Three Steps to Team Effectiveness

by Jim Jensen, FSA

We’ve all been on effective and ineffective teams.  It’s not surprising as the operation of a team is necessarily more focused on the team than it is on any individual team member.  While many things make a team effective and any number of things can make them ineffective, I’ve observed that three key steps can make a big difference in a team’s effectiveness.

  • The first step is for the team to define and document both the expectations team members have of each other and what the team is trying to accomplish.  Knowing where you’re going and agreeing on how you’re going to get there is important and it can be accomplished in little more than 30 minutes.
  • The second step is to manage and improve this document as the team moves forward, as reality sets in and as things change.  Making those changes before issues emerge is exactly why peace treaties are most effective when defined during times of peace rather than during times of war or conflict.
  • The third step is for team members to actually use this document as they make decisions and as they move forward – and that requires constant presence and awareness.  One effective way to do this is to put this information at the top of team documents as a constant reminder.

These seem like simple and obvious steps – but stop to think how few teams you’ve seen or been on actually do this.  If your team isn’t as effective as it needs to be and needs help with these and other steps, please feel free to contact us at

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