsuch as the need for a quick pricing percent. All too often, companies fail shift among the members to matchanalysis in response to a client’s to recognize the need for a real team skills and experience to the challengeprice cut ultimatum—can easily to address these types of complex at hand, and (c) mutual as well asachieve its goals with the traditional questions and leave insufficient time individual accountability.Exhibit 1Basic Team Modes DISCUSSION GROUP SINGLE-LEADER UNIT REAL TEAM Clear Objectives - Information sharing - Business-as-usual performance - Breakthrough performance - Need for speed and efficiency - Need for group insight Communication - Based on expertise - Between leader and individual - Across all team members members Membership Criteria - Relevant knowledge -Individual skills - Complementary skills Member Roles and - Stakeholder representation - Individual work products - Collective work products Accountability - Individual accountability - Mutual accountability - Clear, stable roles - Evolving roles Leadership Approach - Distributed leadership - Single leadership - Multiple leadership - Shifting leadershipSource: Booz & CompanyBooz & Company 3
  6. 6. WHY TEAMIng These team performance concepts are well established and might even roles. Conversely, many collabora- tive cultures often miss performanceEffoRTS fAll appear straightforward. But many opportunities by trying to introduceSHoRT teams fail to achieve their potential when moving from theory to execu- real team efforts into situations where a strong single-leader approach is tion. Part of the problem is tied to the more appropriate. Moreover, cor- organization’s culture, which tends to porate leaders frequently fall into play a big role in determining “how the trap of using the same teaming we team around here”—often with approach for all purposes, usually suboptimal results. For example, because they naturally gravitate to cultures that stress strong individual what they have grown comfortable accountability generally resist real with or because they lack familiarity team efforts that are based on mutual with other teaming methods. Simply accountability and shifting leadership put, few organizations have devel- Leaders frequently fall into the trap of using the same teaming approach for all purposes.4 Booz & Company
  7. 7. oped the internal capability to help and effective, special project teams norm. Groups must work togethertheir leaders and staffs to consistently were set up to rethink the organiza- through virtual environments—viaidentify and apply the appropriate tion’s structure and operating model. e-mail, teleconferences, and computerapproach to group work—choosing However, with no precedent for applications (known generically asbetween, for example, single-leader operating as real teams, these groups groupware) that let people shareand real team approaches based on defaulted to the agency’s single-leader information and collaborate on proj-the task they are expected to perform. framework; as a result, they were ects from wherever they are. While unable to generate the diversity of often the only real option—andThe damage that this endemic short- ideas and inspire the levels of innova- one that has certainly become morecoming can do is aptly illustrated by tion needed to rewire the organiza- efficient as new technology continuesa government agency responsible for tion. Not surprisingly, these teams to simplify the process—the virtualenforcing securities laws and regu- struggled to fulfill their mission. environment nonetheless raises a hostlations. Traditionally, the agency’s of challenges for team efforts.teams were based on the single- In addition to these traditionalleader unit model. Small groups concerns, so-called virtual team- For one thing, people in technology-approached inspection and enforce- ing creates new obstacles for many based groups have a great deal ofment tasks in a largely hierarchical, organizations. As teams become more difficulty developing the emotionalexecution-oriented manner follow- and more scattered, with members commitment, shared understanding,ing standard rules and procedures, located at distant sites around the and mutual respect required for top-which adequately served the agency’s world or at least rarely at the same flight team performance, and culturalday-to-day activities. As the agency place at the same time, asynchronous diversity, which is commonplaceembarked on a broad-scale trans- group participation and disembodied in virtual teams, often exacerbatesformation to become more nimble communication are increasingly the communication obstacles. Moreover,Booz & Company 5
  8. 8. groups working virtually are often Although achieving stellar perfor- when and by whom, and for whatless rigorous about controlling mem- mance in virtual teams requires the purposes. Simply assuming that thebership—indeed, groupware offers same discipline practiced in co- technology aspects of the team’seasy processes for adding new people, located groups—that is, making con- work will take care of themselves isturning small groups into “swarms.” scious choices among different team a huge mistake.This can complicate and hinder work approaches to match the challengesufficiently that many groups lose the at hand—specific best practices can • Limit team size to 12 at the most;discipline required to achieve their help virtual teams address the unique split larger groups into sub-teams.goals. And perhaps most perplexing, challenges they face. These practices Explicitly distinguish core groupgroupware often reinforces natu- include the following: members from partial contributors,ral biases toward the single-leader identify who will have access toapproach: Because electronic commu- • Discuss individual and collective which materials and meetings, andnication and collaboration encour- purposes and goals early in the determine when and how sub-age group members to tackle team life of the group project. Ideally, groups should work.objectives at different times, collec- this discussion, as well as periodictive work products often disaggregate problem-solving sessions, should • Push for early wins against clearinto individual efforts with individual be held face-to-face. and compelling near-term goals toaccountability. And on top of all of foster team pride and cohesiveness.these potential groupware concerns, • Establish specific expectations andby limiting spontaneous interac- rules regarding the use of group-tions, groupware may reduce group ware features and applications—creativity. which ones should be employed,6 Booz & Company
