Team Management Systems

Creating a High-Energy Team

By Ian Gillies & Stewart Mitchell
Copyright © Ian Gillies & Stewart Mitchell. All rights reserved.

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How do you do it?

Often we hear of 'borderless organizations' in which both internal and external stakeholders commit to achieving a jointly-shared preferred future and common vision, in which all interests are served. But can borderless organizations really be achieved?

It appears to us that no matter how far we seek to reduce structures, they break into another pattern creating complex systems within systems.

We have had great success with the Margerison-McCann High-Energy Teams Model, using the principle that:- 'Small changes can have a large effect'.

Using this model we can create systems that are related to a strategic goal and yet independent of one another.

Margerison-McCann High-Energy Teams Model

Margerison-McCann High-Energy Teams Model

The model asks eight questions:

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we get there?
  • What is expected of us?
  • What support do we get?
  • How effective are we?
  • What recognition do we get?

When systems are in place to provide answers to these questions, then 'high-energy teamwork' is a possible outcome.

In our experience, 'tinkering' with just one component of the model has set off a chain. Just like Lorenz's 'butterfly effect' in climatic systems, where the flapping of the butterfly's wings in the Amazon can grow into a hurricane in the West Indies, so similar small changes in one part of the High-Energy Teams Model can have enormous compounding consequences in other areas.

We use the Team Management Profile (TMP) results to answer the question 'Who are we?' and for many teams this is the first 'snapshot' to explain differences and conflict within teams.

The Types of Work Profile (TWP) answers the 'What is expected of us?' question and is a very powerful job analysis for present and more importantly, future jobs.

The Team Performance Profile (TPP) answers the 'How effective are we?' question. It focuses on the team and in particular provides a benchmark on how well the team is performing on the nine team performance factors. We have found that senior management respond well to the Team Performance Profile and we have successfully invited customers, clients and key stakeholders to rate a team's performance on the quality of the team's outcomes.

The Linking Skills Profiles provide each team member with their own feedback on their Linking Skills. This is critical where the team is embracing a self-directed approach and enables them to put into place key processes and systems to ensure that 'high-energy' teamworking is a result.

All too often 'management fads', such as Total Quality Management are introduced into organizations without the total system being taken into account and the 'butterfly' effect recognized.

The High-Energy Teams Model helps keep things in perspective.

Copyright © Ian Gillies & Stewart Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Ian Gillies specializes in creating total organizational performance with private and public sector organizations by developing high-performing teams. Ian has over 10 years experience in facilitating teamwork and consulting to organizations to develop a language of teams. As part of a training team, he has accredited some 400 human resource consultants in the Team Management System suite of instruments throughout Australia, UK and Hong Kong. He has successfully introduced a team-based philosophy using Team Management Systems into BHP, General Motors, Prolift Toyota, Cadbury Schweppes, Santos and numerous Federal and State Government Departments. Ian can be contacted at:

Stewart Mitchell has operated his own consulting business from Adelaide in Australia since 1991. Specializing in the areas of team building and organizational change, Stewart works throughout Australia with clients in the manufacturing, banking and government sectors. As a Master Trainer for Team Management Systems he has conducted programs in the UK and Hong Kong. Stewart has over seventeen years experience in the areas of adult education, human resource development and consultancy work. Stewart can be contacted at:


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