Team Building Pt2

Nov 27, 2011 | 0 comments |

Hope you all had a restful long weekend with your family and loved ones. If you celebrate Thanksgiving- I am sure this weekend was special.

The best part of your job, should be to love it . Let’s face it most of us don’t realise what the job is in hold for us, till we have entered it and figure out the reality.
You can opt to make your work meaningful but that certainly mean that it will happen unless of course your team supports you.

So, here are some more theories on team building:

Belbin Team Dynamics
The nine Belbin team roles:
Creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Solves difficult problems. However tends to ignore incidentals and be too immersed to communicate effectively.
Resource Investigator
Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities and networks with others. However can be over optimistic and loses interest after initial enthusiasm has waned.
Belbin's Co-ordinator is a mature, confident and a natural chairperson. Clarifies goals, promotes decision-making and delegates effectively. However can be seen as manipulative and controlling. Can over delegate by off loading personal work.
Challenging, dynamic, thrives under pressure. Jumps hurdles using determination and courage. However can be easily provoked and ignorant of the feelings of others.
Monitor Evaluator
Even tempered, strategic and discerning. Sees all the options and judges accurately. However can lack drive and lack inspired leadership qualities.
 Team Worker
Co-operative, relationship focused, sensitive and diplomatic. Belbin described the Team Worker as a good listener who builds relationships and who dislikes confrontation. However can be indecisive in a crisis.
Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Acts on ideas. However can be inflexible and slow to see new opportunities.
Conscientious and anxious to get the job done. An eye for detail, good at searching out the errors. Finishes and delivers on time however can be a worrier and reluctant to delegate.
Single minded self starter. Dedicated and provides specialist knowledge. The rarer the supplier of this knowledge, said Belbin, the more dedicated the specialist. However can be stuck in their niche with little interest in the world outside it and dwell on technicalities.

Strength Inventory Deployment
People are our/your working Environment
Discover how vital relationship skills are to business success
The cost of neglecting your people
Create a high performance environment

Understand People
Why people behave as they do
The seven motivational styles
Discover your own personal drivers

Recognise Different Styles
What can you learn from body language, hobbies, pets and work place?
Predict how others will behave
Understand insecurity, self-doubt and de-motivation
Create Rapport
Match the other's style
Behaviours that bring dramatic results
Practical tips to get along with difficult people

Handle Conflict
Understand why people can be difficult
Discover your behaviour pattern in conflict
Recognize individual needs in conflict
How to deal with the angry customer/team member
The secrets of lasting agreement

Manage your impression
How does your style of working come across to others?
Some practical ways to close the perception gap
Actively manage your impression for better results

Feedback not biteback
Practical things to do when there are conflict and perception gaps
Feedback v criticism
Develop competency in giving and receiving feedback

Influence with integrity
Discover your current persuasion strategy
Learn five key processes of influence
Beware of fishing with vindaloo chicken

Organizational implications
Communicate organisational change and get commitment
Easy steps to improve motivation and job satisfaction
Become a facilitative leader and empower your team

Implications in your professional life
Implications in your personal life
Decide action agenda

Forming - Storming - Norming – Performing
Developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. It is one of the more known team development theories and has formed the basis of many further ideas since its conception.
Tuckman's theory focuses on the way in which a team tackles a task from the initial formation of the team through to the completion of the project. Tuckman later added a fifth phase; Adjourning and Transforming to cover the finishing of a task.

The team is assembled and the task is allocated. Team members tend to behave independently and although goodwill may exist they do not know each other well enough to unconditionally trust one another.
Time is spent planning, collecting information and bonding.

The team starts to address the task suggesting ideas. Different ideas may compete for ascendancy and if badly managed this phase can be very destructive for the team.
Relationships between team members will be made or broken in this phase and some may never recover. In extreme cases the team can become stuck in the Storming phase.
If a team is too focused on consensus they may decide on a plan which is less effective in completing the task for the sake of the team. This carries its own set of problems. It is essential that a team has strong facilitative leadership in this phase.