  9. 9. START AT The first step in executing a well- designed and sustainably distinctive team performance capability of the senior leadership group. Once backTHE ToP team performance capability in an in their daily routine, senior leaders organization should be taken at the often revert to their old group behav- senior leadership level. There are iors. To truly change how they work two reasons for this: First, knowing with one another, managers need how to choose among basic teaming the opportunity to learn and, most modes is an invaluable capability that important, practice new behaviors. greatly enhances the performance of And they need “reminder mecha- most senior executive group efforts. nisms,” both formal and informal, Second, senior leadership groups to ensure the consistent repetition of that learn, adopt, and demonstrate those behaviors. The central focus a disciplined teaming approach can needs to be on doing real work as a begin the process of building the group rather than on merely trying to institutional capabilities to drive real become a team. team behaviors and disciplines in an accelerated fashion throughout the To achieve this, the best approach is organization. a series of working sessions at which senior teams tackle real problems that Many organizations try to instill they and the organization are facing team behaviors among senior lead- and begin to coalesce around dealing ers by sending them to Outward with actual performance challenges Bound–like offsites, where group (see “Teaming for Success,” page members bond by building rafts, 9). These senior group workshops climbing walls, or falling backward should be structured as 20 percent into each other’s arms. While there teaming fundamentals theory and is certainly some “bonding value” to 80 percent applying the theory to the these activities, in our experience they group’s current business priorities. rarely have a sustained impact on the Substantive issues like skills required, To truly change how they work with one another, senior leaders need the opportunity to learn and, most important, practice new behaviors.Booz & Company 7
  10. 10. meeting structure, leadership roles, leadership attributes will gener- approach. If this is not negotiatedand decision making should be ate results. Part of this process is with the team in advance, it isaddressed in the process of solving clarifying the specific behaviors unlikely to happen, and initialreal business challenges. It is essential required for team performance and enthusiasm will inevitably fade into follow up on commitments made providing tools and approaches to the face of new priorities.during the workshop to ensure that support these members utilize what they have A deft facilitator—who possesses alearned rather than lapse into old • Clarify the critical choices of when deep understanding of group dynam-ways of working. and how—discussion group, single- ics and psychology as well as teaming leader, or real team approach— and decision making, and has excel-Based on observations at leading that will enable teams to work lent interpersonal skills and extensiveglobal organizations, we’ve identi- in the appropriate mode for the real-world business experience—fied five practices that are critical to performance situation they face. sometimes helps senior managementthe success of these senior leadership As noted earlier, it is essential to teams achieve their aims. It is usuallyteam workshops: consider the different options for better, however, if the facilitation group work rather than “trying to role can be performed by working• Apply the fundamentals of team become a team” when other group members of the team. Organizations performance to actual business approaches are more appropriate. should consider outside facilitator needs, connecting performance candidates carefully, and conduct a objectives and team discipline while • Focus the discussion on defining test run to make sure they fit the par- building sustained commitment to and facilitating trade-offs and ten- ticular culture of the company. The business performance. Preparation sions within and between teams. best ones are able to contribute to the for each senior leadership work- Most teaming is essentially a collec- substance of the team’s performance shop requires up-front interviews tion of “right fights” that together challenge as well as the interactions with the team’s members (and generate shared performance within the team. potentially its key stakeholders) to goals. As a result, successful team understand not just behaviors but discussions don’t merely focus on By the end of these sessions, senior also the business issues that are alignment, togetherness, consensus, leaders should have addressed more affected by those behaviors. and agreement, but explicitly look than one of the business chal- for necessary tension and ways to lenges through their workshops, no• Focus on the “hard side” of make the tension productive. matter what form the groups end up teaming—the disciplined choices, taking. Moreover, this team build- compelling performance purpose, • Ensure that the workshop has ing experience has ideally become clear role definition, working built-in follow-up procedures. second nature to the senior leaders, approach, prioritization, and deci- These can include a set number of ensuring that they will continue to sion making that will drive business hours to be used for future discus- use these skills as they face problems, performance—in order to establish sions about team purpose, perfor- obstacles, and strategic questions in a clear case for how teaming and mance, restructuring, or leadership the future.8 Booz & Company
