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M & M Associates
The following is adapted from a strategic direction project which relied heavily upon successful teams.
Elements of Team Efforts in Major Change Programs
Successful implementation of major change programs will be heavily dependent on effective teams. Elements to be considered in developing a major change program such as Team+work plan are interdependent with many other design elements and each other and consequently difficult to sequence. Following are the basic elements, unsequenced. They may be combined in a variety of ways with some being implemented as part of other efforts. Linkages for possible combination are noted.
There will be different kinds of teams in the evolving client system during a major change program. The names will be familiar but operating will differ. Country teams will function under the leadership of a country director and a core country management unit. This core team will also include key sector specialists needed to deliver the country's program as outlined in the country strategy. There may also be a second wider country team for connection and information that will include task team leaders and all those deeply involved in the country's program.
Task teams will continue under the direction of program team leaders with broader responsibility for clusters of related tasks being shared among team members. Ideally, one team supplementing its resources as needed would assume responsibility for a task cluster. The teams will most likely include all the special skills needed to deliver both the technical task itself and the project processing. These teams will include contracted specialists as well as administrative staff to support task processing.
The work to be done includes a complete and clear definition of the teams, their membership, accountabilities for tasks, individual accountability in the teamwork frame and leadership requirements. The following questions need answering:
Team Process and Preparation
The purpose of using teams to do work is to create synergies that serve clients better than individual contributors might, to improve continuity, to build individual capacity, to improve product quality and to provide work opportunities that are interesting and satisfying to staff. High performing teams can deliver these benefits but the mere creation of teams does not assure high performance.
The work of this group is to determine what teams need to be high performance and in so far as possible, facilitate meeting those needs. Issues to address include:
Support Systems for Teams
High performing teams need strong linkages and support from the enterprise to assure that communications stay open and that the infrastructure is an enabler rather than an impediment to performance. The location of country teams in field sites rather than in Washington creates some unique challenges for the change effort in this area.
The work of this group would include:
Building Individual Team Members
Team members need skills beyond team membership. Each team member will bring personal competencies and undeveloped areas to the team that will both enhance and detract from team functioning. Raising the skill levels of team members in certain key areas will improve overall performance of the team. Some individuals will need this kind of training, others will not. The work of this group would include:
Since teams are not generally new to most organizations, but are likely operating in different modes across the organization, it is feasible and makes sense to test out any new ways of operating with existing or new start teams in advance of implementation. These experiments will provide insight and opportunities to fine tune teamwork thinking in the region. The intention is to pilot representative task and country teams incorporating as many of the teamwork elements planned for the region as possible. The work of this group would include: