The Thornton Group

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Team Alignment and Consulting

I am often asked how long it can take a dysfunctional team to change.

Believe it or not, in many cases even highly dysfunctional teams can make great strides in becoming aligned and cohesive relatively quickly.

There are three steps that help this happen.  

    First, having a process that integrates team-building activities into strategic discussions about ‘real’ issues currently facing your organization, helps teams quickly move from abstract principles to action. Overly theoretical or ‘touchy-feely’ exercises (while perhaps interesting in the moment), aren’t typically very transferable back at the office – particularly with senior teams.
    Second, you need a structure or framework that helps team members have conversations about important issues using a neutral language that allows them be passionate, and not personal. Assessment tools (like Myers Briggs, DISC, etc.) that help team members understand each other’s perspectives can be a highly effective way to ‘quick start’ this.
    Third, it really helps to be in a physical environment that allows team members to get away from daily routines and interruptions, and really concentrate on where your organization needs to go and how it needs to get there. A well planned and facilitated two day offsite can accomplish far more than a year (or more) of 'typical' meetings – clients tell me this all the time.

Finally, it’s important to remember that while teams can ‘course correct’ quickly, you are changing habits and behaviors that are likely part of your organization culture. Replacing bad habits with good ones, and cascading them throughout your organization requires sustained focus and reinforcement.  Becoming a strong, healthy organization is a process, not a project.  

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