As the team moves out of the Storming phase they will enter the Norming phase. This tends to be a move towards harmonious working practices with teams agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate.

In the ideal situation teams begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the vital contribution of each member to the team. Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility.

The risk during the Norming stage is that the team becomes complacent and loses either their creative edge or the drive that brought them to this phase.

The rest of this article covers the final stage of Performing and Adjourning and Transforming.

You can read Part 1 here.

(Content courtesy
(Image Courtesy: Google images)

Team Building- Pt1

Have a team?  Have trouble communicating them. Feel you are always on the wrong side?

And you want to win them over?

Here are some theories:

Maslow’s Team Building Theory- his pyramid had 5 levels and you have to complete one to move on to the next. From the bottom:

  • Survival/basic needs
  • security/safety Needs
  • Social
  • Ego status/Esteem Needs
  • Self-actualization

So, identify your team members level, make them comfortable and let them move forward to the next.

Theory X and Theory Y-Developed by Douglas McGregor, he described 2 opposing views of style that will influence management style.

Theory X- is the tradional view of direction and style
Theory Y- a self directed workforce that takes an interest in the goals of their organisation and integrates some of their own goals into these.

Theory X assumes:
•The average person dislikes work and will avoid it unless directly supervised.
•Employees must be coerced, controlled and directed to ensure that organisational objectives are met.
•The threat of punishment must exist within an organisation.
•In fact people prefer to be managed in this way so that they avoid responsibility.
•Theory X assumes that people are relatively un-ambitious and their prime driving force is the desire for security.

Theory Y effectively takes the opposite view.

It assumes:
•Employees are ambitious, keen to accept greater responsibility and exercise both self-control and direction.
•Employees will, in the right conditions, work toward organisational objectives and that commitment will in itself be a reward for so doing.
•Employees will exercise their imagination and creativity in their jobs if given the chance and this will give an opportunity for greater productivity.
•Theory Y assumes that the average human being will, under the right conditions, not only accept responsibility but also seek more.
•Lack of ambition and the qualities of Theory X are not inherent human characteristics but learned in working environments that suffocate or do not promote Theory Y behaviours.

The color Works- Team Building Theory- The Colour Works uses a psychological model of behaviours that helps teams to understand similarities and differences in order to become more effective.

A 25-frame online evaluator measures our preferences for the use of all 4 colour energies.We will all have a dominant, a secondary, a tertiary and a least preferred energy.This detailed questionnaire is designed to measure these levels as it uses a sliding scale of responses rather than a simple YES or NO.The resulting profile is comprehensive - a minimum of 24 pages covering amongst other things strengths, weaknesses, stress points, blind spots, management style, preferred environment, communication needs, value to the team - often scarily insightful and unique to the profilee.

The order and intensity of your colour preferences places you on a 72-type wheel, made up of 8 archetypes, as follows:

Has the ability to focus on results. They decide what it is they want from life and set a strategy to achieve it. Their natural assertiveness means they will push both themselves and others to achieve goals.  They are not put off by setbacks.

Has enormous enthusiasm that he spreads to those around them.  Their drive to succeed gives them a high level of motivation to achieve their dreams.  They are not easily put off and find it easy to think positively about every situation.

Has well-developed people skills and has a constant need to enjoy interactions with others. They are persuasiveand their quick minds produce creative solutions to others' problems.

Has a genuine desire to help others and put their needs first. This makes them flexible and adaptable with a natural ability to share ideas and knowledge.

 Has a true team approach.  Their expert listening skills can uncover others' true needs and they are loyal to both their colleagues and their organisation.

Can pull all the loose ends together to organise themselves and others in a structured approach.  Their planningand time management skills make them thorough and reliable.

 Can write the book on product knowledge required for their job.  When others need the facts to make a decision, they know them.  They set the standards for others and analyse and collect the data.

