A food manufacturing company
The top team of a food manufacturing company was facing a number of major business challenges. Whilst the team was well disposed to each other on a personal basis, there was a demand to deliver against stretching business goals. The chief executive identified that the team did not work together in a way that optimised individual and collective contributions.
Wellbeing Works was asked to analyse the team dynamics and support steps to improve team working.
The first step was to establish if the team members recognised what level of team work existed and if they had an appetite for change.
It was clear from the outset that the understanding varied. The act of discussing the issue in a non-judgemental way allowed us to identify two themes.
First, what might be the personal and business benefits of a more effective team? The second theme was to identify the current way that individuals preferred to work and examine the extent to which that inhibited effectiveness.
The list of benefits was a relatively easy task – employees could all see what others needed to do differently! A review using Myers Briggs Type indicator (MBTi) tests provided a fast insight into different needs and preferences.
A facilitated workshop, which directly tied the results of MBTi back to actions and behaviours needed to achieve better team working, delivered a clear set of actions. It also raised understanding.
The team committed to implementing three main points collectively and a number of personal actions.
The collective points agreed were:
- Before committing their departments to a decision which might impact on other departments, employees would ensure impact was assessed and agreed, in a timely way, with other departments.
- Top team meetings were to focus on affirmative and collaborative support, whilst continuing to be challenging in approach. (This changed how the team looked at threats and opportunities.)
- Informal bi-monthly team discussions were to be introduced discussing business threats, opportunities, risk and chances (TORC) – enabling a collective understanding of the future of the business.
Within ten weeks the chief executive reported that the team was functioning at a much higher level, and that decision making was more co-ordinated and effective.
Individuals saw that the team environment meant that problems were more quickly resolved and they felt part of a successful ‘top team’.
In business terms there was a cohesion that meant that the collective approach delivered decisions faster. When the company subsequently experienced an upturn in orders, the team reported that they were able to function and manage the new demand.