Much of the real work in many organizations takes place inside teams. They are where innovation is conceived and tested and where interpersonal issues and ill-suited skill sets can derail productivity.
Effective team assessments typically include multiple global dimensions such as performance, viability, influence on members, and reputation. Delineating these dimensions helps to satisfy the effectiveness expectations of multiple constituencies.
It’s Good for the Team
Team assessments provide a way to get everyone on the same page regarding defining and appraising global dimensions of team effectiveness. It also gives team members concrete goals to adhere to, which can boost their confidence in themselves, effort levels, and overall effectiveness.
However, it is important to note that the global dimensions of team effectiveness constantly interplay. So even if one of the dimensions seems irrelevant to your team, it may have hidden implications for other dimensions.
For example, a team might focus on its productivity level and equate it to its viability levels (how well the team can cope with challenges). In this case, the team might focus too much on meeting production targets, which may cause it to neglect its ability to handle unexpected challenges.
This is why it is critical to evaluate the team regularly. A regular assessment can reveal any changes in the team’s dynamics, and this information is crucial for making effective management decisions. Additionally, it can help the managers identify the areas where the team needs to improve. This information can help them develop new training programs to address the problem. Then, the team will be able to increase its productivity. It can also improve viability by focusing on the right processes and states.
It’s Good for the Leaders
When leaders know a team’s strengths and weaknesses, they can develop appropriate strategies to help the team improve its performance. They can also use this information to understand better how the team functions – for example, whether it is making decisions inefficiently or is overly focused on minutiae.
A clear definition of the criteria for assessing team effectiveness can leave everyone on the same page regarding, for example, what the team’s goals should be, how those objectives will be achieved, and individual roles and responsibilities. This boosts all members’ confidence, effort, and proactive behavior and increases the team’s chances to succeed.
The specific dimensions and measures you can use to delineate the global dimension of your team effectiveness model largely depend on your team’s work. For example, customer satisfaction can provide direct information about the team’s performance, reputation among clients, and its influence on other teams in the company. At the same time, the number of closed sales can be used as a proxy for the team’s productivity.
It’s important to choose the global dimension your team cares about the most and the specific dimensions and measures you can realistically assess. Selecting the right tools for collecting feedback from your team is also vital. For example, an anonymous online survey with good psychometric properties (i.e., IRA/IRR, internal consistency, content validity, and structural integrity) can yield accurate and representative information.
It’s Good for the Organization
It’s important to note that the specific dimensions and measures that you use to appraise team effectiveness will largely depend on aspects like the type of work your teams do. For example, if you work in sales, you might appraise productivity by focusing on the number of calls and closed sales rather than measuring efficiency through productivity per hour worked. Similarly, you might measure innovation by the ratio of ideas produced to those implemented rather than the percentage of new products launched.
The goal of delineating these global dimensions and their corresponding specific measures is to ensure that you are assessing critical factors for your team’s success that align with multiple constituencies’ interests. For example, a team may be very productive and efficient but needs more innovation, which will cause it to lose clients over time.
Once you have identified the specific dimensions of your team’s effectiveness, you can develop a more fine-grained list of measurable, concrete goals for the team to focus on and work toward. This will help your team members know what matters and why, which in turn helps boost their effort, proactive behavior, and ultimate effectiveness.
It’s Good for the Members
Whether coding at Google, riffing in a writer’s room, or skating around a hockey rink, teamwork is essential to getting work done. It is an essential component of employee morale and has been shown to increase productivity and improve job satisfaction.
Assessing the effectiveness of a team regularly allows for an opportunity to focus on key performance metrics. It’s also an excellent tool for helping teams develop strategies to overcome challenges and improve in the future.
One of the main challenges in assessing team effectiveness is deciding which dimensions to measure. Some models highlight global dimensions, such as performance and members’ attitudes (satisfaction and commitment levels), while others focus on specific activities, such as goal-setting and meetings.
Another challenge is keeping up with new dimensions or measures that the team might find relevant. For example, suppose you are a customer service team. In that case, consider measuring client satisfaction by showing how much effort customers need to resolve their issues.
In addition, it’s important to realize that goals don’t need to be set. They should be adjusted as needed, especially if they are not working well for the team. For instance, if a team member is consistently missing deadlines due to excessive overtime, you might need to adjust that person’s goals or provide additional training.
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