Team Management Systems

My Team and Pacing in One Day Offsite

By Tom Gibbons
Copyright © Tom Gibbons. All rights reserved.

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Online Activity Center

This case study focuses on using the My Team and Pacing Apps found in each person's Online Activity Center in their Team Management Profile (TMP) HUB.

It was a group of 36 people and I had worked with the senior management team who this group reported to a few months earlier. The management team was part of the 36 people and we had a day (yes an 'event') of which 2 hours in the afternoon was going to be spent with a Master Trainer from VitalSmarts; the Crucial Conversations company.

In order to offset the problems with an event design and its effect on sustainability I knew I wanted to get the group actively using the Apps in their Online Activity Center, both as real value added content for the session and as an illustration of how they could use these Apps ongoing on their own. To do this, it was critical to begin talking about this in the design phase with the leader of the group to enable better understanding of why were doing this, the value it would add and also secure their active support.

This is an important point in designs using the Apps. The Apps are 'interactive content' (although more sustainable content than most) and they need to be treated that way from a design perspective.

The overall agenda for the day was as follows:

  1. Introduction to the day and the Types of Work Wheel.
  2. Warp Speed (referred to as Act Fast, Think Clear in Games TMS People Play) experiential exercise and debrief with 3 groups.
  3. Split into three intact sub groups (determined by the team lead) and active use of the My Team App by all participants. Moving forward points identified.
  4. Human Continuum exercise (referred to as Line Up! in Games TMS People Play).
  5. Use of the Pacing App live.
  6. Additional content on Levels of Engagement (contact us if you want to learn more) plus identification of a situation and person this content and Pacing could be applied.
  7. Crucial Conversations using the output of point 6 above.
  8. Team Preference maps and next steps focusing on point 3 above.

From a design perspective, in order to use the Apps live you need to ensure the following:

  • Everyone knows they are required to, and can bring a laptop or Tablet to the session (don't ask people to use smart phones, the screens are too small).
  • Internet access and capability is good.
  • People are reminded how to access their HUB and the access e-mails have been resent a day prior to the day you will be using the Apps live.

In this case I had a company IT person check the Internet capability with the offsite location and also check Tablets and laptops that were common in the organization using our sample HUB (we can help you here). TMS Americas looked after resending the access links and I sent an e-mail to participants with reminder instructions. The leader communicated the need to bring their laptops or Tablets.

This was not a lot of work and we can help you with this design prep but the end point was, when we got to point 3 of the agenda, everyone was into their My Team App live within 10 minutes. This exercise produced excellent, challenging discussion and some valuable moving forward points. The My Team App is effective in this regard since it produces concrete, objective data about team member's perspectives on team performance focused on a real work issue. In most cases it will be data they have never had before about differing perspectives. In 45 minutes they had identified real performance improvement steps.

You will also notice in the agenda up to this point (about 2 – 2½ hours in) the group has not looked at their Profile nor have we talked about preference. Everyone had access to their Profile within 5 minutes of completing their profile questionnaire and as pre-work were required to review it and watch the first two Overview videos and have soft or hard copy available for the session (everyone did this, most had soft copy) but we had yet to look at it as part of the session. As we say, preference is important but the work still has to be done so we always focus first on the Types of Work Model and get right into the work. The My Team App is the best way to do this if you design it in.

The Human Continuum exercise was great, like it always is and right after we used the Pacing App live.

The reason the Pacing App was designed in here was the Human Continuum exercise provides knowledge of the measures of work preference and since you don't need to know someone's Team Management Profile results to use the Pacing App (I actually think it's better if you don't) it's easier to complete it. As well using the App here illustrates how this App can be used time after time to sustain the learning about preference in a very practical way. This work was also going to feed into the Levels of Engagement work and the Crucial Conversations work.

The remainder of the day went well and the last agenda item of the day was a look at the sub-team's preference maps and referring back to the moving forward points from agenda point 3 to see if their team's preferences might require some additional activity into those points.

For follow up, what I do is send the group e-mails reminding them about using the My Team App again as part of a team meeting to get ongoing objective data about team performance perspectives. I remind them of the Pacing App and also get the team lead to remind them of the same. In this way we design in the possibility for more sustainable action even with primarily an 'event' initiative.

So even though you may have an 'event' as your primary engagement with a group (very common with external consultants) it does not have to be designed as an event. Designing in the Apps from the TMP HUB builds capacity for applying the Team Management Systems material over time in a self managed way and thus creates sustainability. And because you are building this sustainability with interactive content you are modeling what you are there to do in the first place; create better team performance. You are also supporting the most important people in the room; those that self manage and take accountability for their own learning and performance.

Contact us directly if you would like to talk at a more detailed level about this type of works!

Copyright © Tom Gibbons. All rights reserved.

Tom Gibbons
Managing Director - Sustainable Development

Team Management Systems (Americas) Inc.

Ph: +1-519-6856183

I began my working career making ice cream and I still love it! Putting good ingredients together to make something people enjoy experiencing. I've kind of kept doing just that! Different ingredients (new stuff to learn), different experiences (new ways to learn) and still loving it! I've been a manufacturing Manager, a Director of Organizational Development, an independent consultant, a business owner and partner. I’ve always had the best job in the world because I’ve made that a choice, not something I'm looking for. And that pretty much sums up the how, what and why of what I, and TMS Americas does. Bringing greater accountability to the choices we make. When we do that, things seem to move along better. Not necessarily easier, but better.

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