Materials Used for Consulting

This is an assessment tool created by a management consultant based on a popular management book. The consultant uses this assessment with his clients.

This is an example of a Gem used in a consulting practice.

Introduction

For better or worse, there is nothing quite like a team...

Every team in every organization is trying to accomplish goals and objectives that are part of a larger mission. The more teams we are on, the more we realize that not all teams are equally effective at accomplishing those goals.

Some teams run like a well-oiled machine and produce amazing results, others can’t get out of their own way. If we analyze each team we’ve been on, chances are we have an explanation for why they worked or didn’t.

Why teams struggle

Sometimes teams struggle or fail because the purpose or goal of the team was never made crystal clear. From day one, no one zeroed in on exactly what the problem was that everyone was there to solve. Maybe it was clear at the beginning, but over time that initial clarity grew increasingly murky or disappeared completely. Teams, no matter how talented, can’t succeed without clarity.

Other times a team has clarity but lacks the necessary resources. Whether it is money, time, talent, personnel, or something else, a lack of resources can be a team killer.

Many times, people or relational issues are the chief reason a team is undermined. The root of the problem varies from personality clashes to oversized egos, or competing agendas. If you take the time to deconstruct your own experiences, they will often come back to a person or two as the chief obstacle to team success.

Healthy teams start with healthy teammates

In his book The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni changes his previous focus on the interaction of the team as a whole and focuses on the type of individual that makes the perfect team member. After years of observation and experience, he and his consulting organization (The Table Group) have identified three key ingredients every single team player must possess for teams to be successful.

His simple framework gives clear language and tools for identifying those common but hard-to-quantify people problems that derail so many teams.

Before hearing his perspective, take a moment to reflect on your own experience regarding what you believe constitutes an ideal team member.

What do you think are the most important qualities of an "ideal" team player? Why?

The virtues of an "Ideal Team Player"

There are three fundamental virtues every ideal team player must possess: humble, hungry, and smart. Since the term "smart" used in this book specifically refers to relational or emotional intelligence, think "people-smart" as the specific type of intelligence being discussed.

"We asked ourselves, 'Could a person fully practice the behaviors at the heart of teamwork if he or she didn't buy the idea of being humble, hungry and smart?' The answer (we concluded) is a resounding “no!”… We became convinced that any leader who wants to make teamwork a reality should find and/or develop people who are humble, hungry, and smart."

The 3 Virtues Defined

Humble - Ideal team players are humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for themselves. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.  

Hungry - Ideal team players are hungry. They are always looking for more: more things to do, more to learn, or more responsibility to take on. 

(People) Smart - Ideal team players are smart. They have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. 

Source: The Ideal Team Player Model

If these qualities are so consistently the foundation of team success, why do you think they aren't emphasized in many organizations?

Is humility the most important of the three virtues?

  • Humility is increasingly valued (0:50)
  • Accurate assessment of self is the foundation across many contexts (1:30)
  • More important than job-specific skills? (5:00)

How does your own experience with teams support or challenge Lencioni's conclusion that these are the three most important virtues any teammate can have? 


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