Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Design Extraordinary Team Performance

Resumes and personality tests are helpful tools in revealing an individual’s skill-set or personality traits; however, such tools cannot predict how individuals will apply those skills and traits in a real-world/real-work environment. So how do we make up for this lack of information? In the following guest post, Mickey Parsons, The Workplace Coach Founder, describes his experience using 'gut feel' and personality testing to predict an individual's behavior, and how Teamability® emerged to provide the missing link.

In his 2005 book entitled Winning, Jack Welch says that even at his best, he only hired right about 80% of the time. Personally, I think for most of us it is more like 50/50: a simple toss of the coin, despite our best efforts. As a student of human behavior and someone who has been managing people for almost 25 years, I consider myself a good judge of people. And yet, like most, I’ve hired people because I immediately felt a connection or ‘liked’ them or because they reminded me of myself in some way, thinking they could ‘grow into’ the job even if it wasn’t a good match at the moment. About half the time I got lucky, the rest resulted in struggle, high costs and ultimately termination.

Enter Dr. Janice Presser and Teamability®. When I discovered Teamability® through recruiter friends of mine a few years ago I thought, ‘what a terrific way to help people minimize the cost and frustration of putting people in the wrong job.’ I wanted to help my client companies (and myself) build stronger, high performing teams that are more agile, personally rewarding and corporately profitable. So, I went through the initial training and started spreading the word about this exciting new technology.

Then I gave it to someone on my team. And the report came back.

It’s one thing to read a report about someone you don’t know. When it’s someone you think you know, it’s an entirely different matter. Especially when right there, in front of your eyes, it gives you some cautionary statements about how that person will interact with others.

Besides, I’d already read the reports from typical personality tests and they seemed fine, even complimentary. And of course there was that magnificent resume.

Teamability® answers the question, “What really happens when people ‘team’ together?” Twenty-five years of research and testing, including nine years of software development, produced a technology engineered to identify and organize the ways in which people interact in teams. This completely new ‘technology of teaming’ is not derived from personality or IQ testing, from EQ, strengths, or engagement surveys, or from any other familiar tools or methods. During the course of its development, Dr. Presser and her colleague Dr. Gerber discovered some very useful – and practical – metrics of ‘teaming.’ They include:
  • Role: a person's affinity for specific modes of service to the needs of a team
  • Coherence: expressed as positive, flexible, constructive teaming behaviors
  • Teaming Characteristics: individual styles of responding and relating to others, subject to situational context
  • Role-respect: the unique manner in which people of different Roles experience appreciation and respect
  • Role-pairing: known, replicable synergies between specific Roles

So when I read the report, I wasn’t thinking about what the job actually required in terms of interaction. Pretty good for a professional coach, right? Hold on to your hat…it got worse.

At the time, there were things in the report that I did not want to hear about one of my team members. Therefore, I chose to ignore them and even questioned the validity. But hindsight being 20/20, I should have paid attention. And I found that I wasn’t alone.

With time and opportunity, I continued to discuss the technology with my corporate clients as a possible option for designing new teams and bolstering existing ones. I also encouraged HR departments to consider it for employment screening. What I found was resistance. Just like me, these smart, hardworking business owners, leaders and executives were afraid of what they might find; if, after all, some of their suspicions were validated, what would they do about it? Ignore the results as I had or face the potential daunting task of reorganization to get the ‘right people in the right seats on the bus’? As we know, troubles ignored always lead to more distress and demand more resources than they would if we had taken more immediate action.

What are your ineffective leaders, managers and employees costing you? Ultimately, I was fortunate that my employee only cost me the temporary loss of one major account. How tremendous would it be to know in advance how our partners and employees would naturally team at work and avoid such costly mistakes? As leaders, we must be proactive and use what we have at our disposal to build coherent teams…the infrastructure of successful businesses, because at the end of the day, business is all about people. The alternative is too costly in both fiscal and non-monetary terms.

I have come to believe that Teamability® gives us the power to build a more innovative, collaborative (and even happier) workforce. Yes, you might want to move a few people into positions that better match their Roles; you may even want to escort some to new organizations. But the eventual result will be the gift of greater productivity and success for everyone.

I just wish I’d followed my own advice!

This post originally appeared on The Workplace Coach Blog.

