Turn great individuals into a powerful team

Management Team, Creative Arts Organisation

The CEO of a creative arts organisation was puzzled and frustrated. The individual members of his management team were all highly experienced, talented and motivated. Yet as a team something wasn’t working. Discussions seemed to circle without resolution, decisions weren’t being followed up, and he was worried that he wasn’t hearing what people really thought about important issues. The CEO asked us to help.

So how did it work?

Jonathan began by meeting each team member individually, to understand his or her perspective and experience of the team. This gave each team member the opportunity to talk openly about his or her hopes and concerns, so that Jonathan was able to build a picture of the team and its relationships.  His assessment was that the team’s performance was compromised because team members were responding to each other on the basis of what they assumed to be true about each other– and that many of these assumptions were skewed. He used team members’ feedback to guide the design of an off-site meeting. In a carefully managed process, the team members learned more about each other’s working preferences and personalities, and developed the confidence and trust to start sharing feedback with each other to test our their assumptions about each other.

The results

The team members discovered, to a mixture of relief, delight and even embarrassment that many of the personal differences they thought were problematic were due to miscommunication.  The first off-site event didn’t solve everything immediately, but it provided the basis for trust to grow, brought more forthright communication and supported the team in working together to address the real and pressing challenges it faced.  Further sessions took place at regular management meetings to help embed new communication skills in the workplace, and Jonathan facilitated two sessions with the CEO and his deputy to help further strengthen their working relationship.

“I found our session with Jonathan to be extremely productive. He helped us gain valuable insight into how we work both as individuals and as part of a team. Jonathan is extremely perceptive and knowledgeable and was able to help us navigate the complexities of team dynamics in a way that will certainly make a positive impact on our organisation.”