Has a natural desire to monitor and judge performance.  Their own approach is disciplined and logical and they back this up with a determination to succeed.

What are you using to effectively work with your team?

(Content courtesy
(Image Courtesy: Google images)

Be happy- don't over plan

Nov 17, 2011 | 0 comments |

When you know what you want from life, you can plan it well.

To make the changes take the baby steps one day at a time. It isn’t easy to suddenly start preparing for PMP and put 4 hours a day.

Pen down what you want next month and the coming year. Set your priorities, look at it realistically and then decide your goal.

Change is good and forming new habits are better. For me, I have planned my goals that I need to get done for the next 6 months- both personal and professional. I have listed them down and on a weekend chalked it out- what I can do instead of what I want to do.

Turns out, I need more time to do self studies and am always running out of time. All the travelling and hectic schedule was taking a toll on me and I missed being super- happy about life.  Also, I tried reading while commuting to work which I used to successfully in Chicago when I took public transport.  Now, reading in jam packed streets of India seems impossible. I tried, hated myself for not being able to do it and wasting 45 minutes everyday twice doing nothing.

So, I changed. I wanted the happy positive feeling that I could keep to myself for the rest of the day and also use the time. So, I started listening to podcasts- motivational stuff, things that will inspire me. I download them on Sundays, to keep me busy for the next 5 days. And I have enjoyed it very much.

I have also kept my list very lean- no additional distractions. Focus on things you can do and that will make you happy.

This is something I read and am sure you will like how people chisel their own career paths

I also read that when you have decided on something, don’t share it because chances are you won’t do it then. I read these 2 different articles  in complete different context but in a way they made sense.

So, don’t make random new year promises this year. Don’t right down pages and then feel silly for not doing them. Keep it lean and keep it right and don’t judge yourself too often- I think you will be fine.

(Pic courtesy)

Google Plus

Enjoy- my find from Google +


Nov 15, 2011 | 0 comments |

Getting your dream project isn’t always easy. This involves learning, training perhaps even travelling and lots of will power and focus to make sure you don’t deter.

Yesterday while reading Iwoz, I was blown away. The book of course is all about Steve Wozniak and his brilliance but amidst it all I learned: 

·Stay true to myself and my goals
·If others don’t get it, don’t look back, continue with your plans.
·Think differently
·If you have an opportunity, go for it.
·Have ethics at work, its good.
·Don’t lie or malign others, never under estimate your peers and respect the passion others have.

If you get a chance, make sure to read this definitely. It's an inspiration, an awakening and an insight into how great minds think.

Your day is waiting for you!

Newsletters- Do they change you?

If you follow me on twitter, I tweeted about 2 fav persons whose newsletter I love.

I am not a fan of newsletters, I treat them more as a spam flooding my inbox because most of the times I really don’t care what you have to sell.

However, Jenny Blake and Elizabeth Harrin are exceptionals. If you are a newbie or out of college (I’m none of these) and love entrepreneurial journey- Jenny’s newsletters (and blog) are fantastic. Need a project management update and what’s new happening in the PM Town, Elizabeth as always is a great resource.

Another great resource that I have been ignoring for a while is Ramit Sethi. I read the partial free download of his book and his blog and loved it, so I signed up for the newsletter years ago. Honestly, I have almost never read his newsletters till last week. I didn’t want to buy stuff and thought his newsletters were informative, but I didn’t know if it was for me.

Till last week, I clicked on his newsletter and saw his tips on having a great resume- that got my attention.
I read the whole thing including the links and downloaded all the videos and information. The material was great. It was stuff he was giving away to registered newsletter subscribers that he usually sells as a course.

From all that I have read and heard (still have 3 more videos to go), here are some amazing things he said:

•Resume’s should be very specific (in everything). Pack in details, research your company (where you would like to work) and your job profile well. Don’t just randomly apply to jobs (and through job boards) and then blame the system for not having a scope for you. True- my last 2 jobs have been through referrals.
•Use LinkedIn as a Tool.
•Every month, keep a percentage of your salary for meeting other interesting people.  While it may not be flying to the other side of the world, meet people in your locality who can be your mentors, career advisors, or just a great contact. Invest in yourself and your growth.

