Crisis Mode: Assembling the Ideal Team for a Task Force

From 2008 to 2011, I worked as the leader of the human resources team at a Fortune 50 company. During that time, I had a challenging experience at one of the company’s manufacturing plants, which employed 1,200 people. Immersed in a list of negative key performance indicators, my challenge was to recover governance while facing the possibility of a plant shutdown.

Some of the issues that we were dealing with included a very controlled environment with restrictive labor laws, employee behaviors that contradicted corporate values, a high rate of absenteeism, unpaid wages and benefits, and jeopardized safety compliance.

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Using Hogan Assessments to Explore Team Culture and Unconscious Bias

*This is a guest post authored by David Biggs, PhD, of Advanced People Strategies. I have always been fascinated with teams and their impact on organizations. My most recent work in this area has been using the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI) from Hogan Assessments. HPI - Measures everyday personality and can be used to predict job performance. HDS - Identifies potential personality-based performance and derailment behaviors. MVPI - Reveals a person’s core values, goals, and interests. One of the advantages of using psychometrics is the ability to quickly discover a team’s underlying motivations and personality factors. Read More »

Ignition: A Guide to Building High-Performing Teams

Despite the fact that teams vary widely in terms of their goals and composition, there is one right way to build a team, and many wrong ways, according to a new book by Gordon J. Curphy, Dianne L. Nilsen and Robert Hogan. The success of any team depends on having the right foundation in place.

In their book, titled “Ignition: A Guide to Building High-Performing Teams,” the authors provide insights into how to solve problems commonly faced by teams in today’s complex, fast-paced organizations. Case studies include combining teams as part of a re-organization, virtual teams, and matrixed teams, as well as fixing broken teams and developing high-potentials into effective team leaders. “This book is the single best source available on how to carry out the fundamental task of building and maintaining a high-performing team,” says Curphy. “It outlines 40 team-improvement activities that are practical and effective. The exercises are based on the notion that teams need to do real work to become more effective.” “Ignition” is intended as a reference book. Readers are encouraged to review the first two chapters to understand the overall considerations in building teams and how to set up and run team engagements. Then, chapters can be selected by the reader that most closely parallel the specific team issues they need to address. Read More »

What’s Holding the Team Back from High Performance?

*This is a guest blog post authored by Melvyn Payne, Commercial Director at Advanced People Strategies. I am privileged to work on a regular basis with leadership teams from a wide variety of backgrounds – both public and private sector. The big question that is usually being considered is “how do we become a high performing team?”  These teams are usually made up of talented and successful individuals, and, typically, those same individuals expect their stakeholders to see the team as effective at what they do.  When asked, team members can easily articulate what they would see as the characteristics of a high performing team and, equally, the key risks that cause a team to become dysfunctional, such as a breakdown of trust.  So why is it that these groups of smart, experienced individuals, who clearly understand what might take the team’s performance to a different level, not take action?  Read More »

Successful Teams: The New Blueprint

Building the perfect team isn’t about assembling an all-star squad of archetypes. It’s about find- ing contributors who are generous and respectful, but confident and charismatic, too— and picking the right leader who can pull them all together.  

IF CLASSIC CARTOONS like Scooby Doo, Captain Planet, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have taught us anything, it’s that only a team has the capacity and resourcefulness to solve a mystery or save the universe.

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The Neuropsychology of Teamwork

“Why can’t they just act like adults!” “It’s like herding cats!” Although teams are our default organizational unit, team leaders often struggle to get individuals to cooperate and coordinate. Partly, that’s down to the fact that each individual has their own agenda for getting ahead, which they balance with getting along with everyone else. Getting along is the hard part. We became hard-wired through evolution to prefer our own kind and to distinguish friend from foe. Although we are inclined to cooperate, we are also hard-wired for competition and war, which makes coordinating with others tricky. Science is now telling us more about how to manage people and teams to activate neural pathways for either trust and collaboration or conflict and competition. Here’s how to harness our neuropsychology to build better teams. Read More »

Hogan case study: The nice team that went nowhere

Team performance depends on having a clear mission—a sense of purpose—and the right people to deliver it. In the face of widespread and systematic safety failures, including worker deaths, a large organization created a new health and safety team and gave it power and autonomy to identify and fix the problems and policies that were putting their workers in danger. Six months into the mission, the team was meandering and hadn’t made any impact. Read More »

There is no “I” in TALENT?

A virtual debate in the business blogosphere has been growing more and more heated over the past several weeks and months.  It appears the debate began with a May 17th New York Times article that quoted Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s illustrious CEO, as saying, “Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good. They are 100 times better.”  Although difficult to follow at first, Zuckerberg’s argument is that a brilliant individual is 100 times more valuable than a mediocre team.  His statement reflects a new strategy in the War on Talent that many have also begun to adopt.  According to the Times article, many of the giants in Silicon Valley are so desperate for fresh talent they have resorted to purchasing entire companies simply to acquire the gifted entrepreneurs, engineers, and programmers that created and comprise them.  This new practice has been dubbed “acqhiring,” and is becoming more common in industries where the competition for talent is fierce and requires more benefits, dazzling incentives, and creative ways to attract the best and brightest.

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