Team Development Turns Avoidance and Lack of Respect into Effective Teamwork

The challenge

Discord on the leadership team at a consumer healthcare company negatively affected employee engagement and the quality of their services. Plagued by low levels of respect, avoidance of stressful topics, and a culture of keeping secrets, most team members had given up on effective teamwork. Their HR partners suggested team development.

Skeptical that team development would make anything better, but with employee engagement and service quality in the balance, the leaders were willing to give it a try.

The Boda approach

The team development engagement brought the team together once a month for six months. The plan was flexible enough to account for the team’s considerable time constraints, while maintaining the consistency required for sustained development.

The first step was to have the team evaluate how they were doing, using the Boda Team Assessment. Each team member provided qualitative and quantitative data about how the team functioned on 20 dimensions that correlate to team effectiveness, including areas such as productivity, purpose, skills, experience, trust, collaboration, and accountability. Open-ended questions provided context for the quantitative data.

Two Boda coaches shared the report of the results at the first meeting with the team. The coaches and team members clarified the team’s current state and set benchmarks to assess the team’s progress.

In each subsequent monthly meeting, the Boda coaches helped the team create goals, share feedback with each another, see where they were working well together, and understand what still needed to improve. In a series of structured conversations and activities, the team established operating principles and made individual commitments as leaders and team members to help the team operate more effectively and positively affect the larger organization. The team addressed their trust and respect issues, and learned how to have productive conflict, avoid damaging behaviors, and navigate difficult conversations. The team also completed assignments between sessions.

The results

Three months in, the team was ahead of their goals and already operating more effectively. Team members were finding ways to work together more effectively—and even have fun together. The results of a second assessment at this point showed that the team had moved the needle in their key development areas. At the end of six months, the team’s visible progress received positive feedback from senior leaders in the organization, who had noticed improvements in the team.

Building on these positive changes, the team developed a plan to keep the momentum going after the coaching concluded, including regular team meetings that were structured similarly to the team development sessions and permanently adopting their operating principles.