We’ve all seen them. Posters of rowing teams pulling together silhouetted against a golden sunset. Quotes from legendary coaches. Platitudes about teamwork outlined in a company’s “Core Values.” All of this amounts to lip service without any true action to support it.Read More
In a previous episode of my podcast, Lessons from Mars, I mentioned that I became uneasy with the existing approaches to team development. I’d been working with Tuckman’s 4 Stages of Team Development - a standard in team development for decades.
Tuckman’s stages, which include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing, offer useful insights into how groups form and mature as teams. However, as I dug deeper into the Four Stages as part of a team charged with creating a team development module for a Mars Management Development program, I found there were three key flaws with Tuckman’s model as it was applied to the corporate world.Read More
My book is titled “Lessons from Mars”, and that is truly what it contains. Over 17 years as an associate at Mars, Inc., I was able to learn about teams hands-on and observe the effects of collaboration and team building strategies.
The culture at Mars was integral to my success in many ways, but three specific aspects made it the ideal environment for my research on team effectiveness.
I’ve said many times that my 17 years as an associate at Mars, Inc. was essential to the collaboration framework my colleagues and I developed and which led to the subsequent publication of my aptly titled book, Lessons from Mars. Serving as an internal effectiveness consultant gave me the opportunity to learn about Mars and its associates from the inside allowing me to truly understand the keys to effective collaboration.Read More
The more we understand what value a meeting is meant to create, and which work actually requires collaborative effort, the better we can allocate our most valuable resources – our time, energy and enthusiasm.Read More
I was working on a large-scale org design project at Mars, Inc. a few years ago. The change management leader for this massive initiative asked me to develop an approach to help teams to navigate the changes they would be experiencing as part of the reorg. I had some good ideas (I’ll share those in an upcoming post) that I quickly committed to paper.Read More
Almost every team I have worked with over the past 10 years has had to conduct at least part of its business virtually. I’ve seen teams do excellent work virtually and experience smooth sailing. Others never quite learn the ropes and lose their way.Read More
One of the often-cited traits of “real teams” is that they have shared goals. I’m not convinced that the distinction between real teams and other kinds of teams is valid, but that’s for another post. What I am clear about is this: While shared goals are important, they aren’t what makes a team effective or more collaborative or, if you ask me, “real.”Read More
A few years ago, one of my HR colleagues called me with a request. “There’s this finance team I support and they are so dysfunctional it’s unbelievable. Can you help?” I paused, uncertain how to answer. I’d always felt that I was good with troubled teams, that I had a knack for working with dysfunction. But in this case, I balked.Read More
What do you mean when you use the word, “teamwork”? Teamwork means different things to different people in different circumstances. Because the word has so many meanings, and because collaboration is more important than ever, we have to be more precise about what we mean by teamwork. This is especially true if we want to foster it in our workplaces.Read More
In my last post, I talked about the need to stop treating trust as a precondition for collaborative success. In my work at Mars, Incorporated I ask teams to think of low trust as a symptom of other more tangible issues, not as a problem in an of itself. I also remind them that trust, at its most basic, is an emotion.Read More
Trust isn’t a precondition for team success and we have to stop treating it that way. Don’t get me wrong; trust in teams matters - a lot. But too many teams believe that they need to build trust first in order to improve their performance or address their issues.Read More