Soaking Up Team Performance

Posted by | Sep 29, 2016

Team Performance

This month, I spent 3 days at The Grove Consultants immersing myself in the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance (TP) system. The course was a clarifying experience that validated much of my current experience while working with a team.  More than validation, however,  the course provided a great model to help groups gain alignment and clarity. The workshop modeled best practices and used many of the TP tools as a way to, not only engage us during the session, but give us experience in its use.

Here are my top 5 learnings from the week:

Learning #1: Be Proactive
While we work in teams every day, we must make the case for teams. Understanding our team’s purpose, how we each work best individually, and then how we can work best together is a step we consistently miss. It’s not a “nice-to-have,” but rather a “must-have” for a successful outcome. To set up your team for success, each individual team member must know for themselves:

  • Why am I here?
  • Who are all you people?
  • What are we going to do?
  • How should I behave?
  • When can I leave?


Learning #2: Nothing is Linear
Ever have an extremely heated argument about the minute details of a communication exchange? Often, the immediate sequence of events leading up to the argument isn’t the real issue. In the TP Model, the horizontal paths of meaning, relationship, task, and choice help us see that sometimes we need to hop back three or four steps in order to solve the more fundamental issue.

Team Performance Model

Learning #3: Don’t Rush Through the Process
Orientation, trust, and visioning are important parts of the process, yet we don’t spend enough time  in this space. We tend to rush to implementation because it’s more satisfying. Creating and checking off to-do lists makes us feel more accomplished and productive. But without first building alignment and trust, implementation can bring doubt, apathy, nonalignment, and resistance. Take the time to form your team, and you’ll have fewer bumps in the road along the way.


Learning #4: Shades of Agreement
I’ve always loved Sam Kaner’s Gradients of Agreements because it gives us a strong tool to understand the “nays” in the room. Are we in complete disagreement, or do we just need more clarification on an issue? What do we need to get us closer to an agreement? Not everything is black and white. The key to success is to stop making assumptions and ask more questions.

Learning #5: There is No One Right Model
In the past few weeks, two large organizations I’ve worked with have made similar comments, “pick a model, any model.” While there are many models out there, the trick is to pick one that the group connects with most deeply and be consistent. The TP model was interesting because it showed how different theories could be layered with it. This opens up more questions for me than answers.

These sketchnotes were my personal notes from the course—reflections on what stood out to me. What experiences have you had that fit or didn’t fit with the the TP model?

Leave a Reply