A cross-functional, interdepartmental group learns how to think as one team.
The following story was shared by Eleanor Lyons, a consultant at Human Edge Resources located in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Lyons is one of a few U.S.-certified Think One Team framework facilitators.
A third-party administration solutions provider for organizations that self-fund their health benefits
The company's data warehouse team, an ongoing cross-functional project team responsible for upgrading and maintaining the company's data warehouse, was not operating effectively. The group struggled to communicate well and solve problems quickly and capably.
The team members needed to move away from dysfunctional, fragmented silo behaviors and toward healthy, collaborative team behaviors.
Lyons used the Think One Team (TOT) framework to build effective team behaviors. First, the team members' department leaders completed the United Leadership training module and created a business case to show the benefits of healthy teamwork. Based on this business case, the leaders developed a training strategy, which prescribed that the team—including the members' leaders—participate in a four-day, focused team building workshop.
Twenty-eight people attended the training event. The half-day sessions applied TOT concepts and tools to the business challenges that the team faced. The four modules were: The Five Practices of Think One Team, Collaborative Problem Solving, Building Effective Partnering Relationships, and Creating Partnering Agreements.
During the first module, participants completed an assessment to determine how well they demonstrated the five TOT behaviors—share the big picture, share the reality, share the air, share
the load, and share the wins and losses. For module two, team members unpacked the business challenges they were experiencing, and in small groups worked on solving those problems using the TOT tools.
The third module taught participants how to build one-on-one relationships with one another. Lyons coupled teammates who had experienced interpersonal conflict, and the pairs worked through their contentions. During the last module, participants again formed small groups to examine team practices and design interdepartmental agreements for each piece of the process.
By collaborating to solve real-life business challenges, participants discovered new information about the data warehouse processes, and the team solved some of these problems. Additionally, during the training's debriefing, group members
- became more collaborative, less adversarial, and more respectful
- initiated multiple project endeavors
- prioritized projects collectively
- established a common view of the data warehouse for the future, and a map to get there
- increased efficiencies and education, motivation to work with others, trust levels, and positivity.