About the Author
As Founder of The Workplace Coach, Mickey has coached thousands of executives, business leaders and professionals from local businesses, Fortune 500 companies, to nonprofit organizations and several International clients. Mickey holds a masters degree in educational psychology along with numerous professional credentials, and serves as Assistant Professor of Coaching Psychology for Life University’s School of Psychology in Marietta, GA. Mickey has been a contributor to Men’s Health, Atlanta Journal-Constitution,, among others, and is currently completing a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five Ways to Increase Your Teamability®

Teamability®: The ability to be a great team player.
Everyone wants great team players. What can you do to be a better one? Try answering these questions and you’ll generate your own personalized tips:
  1. Think back over all your job experiences – both paid and volunteer work. What kinds of things really made you feel good? Make a list. Can you find some similarities between them? There’s an excellent chance that you will ‘team best’ when doing work that involves the same types of tasks, responsibilities, and/or work environments.  Consider asking for the opportunity to add or ‘swap’ some of the listed items into your current job.
  2. You don’t have to be a manager to help your teammates. Does someone need a hand with something that you can offer? Go for it!
  3. There’s really no better ‘growth gift’ than honest, caring, respectful feedback. Is there someone you trust to give you some?  If so, go ahead and ask. In fact, your first question should be for feedback on your teamability!
  4. You probably have a good sense of how you make your best contributions to group efforts. But you could be mistaken if you assume that others know this about you. Can you think of some of ways to ‘advertise’ your readiness to take on job challenges that really ‘fit’?
  5. Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school, finish training, or reach a goal. There are always opportunities to develop a new talent, skill, ability, or interest. Are you seeking out the ones that will benefit you while bringing benefits to others?
What will your future look like? With greater teamability, you’ll have broader options, plus the flexibility and support to see them through to a successful conclusion!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to Create Meaningful Work for Life

A wonderful aspect of Teamability® is its capacity to enable people, in all stages of their career, to better understand how they contribute to a team. In this guest post, we are very excited to feature one such experience by our long-time friend and supporter of Teamability®, Jeff Beaudin, from Franklin, TN.
"You accomplished very few of your triumphs, joys, achievements & successes without the participation of at least one other person."  ~ Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Think about that. Go ahead, read it again, I’ll wait.

That truth is so fundamental to every aspect of our lives that I wonder if we take it for granted sometimes. When we examine the topic of 'careers'—choice, management, education, development, counseling, and coaching—teaming is not a prominent, or even present, component. Yet no one finds career engagement, significance, and success without the participation of others. Want to know where you fit, where others fit, and how to create meaningful work for life? Understand how you team.

I’m currently working with college seniors at one of our major universities in Tennessee. Utilizing information derived from Teamability®, the groundbreaking technology that measures and predicts how people will perform in teams, students are learning how to take control of their careers.

The first of two focus areas I introduce to my students is job-fit. Using Teamability, you’re able to measure an individual’s natural attraction to serve one or more of ten universal needs of an organization. These attractions are called ROLES. When job responsibilities and Role align you’re more productive and engaged.

The second area of focus is influence. One of the most important discoveries that emerged from the research behind Teamability is that each Role experiences respect in a distinct way. We call it Role Respect. And when you properly show respect to those around you- bosses, coworkers, customers, and vendors- and you are in a job that fits your Role, you are well on your way to becoming a happy, successful, influential linchpin in your organization.

Understanding how to put yourself in a position to perform your best and learning to be intentional in your interactions is perhaps the primary career consideration. If you consider traditional career advice to be muscle and bone, teaming would be the connective tissue that makes it all work. GenY gets it - which makes me excited for the future of work and the country. Of course, we’re never too old to team better, right Boomers?

About the Author: Jeff Beaudin
Jeff's background is primarily sales and sales leadership positions in the telecommunications and technology industries. Jeff is a certified facilitator and endorsed career coach through Dan Miller's 48 Days to the Work You Love program, and has a BSBA from Southern Wesleyan University. He has built sales teams from the first hire, led and improved existing teams, and assessed the executive, sales, and service teams of potential distribution partners. Since 2010, Jeff has been coaching, consulting, teaching, and training people how to team well and prosper in business and career. He is also among a handful people worldwide with advanced certification in Teamability technology and management methods from The Gabriel Institute.