Quick Team Check
One of the well-established characteristics of an effective team is self-assessment (Parker, 1990, McGregor, 1960). It is important that teams, much like individuals, take an annual physical--a check-up to see how they are doing. An ongoing concern about one's progress is a sign of a healthy person and a healthy team. The data collection and diagnosis associated with the assessment provide the basis for planning for renewal.
Unfortunately, this periodic assessment is overlooked and forgotten for a number of reasons:
- Absent a major crisis or problem, teams assume everything is satisfactory.
- In today's competitive business environment, teams are too busy just getting the daily work done.
- Teams assume an effective assessment takes a great deal of time and costs a great deal of money--neither of which they have.
Even if the team is performing well, it is useful to conduct a periodic assessment if only to confirm that conclusion. Team members need to know what they are doing well so they will continue to do those things in the future. And it is helpful, especially for teams that do not have opportunities for a great deal of external recognition, to acknowledge their success.
Team self-assessment need not consume a great deal of time. A useful assessment exercise can be as simple as taking a few minutes at the end of a team meeting to ask: "How are we doing?" In addition, there are also brief survey tools that are effective alternatives to the lengthy, more complex instruments. For some teams, a quick 10-item survey may be all that is necessary.
The Quick Team Check (QTC), as the name implies, is designed to assess the effectiveness of a team quickly and easily. It can be used to:
- Assess the ongoing progress of a team that has limited time available.
- Provide data for a training needs assessment or team building intervention.
- Follow-up on a more comprehensive team assessment conducted in the past.
The QTC is designed to be easy to administer and score.
- 1. Time can be set aside at a team meeting for the QTC. Explain the purpose and the format of the survey to the team members. In addition, clarify who will see the results and how they will be used.
- Distribute a copy of the QTC to each team member and ask them to complete and score it. The total QTC score is simply a tally of their answers on the ten items. It should take about ten minutes.
- If the team is mature and communication is open and honest, consider
discussing the answers with everyone following completion of the survey. Here
are some ideas for facilitating the discussion:
- Ask: how many scored the team is the High, Average and Below Average categories?
- Use the discussion guide questions to identify strengths, and areas that need improvement.
- Probe for reasons, examples or data that support their answers.
- Conclude with action items to increase the effectiveness of the team.
- If you sense that the team has not reached the stage of open communication, collect the completed QTCs and get a neutral person to prepare a summary of the responses. The summary can include frequencies and mean for each item and the total survey. At a subsequent meeting, present the results and facilitate a discussion on the strengths, weaknesses and action plans for improvement.
- If the QTC is being used to measure progress over time, the discussion should note the changes and highlight things that still need to be done. If the QTC is being used as a training needs assessment, identify the items that need improvement and discuss the types of training that will respond to that need.
McGregor, D. M., The Human Side of Enterprise, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960.
Parker, G. M., Team Players and Teamwork, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990.
QUICK TEAM CHECK
Please review each factor. Then indicate the extent to which you agree that it is true about your team according to the following scale:
- Strongly Disagree
- Disagree Somewhat
- Neither Disagree nor Agree
- Agree Somewhat
- Strongly Agree
Place the number of your response in the space to the left of the statement.
_____ 1. Goals: We have clear performance objectives
_____ 2. Climate: The atmosphere is informal & relaxed.
_____ 3. Roles: Everyone is clear about what is expected of them on the team.
_____ 4. Participation: Everyone participates in team discussions and decisions.
_____ 5. Resources: The team has sufficient resources to do the work.
_____ 6. Communication: Members feel free to express themselves on all issues.
_____ 7. Support: Management provides a sufficient degree of support for the team.
_____ 8. Meetings: Team meetings are well planned and carried out.
_____ 9. Interfaces: The team has effective relationships with key people outside of the team.
_____ 10. Conflict: Disagreements among team members are resolved quickly & effectively.
Total Score: ______
- What do we do well? What things should we preserve?
- What needs to be improved?
- What should we do about the things that need to be improved?
QUICK TEAM CHECK
Interpreting Your Results
37 - 50=High Performance
The internal dynamics of the team are positive and should be continued. However, the enemies of high performing teams are complacency and stagnation. Therefore, your team should spend some time identifying the factors (e.g., leadership, training, support) that produced these excellent results. Then, plan to invest in these factors.
23 - 36=Average Performance
The team is doing well, but performance improvements are needed. Analyze the specific results for each of the ten areas. Identify the areas where your scores were low, analyze the causes of the situation and develop a plan to address the issues.
10 - 22=Below Average Performance
The team needs to take a hard look at the results. Develop a plan that includes short-term actions that can produce immediate results and provide incentive to address the long-term issues dealing with the team's fundamentals.
Reprinted from Glenn M. Parker, 25 Instruments for Team Building, HRD Press, 1998.