As the team lead for a R&D effort related to new cancer drugs for a major pharmaceutical company, Marko knew his team had stellar talent. Individually each team member is a star performer and has a long history of major contributions. The team members were: Erica, mathematician and statistical analyst; John, physicist and electro analysis; Barry, bio-chemical specialist; Alice, organic chemist; and Elaine, science writer, compliance specialist. In their respective fields, the list of awards and contributions to previous R&D efforts is extensive.
As a team, however, their performance had been mediocre and often well below expectations. Some senior leaders were beginning to talk about disbanding the group and starting over which would have been a major failure for everyone in the group. As a team, they were not productive, often arguing over research methods, trial procedures, and quickly finding evidence that undermined the previous meeting’s conclusions.
Some team meetings were so quiet as to be seen as “cold” and other meetings degenerated into terse hypercritical comments toward others’ work. There was a lot of offline discussion of important topics that would have been better to review in public.
Marko entered the team members into TEAMOSITY™
Marko (INTJ) found the following bits through his use of TEAMOSITY™:
- Marko (INTJ) likes teams to work to their highest level of competence.
- Erica (ISTP) relies on expertise in all things and sees everything else as lacking relevance.
- John (INTP) quickly discounts others who lack precision in analysis and wants complete theoretical purity before taking action.
- Barry (INTJ) wants comprehensive solutions founded on systematic analysis.
- Alice (ISTJ) relies on SOPs and traditional methods for verifying information.
- Elaine (INFP) pursues meaning and significance in the smallest of actions.
TEAMOSITY™ suggested the most likely collective team style would be INTJ. That would suggest that the team would not function very well. There would be a lot of internal criticism and rejection of the input of others. Since each member had very specific expertise all of which would have been necessary to move the drugs forward, there would likely be a lot of skepticism. Being an “I” team, TEAMOSITY™ also suggested that a lot of the conflict would stay below the surface, complicating moving forward on key decisions. The team in general and all members other than Elaine did not care about harmony and getting along.
So Marko realized that although there were outstanding individuals with all of the needed expertise on the team, there was little prospect of the productive use of diversity.
Using the Fill Openings routine, and asking TEAMOSITY™ to suggest the type of team member it would take to increase collaboration, communication, conflict management, output and teamwork, the answer was an ENFJ. Marco searched the other possible members for this team and found a very senior respected scientist who was close to retirement and had a lot of experience with getting new drugs to market. Marko added him to the team and put him in charge of actually running the meetings. He was trilled to have this last opportunity to add his wisdom to the mix.
Using the Dysfunction/Accommodation analysis, Marko found the two most troublesome pairs were Elaine and Erica and Elaine and Alice. The core issue was the sensitivity of Elaine’s feelings and her need to bring the group back to strategy and cultural values. Marko held private meetings with both pairs to review the issues and look for solutions in the Type-to-Type tips.
Marko realized that he had not been specific about the talents of each team member with the team and what their strengths bring to the initiative. He also challenged the group to surpass their individual achievements by setting high team goals and developing a new set of capabilities. He had all of the team member attributes discussed in terms of the “lessons of your experience and talents”.
The team reviewed the catch 22 of putting world class individual experts together to accomplish common goals. He challenged each expert to “leave his or her ego at the door” in team meetings and to concentrate at getting the best out of the best diversity in the company. He posed it as an intellectual problem to be solved by superior thinkers.
EXPLORE NEXT STEPS
What would Type to Type tips suggest for Marko to pay attention to when trying to create a neutral emotional climate?
What specific communication and meeting preferences do the team members have and how can Marko use these trends to lead team meetings?
Consider the team needs from the perspective of each team member. If each team member used TEAMOSITY™ to understand their reactions and the styles of their teammates, what key tactic would each member need to consider?