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Team Coaching Through Team Surveys: How to Utilize TeamView® Effectively 

by Scott C. Whiteford, Ph.D.

October 12, 2022CultureDevelopment

Building interpersonal relationships (Mani, 2011) and company culture (Reiners, 2021) is of utmost importance to employee engagement and satisfaction, which is in-turn correlated with customer service and organization revenue (Kruse, 2014). However, only 14 percent of leaders feel their company is more than 70% engaged (Gotter, 2022). Furthermore, very few leaders utilize a team-specific survey to evaluate their team’s culture. Instead, most rely on larger engagement and satisfaction surveys that may have only a few questions aimed specifically at the team. How can leaders accurately assess the culture of their teams? They ought to utilize surveys specific to create goals to increase team culture and employee engagement.

Team surveys are an underutilized tool to help teams build stronger team culture and cohesion. By utilizing a team-specific survey, where the team also determines the benchmark, teams have a clear path to create goals and accomplish outcomes. In turn, they will have stronger employee engagement, and ultimately, strong customer satisfaction and organization revenue.

Talent Plus’ TeamView® survey is an effective tool to evaluate the culture of teams.

This survey measures a team’s unique culture through understanding 7 dimensions: organization, relationships, thought process, purpose, goal-orientation, communication and participation through a series of 42 questions with each question being asked twice (84 total). Each question is on a scale of 1-to-7, and the team member is asked to rate where the team is and where the team ought to be. A sample question is “Team decisions are clearly understood by all member of the team.” Based on aggregate results, each item will demonstrate a gap between where the team is and where it ought to be. The team will review the largest gaps (deltas) and determine 3-5 initiatives to close the gap for the upcoming year.

This survey accomplishes 2 important objectives. First, it evaluates how strongly team members feel their team is. Second, it allows team members to determine the benchmark. By doing so, the team knows the gap, or delta, on each question. Because the team determines the benchmark, then places to focus are individualized to that specific team. At this point, the team has a strong understanding of their current culture and an understanding of where they feel they ought to focus for the upcoming year.

However, understanding their culture is only part of the journey for the team.

The next steps ought to include goal-setting based on the results. This can be a complicated issue. There are 42 items. Where should they start? What is “too large” of a delta? How do they set goals? To find the best solution, the entire team ought to review the results as a group.

In the Talent Plus TeamView, our research shows that a gap of over 2.0 points (on a scale of 1-to-7) is Large. A gap of 1.8 to 2.0 points is Concerning, and a gap of under 1.8 points is Acceptable. Over time, the average team has 5-to-7 Large deltas, 5-to-7 Concerning deltas, and 28-to-32 Acceptable deltas. That said, some teams have all 42 items in the Large gap category (more on that in just a moment).

The first step is to understand these deltas.

The second step is to celebrate the Acceptable gaps. A lot of teams may be inclined to skip this step, but it is important. The areas where the team is performing well is what helps define their culture. By celebrating the Acceptable gaps, they continue to recognize what makes their team strong and unique.

Next, the team must determine what questions to focus on to create goals.

Although the dimensions help with a greater understanding of the team, the specific questions are the best places to create goals. Rather than larger, more ambiguous ideas, the team can focus closely on specific issues. Consequently, they are encouraged to review each of the 42 questions, while specifically examining the Concerning and Large deltas. This is exercise is also best conducted as a team. Independently through the initial review, each team member ought to write down which items they think are most important (questions that will lead to goals). There should be no limit on how many they choose through the initial review. After the initial review, each team member should go back through the items they identified and pick the three they see as most important to create goals which will lead to a stronger team culture.

To identify what questions ought to drive the team goals, each team member can share with the other team members the three questions they choose that they think will be good for creating goals. In fact, think of it as votes. Each team member gets three votes for which questions they feel are most important. For instance, if there are eight team members, 24 votes would be tabulated. Of course, significant overlap is likely to occur. Usually, there are about 6-to-8 questions that have the most votes. This is where the leader’s guidance is most important. They ought to have the final vote on which questions they want their team to focus. This should be between three and five questions. This review usually takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Now that the 3-to-5 questions are identified, the team divides into the same number of groups as questions that the leader selected.

If there are eight team members and 4 questions selected, then the team ought to divide into four groups of two. Each group analyzes one question. Their task is to define (1) a goal around that question, (2) 2-to-4 process steps to reach the goal and (3) a measurable outcome. A measurable outcome cannot be merely “trying harder,” it must be something a leader can count. Finally, each group must select a group member to monitor the progress of the goal. This portion of the exercise usually takes about 45 minutes. Each group ought to find a quiet space away from other groups to discuss their question.

Once each group is finished, they present their goal, process steps and measurable outcome back to the larger team. At that time, team members can ask questions, create clarification and solidify the goal. The presentations and discussions take about 45 minutes to complete. With the blessing of the leader, the team now has 3-to-5 goals to work on over the next 12 months to create a stronger team culture.

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References

Gotter, A. (2022). The Ultimate Guide to Driving Employee Engagement in Your Office. Hoppier. https://www.hoppier.com/blog/driving-employee-engagement

Reiners, B. (2021). 20 Drivees of Employee Engagement. Builtin. https://builtin.com/employee-engagement/driver-of-employee-engagement

Mani, V. (2011). Analysis of Employee Engagement and its predictors. International Journal of Human Resource Studies. Vol.1. No.2

Kruse, K. (2014). Employee Engagement: The Wonder Drug for Customer Satisfaction. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2014/01/07/employee-engagement-the-wonder-drug-for-customer-satisfaction/?sh=7e6532ac6d46

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Scott C. Whiteford, Ph.D. is the Director of Leadership Analytics at Talent Plus where his role is to partner with, listen to and find solutions for our clients, their teams and organization. With an emphasis on strengths, through selection and development, he helps our clients find success on their Talent-Based Journey.

“I focus on the strength management approach to help grow leaders and improve team and organization cultures.” – Scott Whiteford

Talents: Relationship, Ego Drive, Focus, Conceptualization and Intelligence