: Five conditions for Effective Teams

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: Five conditions for Effective Teams

Effective teams depend on five conditions.  Author  J Richard Hackman  spent about 40 years studying teams and collecting observations from academic research.  He summarised his learning in the book “Leading Teams”.  In the model he presents he focusses on creating the five conditions required for teams to create magic.  He writes on the magic required by leaders as well.  However his research made quite clear that teams affect the leader as much as leaders affect teams.  Leading teams focusses on five conditions leaders can create.  And having created these conditions, the leaders can step back and allow the team to perform.  The leader then observes and gently steers and coaches.

Here is a diagram to summarising what it takes to establish an effective team and how you will know you are working in an effective team:

leading-teams-300x300

1. The first question to settle is whether this is indeed a team or simply a group of people who happen to work in the same area.  Do they have a task?  Do they have specified authority to manage their own work processes? Are the team boundaries clear and is the membership stable over a reasonable period of time?
2. Authoritatively setting direction energises team members, orients their attention and engages their talents.
3. Well designed work team facilitates internal work motivation in individuals as they view their work as meaningful, feel personally responsible and receive trustworthy feedback on the results of their efforts.
4. Organisational context in which rewards, information availability, team education and resource availability are managed successfully allows the teams to give full attention to their particular responsibilities without distractions and the irritation of dealing with someone else’s responsibility.
5. A compelling direction, an enabling structure and a supportive organisational context provide the foundation for superb team performance.  No amount of coaching can compensate if these are badly flawed.  However, if these conditions are in place, coaching can significantly enhance team performance in terms of identifying opportunities and vulnerabilities in managing member effort, selecting performance strategies and using member talents.
6. When these five conditions are met, the team will have an opportunity to operate as an effective team as compared with three criteria:
– The ability to understand, shape and exceed client expectations.
– The inclination to grow as a team, detecting and correcting errors in their team process.
– The group experience, on balance, contributes positively to the learning and personal well being of individual team members.
  1. The first question to settle is whether this is indeed a team or simply a group of people who happen to work in the same area.  Do they have a task?  Do they have specified authority to manage their own work processes? Are the team boundaries clear and is the membership stable over a reasonable period of time?
  2. Authoritatively setting direction energises team members, orients their attention and engages their talents.
  3. Effective teams require enabling team structures.  A well-designed work team facilitates internal work motivation in individuals as they view their work as meaningful, feel personally responsible and receive trustworthy feedback on the results of their efforts.
  4. Effective teams operation within an organisational context in which rewards, information availability, team education and resource availability are managed successfully to allow the teams to give full attention to their particular responsibilities without distractions and the irritation of dealing with someone else’s responsibility.
  5. A compelling direction, an enabling structure and a supportive organisational context provide the foundation for an effective team.  No amount of coaching can compensate if these are badly flawed.  However, if these conditions are in place, coaching can significantly enhance team performance in terms of identifying opportunities and vulnerabilities in managing member effort, selecting performance strategies and using member talents.  Blind spots are so named because we don’t see them.  Even in teams!  Effective teams have access to a team coach.

In 2011, based on research in teams in the intelligence community, Prof JRH updated the model taking ‘Clear Norms of Conduct’ out of condition 3 and setting it up as the sixth condition.

When these five conditions are met, the team will have an opportunity to operate as an effective team and will show the following outcomes:

  1. The ability to understand, shape and exceed client expectations.
  2. The inclination to grow as a team, detecting and correcting errors in their team process.
  3. The group experience, on balance, contributes positively to the learning and personal well being of individual team members.
By |2016-11-18T10:04:11+00:00September 9th, 2009|Coaching, Empowerment, Models, Strategy, Teams|4 Comments

About the Author:

At StrategyWorks we work with the executives and the teams tasked with delivering strategy. Strategy can be set by decree but someone in the organisation must make it happen. At StrategyWorks we work with leaders tasked with executing strategy. Stephen coaches individuals and teams to align their thoughts around relevant information and structures to focus teams on delivery. Stephen is also keen on painting in watercolours.

4 Comments

  1. […] his  book “Leading Teams”.    I have introduced this topic before which you can view here.   The model I used was  graphically recrafted from my input by Hagen of AskAnswerMedia.  Thanks […]

  2. […] facilitated to a large degree by the organisational context within which I found myself. In his five condition model, J Richard Hackman, author of Leading Teams, highlights the need for a Supportive Organisational […]

  3. […] Leading Teams – A breakfast conversation By Stephen Quirke, on May 10th, 2010 On Friday 07 May I was invited to offer a topic for conversation at a breakfast meeting for Project Office Managers.  I presented an overview of a Leadership Model developed by Professor J Richard Hackman and published in his  book “Leading Teams”.    I have introduced this topic before which you can view here at; Five Conditions and Three Outcomes for Teams. […]

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    […] his “Five conditions for Leadership” model, J Richard Hackman showed how you can design internal motivation into the work you give […]

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