When team members are working well together, achieving goals and driving profits, we tend to take team chemistry for granted. It’s a silent force – an intangible that we sense but don’t see directly the way we do numbers on the balance sheet. But we know it’s a key factor in achieving those positive financial results.
When teams are not performing well, however, the glaring lack of team chemistry screams out and we are faced with having to fix it. If we don’t do something about it – and do it fast – we’ll lose the best team members, the organization will suffer and profits will fall. So what do we do?
Five years ago, I was fortunate to “discover” Teamability, a system created by Dr. Janice Presser and Dr. Jack Gerber at The Gabriel Institute. After working for decades as a manager, business leader and consultant, and earning a master’s in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania, I realized that I finally had a smart, practical, and productive way to analyze, improve and manage team chemistry. And I’ve used it successfully ever since.
Nuts and Bolts of Teamability
First, it’s important to understand some of the details of Teamability. Each team member logs into an online instrument, reads brief descriptions of team situations and responds to each case. When completed, participants and the Teamability coach receive reports that identify which role or roles team members most naturally align with. There are 10 universal role types that can be present in all organizations. Reports also describe teaming characteristics, coherence to team goals, self-coaching suggestions and coaching or management guidelines for the coach and team manager.
Once all team members have completed Teamability, the Teamability coach will create a team analysis which textually and visually depicts the dynamics of the team. Team members can discuss their roles and team approach with each other, and the manager can see how members of the team mesh or not, and can determine how to take action to improve their team performance.
Teamability can be used in a number of ways in organizations:
Selection: If you’re looking to add people to your team, what are your real role gaps? Will a new hire fit well into the team? Among your candidates, who is most likely to improve team chemistry, or harm it? Teamability takes hiring deeper than assessing skills, reviewing resumes and going with gut feel on candidates. It provides analytical data to improve selection.
Promotion: Even more important than selection, promoting someone into a position of greater responsibility, where they will have a greater impact on the team, is really important. Understanding how this promotion might affect the team and helping the person to be promoted see how they can be more effective will be highly valuable.
Reorganization: We’re often called upon to realign teams to get better results. When doing so, what tools are available to help us? Teamability can be instrumental in creating an objective perspective on roles, teaming characteristics, and goal orientation to help move people into the positions where they can make the greatest contribution. It can identify hidden challenges and tremendous opportunities that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Coaching: Just about everyone can benefit from coaching. Sometimes coaching in organizations can be somewhat vague or based upon perceptions and one-off examples of development needs. With Teamability, each team member has a personalized report and their coach has a coaching report that identifies best role(s) for the person on the team, orientation toward team goals, and opportunities for improvement.
Teamability takes some education to wrap our heads around. Most of us come to Teamability already familiar with other instruments such as Meyers Briggs, DISC and SDI. We consider these all to be good tools, just different. Having presented Teamability to hundreds of people and having worked with many teams, I always welcome the opportunity to share what I have learned about Teamability. If you’d like to discuss Teamability with me, and perhaps even complete your own Teamability report at no charge, please let me know. I’m happy to talk. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Hall is a business coach and consultant with more than 30 years of experience in business management and leadership. He has worked for leading companies such as GE and Prudential, as well as a national trade association and small entrepreneurial businesses. He earned a Master of Science degree in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania.