Exercises to assess management team cohesiveness

Exercise 1 – Management meeting evaluation

The place where the management meeting interact by definition is in the meeting room. A good exercise is to observe management meetings and interactions, with a specific focus on the differences and the way meetings are conducted.

  1. To evaluate the effectiveness of a meeting write down every time an issue is assigned to any of the participants (with dates and who is responsible), and every time it is not. Check if an action plan is kept with all the pending issues and if all the issues due for review in the present meeting are discussed and agreed.
  2. To evaluate interaction between members, check every time there is a confrontation and if it is dealt with in a constructive manner. A lack of confrontations may actually be worse than destructive confrontations.
  3. Check if every time there is an opportunity for cooperation (which occurs almost every time there is an internal problem in any area) it is dealt with accordingly, with other members (not those responsible for the area) of the management team
  4. Check if there are key indicators defined and if performance is reviewed in the context of each of these.
  5.  Score the meeting according to the points mentioned and present the conclusions to the management team as feedback.

Exercise 2 – Feedback 360º

Another good exercise is to perform a Feedback 360º with all the management team members in order to identify the source of their lack of communication and cooperation. Feedback 360º is a widely known exercise and the instructions can be found in internet very easily. Here are some links:

http://www.hr-survey.com/360Feedback.htm

http://humanresources.about.com/od/360feedback/a/questions-for-360-reviews.htm

http://www.appraisal360.co.uk/resources/user-guides-factsheet/

For the purpose of analysing team cohesiveness, you can ask only for the responses from the peers (the management team members) and the CEO or MD. This will give you an accurate picture of the cohesiveness of the management team. It will no longer be a 360º Feedback, (now just 180º) but it will serve the purpose.

Exercise 3 – Functional area evaluation by the management team members

Another revealing exercise on the cohesiveness of the management team is to ask each member to qualify the performance of each of the areas according to previously defined parameters. Here the evaluation is not quite so personal but, for precisely that reason, it is sometimes more real.

  1. Prepare an evaluation for each of the areas of the company (you can go as far as you want: area, sub-area, department, etc., but make sure you cover every area of the company). Base the evaluation on the specific goals and expectations of each area/subarea
  2. Deliver the evaluation to each of the members of the management team.
  3. Collect and score, showing the results by area and the scores obtained.
  4. Optional: Calculate the average of all the scores. This is the overall score of the company, from the perspective of the management team.

Exercise 4 – Profile or Preferences Comparison

Another possible exercise that will give a good perception on how the management team interact among themselves is to assess their profiles in different aspects that influence teamwork, from the way they communicate, to how they relate with people or work and how they process information. Very different profiles mean difficulties in understanding or problems achieving empathy among the members.

  1. Choose a survey from the internet to evaluate professional profiles on the aspects mentioned.
  2. Compare the different aspects of the  profiles in a visual manner. Discuss the differences with them.

The following example shows the different profiles and where the difficulties could lie.

The first picture shows the personal “disposition” or the work profile of each management team member (work, time or sense of urgency, pace and his/her perspective and role)

Scale Person

 

The next chart shows how the different members react and process information (rationality, ambiguity, order, sensitivity to differences and trust)Scale Info

The third chart presents the different positions members have regarding their relationship with work (how they perceive authority, their peers, their subordinates, and how they deal with stress and change)

Scale Work

The next chart shows how the management team member communicate (expression, reception, how confident they feel with quantification, their communication style and their body language.

Scales Comm

Finally, the last chart shows their different way they relate with people at work (sensitivity, ability to assume a role, closeness, influence and how they express their emotions)Scale RelatAny distant position in any of the aspects analysed are a potential source of conflict. This exercise helps to identify and prevent actual or potential conflicts which would penalise team performance.

Action

All these exercises will reveal the level of cohesiveness and teamwork of the management team. To increase teamwork and cooperation among the management team, you should consider holding specific workshops where they have to work as a team and solve situations interacting with each other. Sometimes outdoors workshops are effective, useful and fun, and can lead to a fast change in the work climate. These need to be complemented by individual coaching specifically focused on attaining a high level of cooperation and teamwork, creating awareness on the opportunities and developing empathy. Finally, further results can be obtained with team coaching where the coach helps the team become stronger and boosts the feeling of belonging and desire to cooperate.

All of these activities are part of a high performance management team programme.