Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tolerance for Error In Today’s Economy?

In today’s economy, there’s no longer any tolerance for error. The airline industry figured this out a long time ago since the consequences of a glitch are grave. The health care industry isn’t far behind. For some teams, absolute interdependence is non-negotiable.

When safety and health are not at stake, tolerance for error comes with a little wiggle-room. Learning from mistakes is the fuel for invention and growth. More and more, however, businesses are forced to treat team effectiveness as a requirement. The fat has been trimmed from most organizations. Employees who have survived workforce reductions are carrying the loads of those who have left. Mistakes are more costly than ever before. While the survival of a human may not be at stake, the future of an organization may be teetering.

In the health care industry where medical error costs families nearly 100,000 lives each year, patient safety specialists have begun to look at the data. Why does one surgeon’s team commit more errors than another when the procedures, tools and space are identical?  Why does a PM shift experience a different error rate than a day shift? Might the difference lie in something as simple as communication, collaboration, and teamwork? Leading institutions are now mapping their patient safety data to team effectiveness metrics. Common sense gets validated.

You don’t have to be in the business of taking care of people to approach risk reduction with such urgency. Any organization can measure their team effectiveness and map it to their performance. You just have to be willing to live with the answers that arise from the question.

Does your business still have room for error in today’s economy?


Anyteam, Anywhere, Anytime

The CEO asked her team for fifteen minutes of their time to complete the Team Clock Online Assessment survey. She knew her team was strong but wanted to dig a little deeper into what opportunities might arise from pushing them to the next level. She wasn’t prepared, however, for the results when she pressed “submit” to download her summary report.

100% participation from her team yielded a valid portrayal of the divergence of opinion amongst her team. In fifteen short minutes, they had spoken. As expected, they were organizationally strong in every category. Their mean scores were impressively high. Team like this know this about themselves. There is consensus investment in a common vision. They hold themselves and each other accountable. They innovate and exceed the expectations of their deliverables. They move with nimble focus when faced with change.

The mean scores didn’t tell the story. The insights were embedded in the standard deviations. Surprisingly, our CEO discovered that her strong, unified team had widely divergent perspectives on how best to approach the market challenges lying ahead. The business was nearing a sunset after thirty years of impressive impact in their industry. The succession plan was to fold the tent and celebrate a job well done. However, a significant faction of the team imagined the path to legacy differently than the leadership. Some team members were happy to ride into the sunset with smiles on their faces basking in the contentment of three decades of accomplishment. Others were energized to go out in a blaze of glory with a final push of disruptive innovation.

The team wins either way. The beauty of the dilemma lies in the conversation. By having the bravery to ask the question, the team now seizes the opportunity to steer their course with representation and intention. Self-determination and empowerment guide the future. The CEO asked her team for fifteen minutes of their time.

Instant Insights. Anyteam, Anywhere, Anytime