  11. 11. Teaming for Success A consumer products company had just undergone a substantial global reorganization, a confusing ordeal that in the heavily matrixed organization led to uncertainty about roles and responsibilities along with costly delays in crucial decision making. And this was happening as the company’s underlying sales and market share were already declining. To get the organization back on track, 30 workshops in 15 countries were set up with the top senior management teams—representing 70 percent of the company’s business as well as high-priority areas—with the goal of helping them to maximize their potential and the business’s returns in the company’s reorganized operating framework. During each of the workshops, teams framed the organizational needs under the new approach and explored leadership tools, concepts, and methodologies—for example, the different types of teams and when to use them, the development of effective sub-teams, and the best methods for designing and running meetings. They collectively identified opportunities, prioritized them, and defined action plans. The results of the workshop were significant, and the impact was immediate. Roles, responsibilities, and key interfaces were clarified. Strategic priorities were established, allowing senior teams to focus where it mattered most. Disciplined meeting structures were created, with clear agendas and efficient information sharing; indeed, agenda items were reduced by as much as 70 percent and meeting times were greatly minimized, saving each group member as much as half a day per week. Follow-up working sessions about how the teams themselves could work more effectively with one another only added to the value of this process. In a company with more than 100,000 employees, these senior leadership workshops were critical to implementing the new organizational framework quickly and to building momentum for this change in the broader organization. After the broad successes enjoyed by the senior teams, the groundwork could be laid for widespread teaming focusing on business improvement and better results throughout the organization. Senior leaders often accomplished this by instilling teaming behaviors and concepts in their direct reports. And though the process was not entirely viral and training was necessary at lower levels, starting at the top made it easier to demonstrate to the organization the value, importance, and rudiments of teaming know- how. Since this strategic teaming effort began, the consumer products company has enjoyed growth in sales and total shareholder return that has significantly outperformed the industry.Booz & Company 9
  12. 12. SPREAD mandates) effective group behaviors characteristics, and objectives of everywhere and at every level in the a company can simplify and makeTHE CRITICAl company. The following four pillars more tangible the process of learningBEHAVIoRS ensure an efficient and sustainable when and how to use different deployment of team performance team disciplines. This customized disciplines: framework can be developed by conducting interviews with the Create Company-Specific company’s leadership to elicit the frameworks, language, and ideas and words that best illustrate Decision Criteria the organization’s personality andAfter senior leadership has Although many teaming challenges culture.successfully embraced and are similar across companies, usinginternalized strategic teaming, words and stories linked to an Build the Capability to Deploytop managers should develop organization’s culture, aspirations, Across Teamsthe institutional capability to and history can simplify the process Instilling team frameworksspread these skills throughout the of helping groups understand and disciplines throughout theorganization. Widespread adoption how best to reach their goals. organization requires tailoredof teaming fundamentals requires Such meaningful language and tools, process support, and stronga robust teaming infrastructure frameworks that tie teaming to facilitators in addition to engagedthat encourages (and in some cases the specific business initiatives, senior sponsors. A tailored Widespread adoption of teaming fundamentals requires a robust teaming infrastructure.10 Booz & Company
  13. 13. methodology and corresponding • Identifying and prioritizing small projects are staffed have rigoroussupport content are key to consistent group opportunities: Processes processes in place with multipleimplementation. They should are needed to ensure that leaders sources of input to ensure carefulinclude a set of comprehensive have a clear strategic agenda consideration of the skills andtraining materials that internal and performance goals to assess resources required for a group toand external consultants can use special group opportunities do a job correctly. As other typesin working with leadership teams and determine the best working of companies realize the value ofon their performance against approach—real team, single- cross-functional group initiatives,business challenges. These materials leader, or discussion group. similar processes should beshould be scalable throughout the developed.organization. Carefully identifying, • Integrating performance goalstraining, deploying, and managing to highlight and evaluate team • Selecting and developing teaminternal and external resources to results: The performance goals of leaders: Companies that relysupport the development of these formal groups, individuals, and heavily on small group effortsmaterials and to facilitate training ad hoc group initiatives should be can often benefit from specificis critical to ensure widespread integrated to make certain that processes and systems to identifyadoption of teaming fundamentals there is no disconnect between the and select candidates forand achieve sustained impact. company’s strategic thrust and the leadership roles. When doing this, organization’s efforts to address it is important to recognize thatInstitutionalize with Process it. Because many performance and some leaders are better candidatesInfrastructure goals management systems cover for single-leader units, whereasAs organizations aspire to deliver only an organization’s permanent others are better equipped to leadagainst multiple team performance structural units, an increase in real teams. The ideal leader, ofopportunities, effective process special group efforts can require course, is one who can recognizesupport is essential. In addition to upgrading to systems that can different situational needs andtraining programs focused on when better assess team performance adopt the appropriate leadershipand how to team effectively, an and results. format for each. Processes andorganization needs to have systems systems help senior leadershipin place to institutionalize teaming • Assigning people to teams: ensure that the right skills andskills and drive sustained impact. Consulting and other professional leadership abilities are deployed inThis includes process infrastructure services whose performance line with the group’s purpose andfor the following: is heavily dependent on how chosen working approach.Booz & Company 11
  14. 14. • Providing incentives for superior techniques with leaders from Applying the fundamentals of team team performance: Reward and across the organization, updating performance with a consistent and recognition—both monetary and approaches and best practices broad-based approach is a powerful nonmonetary—are an important regularly, or creating “community” way to enhance both the capability element of sustaining teaming tools and methods of reinforcement. and capacity of senior teams and capability. Special awards and If appropriately structured, these generate measurable business bonus arrangements can be networks can become powerful results. In workshops focused on tailored to particular team ways to develop a culture that truly applying team fundamentals to challenges. However, most real enables team performance and real work, senior leaders effectively teams are not motivated by will both fortify the experiences of learn to rely on careful, deliberate, money; they respond more to the teams that have received specialized and disciplined choices for when nonmonetary aspects of real team training and influence those that and how to team for success while achievements and to collaborative have not. beginning to solve actual business interactions. challenges, thereby generating Identifying the right people immediate impact. To fully unlockDevelop Peer-to-Peer networks to to spearhead this peer-to-peer the untapped performance potentialSustain Impact effort is critical. They should be from teaming efforts, however,To keep teaming practices at the accomplished motivators and senior leaders must then alterforefront in an organization and well-respected advocates who their own teaming behaviors tocontinue to enlist new converts to instinctively know how to tap consistently identify and applythe notion, networks of advocates into the sweet spots that energize the right working approach towho can capitalize on peer-to- individuals in their day-to- tackle the issue at hand. Once thatpeer interactions are extremely day work. They should also be is accomplished, they can buildvaluable. In essence, these networks adept at instilling performance the internal capability to instillare informal groups of individuals teaming behaviors throughout the team disciplines in the broaderwho have a common interest in organization to accelerate change. organization. With attention anddisciplined teaming choices and Senior leaders who have firsthand dedication, companies can fairlybehaviors and can sustain and knowledge of the individuals under rapidly and successfully move fromvirally spread teaming best practices. consideration can often easily team theory to execution.Specific actions of these networks produce a starter list of possiblemay include sharing teaming candidates for this role.12 Booz & Company
  15. 15. About the AuthorsJon Katzenbach is a senior August Vlak is a seniorpartner with Booz & Company executive advisor withbased in New York and leads Booz & Company based inthe Katzenbach Center, New York. He is a member ofwhich develops practical new the Katzenbach Center and theapproaches to leadership, firm’s global health practice. Heculture, and organizational works with leading companiesperformance. With more than 45 on organizational performanceyears of consulting experience, and innovation challenges.he is a recognized expert in He is the coauthor of “Findingorganizational performance, and Grooming Breakthroughcollaboration, corporate Innovators” (Harvard Businessgovernance, culture change, Review, December 2008).and employee motivation. Beforejoining Booz & Company, he Aurelie Viriot is a seniorwas a founder of Katzenbach associate with Booz & CompanyPartners LLC. He co-authored based in San Francisco. She iswith Douglas K. Smith two part of the firm’s organization,best-selling books on team change, and leadershipperformance, The Wisdom of practice and a member of theTeams and The Discipline of Katzenbach Center. She worksTeams. He is also the author of with leading companies onTeams at the Top. strategy and organizational performance challenges.Booz & Company 13
  16. 16. The most recent Worldwide Officeslist of our officesand affiliates, with Asia Brisbane Istanbul Middle East Florham Parkaddresses and Beijing Canberra London Abu Dhabi Houstontelephone numbers, Delhi Jakarta Madrid Beirut Los Angelescan be found on Hong Kong Kuala Lumpur Milan Cairo Mexico Cityour website, Mumbai Melbourne Moscow Doha New York Seoul Sydney Munich Dubai Parsippany Shanghai Oslo Riyadh San Francisco Taipei Europe Paris Tokyo Amsterdam Rome North America South America Berlin Stockholm Atlanta Buenos Aires Australia, Copenhagen Stuttgart Chicago Rio de Janeiro New Zealand & Dublin Vienna Cleveland Santiago Southeast Asia Düsseldorf Warsaw Dallas São Paulo Auckland Frankfurt Zurich DC Bangkok Helsinki DetroitBooz & Company is a leading global managementconsulting firm, helping the world’s top businesses,governments, and organizations. our founder,Edwin Booz, defined the profession when he estab-lished the first management consulting firm in 1914.Today, with more than 3,300 people in 60 officesaround the world, we bring foresight and knowledge,deep functional expertise, and a practical approachto building capabilities and delivering real impact.We work closely with our clients to create and deliveressential advantage. The independent White Spacereport ranked Booz & Company #1 among consult-ing firms for “the best thought leadership” in 2011.for our management magazine strategy+business,visit to learn more aboutBooz & Company.©2011 Booz & Company Inc.