So, instead of signing up for all kinds of newsletters, look for those that helps you. De-clutter your inbox and focus on the thing you should be doing.

That is my goal for December. I have moved continents, lived in 2 cities commuting every month and postponed a lot of personal goals for tomorrow (the one that never comes).

This December, I am re-planning my life and my goals. I want to be happier, do things I have always wanted to do and find time for myself and my hobbies. Learn something new twice a year that isn’t part of my professional life (like Tennis and rock climbing).

Time to de-clutter and find yourself.

(Image Courtesy: Google Images)


Just because you are an intern and newbie:

•Observe your boss to imitate them as much as you can and want to- you will get a feel of what they like.
•Be you, it matters even among the more experienced crowd.
•Ask questions, see document libraries, gather as much information you can from meeting, conversations etc.
•Don’t back out during all conversations and fault findings. Hold your own.
•Don’t let others tell you how much you are worth, you know better than that.
•No one has the right to make you feel inferior without your permission. Dont let that happen.
•When nothing seems to be working out, don’t loose hope. It happens, instead focus on things you can do. Get a certification, see the requirement, ensure your work is around fulfilling those requirements.
•Be careful about what you say in the office. And your social networking sites.
•Even if you feel nothing is working out, stay. Stay for 4-6 months to let everything fall in its place.
•Quitting is good, but not without a plan.
•Amidst all the chaos, try finding a mentor. She/he will guide you to navigate the mess.
•Try to keep a happy face, makes you look friendlier.

Here are some awesome links that might be interesting:
Best agile Books
More on Kanban 
No such Thing As Bad Decision

CPR Technique

This post has been taken from

The software world has misused so many terms from the medical profession that one more would not hurt.

CPR – Categorize, Prioritize, Resolve.
This is simple mnemonic that aids me to be methodical in my approach towards uncovering and resolving impediments.

How do you view your world?
To me lack of impediments is like moving in a frictionless environment. This state exists when
a. No work is being done
b. It is an ideal theoretical context

To challenge myself and my teams to look beyond business as usual, I look to creating a categorization mechanism that people can relate to. Lean concepts of load, flow and waste are very simple to understand and use.

There are other categorizing perspectives such as
1. process, tools, technology, culture
2. Not enough time, Takes a lot of time
3. Personal, Team, Organizational
4. Stop, Stall, Go!
5. One off, Always, Sometimes
There are no limits to how you may slice your world of work, expose perspectives and uncover impediments that were hidden.

The purpose of prioritizing is two fold:
1. Identify impediments that have most negative impact on having ‘fun’ at work
2. Select a handful of impediments that should be worked through resolution.
For impact assessment, ‘dot-voting’ could be a technique to bubble up impediments that sap most energy from your team. (As has been done on the picture above)
Many impediments get treated as ‘Business as usual’  - often times because people are not sure how to influence or act towards resolution. Impediments that get ignored or not addressed fall through the cracks and ignored and accepted as norms for team/organization culture.
Recognizing where the team can take action, where they can influence and what is ‘the soup’ is very important to focus on what can be done over what should be done.

As a self directed exercise, the team members move impediment stickies to into an appropriate zone. Items that they feel they can act upon and attempt to resolve within the team fall into the ‘me’ circle. Items that can be influenced and require assistance from managers, organizationals, other teams etc fall into the influence zone. Items that can’t be acted upon or resolved via influence are in the soup. Many organizational scale impediments tend to fall into the soup.

Take action on resolving impediments that are in the ‘me’ zone. Act towards influencing others in your organization to assit with impediments in the ‘influence’ zone. Expose impediments that are in the soup to senior management, as they are best positioned to address these.

Identifying problems have a negative impact while resolving problems have a positive impact.