How well does your team function? We help executive teams diagnose their strengths and weaknesses and help them compare themselves to high performance teams on crucial success dimensions by facilitating custom programs to suit the client”s unique environment and culture. We typically work with our clients on a long-term basis, often meeting with the management team on a regular basis for continuing team assessment and development.
Although long term team-at-the-top development is an important strategy for achieving organizational goals, people from different levels of the organization, coming from a wide range of functions and perspectives, working together as learning teams, can have a great impact on the success of your organization. When functioning properly, a learning team not only solves organizational problems, it helps develop the competencies for a successful learning organization: thoughtful questioning, appropriate action, insightful reflection and effective adjustment to changing and dynamic organizational demands. It can be created ad hoc to deal with a particular hot issue, or it may be configured as part of an organizational development strategy.
One particularly valuable way to use the learning team concept is to apply it as part of an executive development or high potential program. In this context, it can be a powerful tool for self, team and organizational growth. A typical structure here would be to have four to eight participants designated as members of a learning team, with the primary focus on solving a high stakes and urgent issue facing the organization. Depending on the situation, the team could be tasked with developing a solution and implementing it themselves, handing it off to the appropriate operational groups, making recommendations to top executive leadership, or some combination of these.
Such teams typically use an Action Learning platform to address the problem. This particular format encourages the questioning and interaction necessary for true strategic thinking and problem solving. By learning to ask the appropriate questions (rather than challenging, stating opinions and staking out turf on the front end) in a spirit of discovery, people begin to develop more insightful and effective leadership skills. As this process continues, the organizational DNA changes for the better. The learning teams and, by extension, the organization, get better at solving complex problems and learning from their efforts. This is a particularly powerful way to help people develop their skills as leaders and as problem solvers.
The immediate benefit to the organization is a solution to a particular issue or problem that is bottoms-up, not received wisdom from an expert or ordained fixes from on high. Therefore, it’s more likely to be accepted and to work. But the long term gain is a more flexible learning organization that has greater resiliency and resourcefulness, and a larger number of strategic thinkers and leaders.