Like all effective models, the Healthy Team Model gives us a simple way to organise complex thoughts and ideas.
Building a happy, effective, productive, innovative, successful team is hard work. But that doesn’t mean the components of a Healthy Team are difficult to understand. The Healthy Team Model organises the components of effectiveness into three simple categories:
- What Healthy Teams ‘Know’
- What Healthy Teams ‘Do’
- How Healthy Teams ‘Lead’
You can use the this model as an aspirational descriptor for your team. It will help you to create a vision for the sort of team you want to nurture, assess the way your team currently performs and to plan targeted development that will increase your team’s health.
No matter what strengths individuals bring, they will only be effective as a team when they share a critical understanding of these 3 key areas:
Ourselves and each other
Members of Healthy Teams understand themselves and their teammates deeply.
They are honest with themselves about their own strengths and weakness, skills, talents, knowledge, experience and they are thoughtful about how they can apply them within the team
They know each other as people – their likes, hobbies, habits, experiences, motivators, influences.
They know each other as professionals – skills, experience, working style, decision-making process and communication style.
Healthy Teams have a crystal clear understanding of their purpose. They know exactly why they are together and what is expected of them. They are able to describe what ‘winning’ looks like in their team.
With a clear sense of purpose, a Healthy Team is able to develop a true functional identity. They know what sort of team they need to be to achieve the outcome they collectively understand.
With a clear understanding of purpose, Healthy Teams are able to develop a plan to fulfill that purpose. Each member of the team owns the plan wholeheartedly.
The plan articulates the work that will be done, the role each member will play and the way the team will function to get the work done.
Once a team understands each other, their purpose and their plan, they can start putting all that energy and knowhow to into action. They can start doing the things that Healthy Teams ‘Do’:
Stick to the Plan
Healthy Teams stick to the plan they created because they own it and because it was developed with a sober understanding of the team’s true purpose and with deep knowledge of the attributes each member brings to the team.
When circumstances change, Healthy Teams analyse the true nature of the change, assess its potential impact and then argue (in the true sense of the word) what their response could be. Then they make a new plan. And that’s their plan. And they stick to it – until something else changes that requires their considered attention.
Every member of a Healthy Team executes on the skills and knowledge for which they are famous; the attributes that earned them a spot in the team in the first place.
They execute in a way that is consistent with the team plan – the plan that each member played a role in developing; the plan to which each member is unquestionably committed.
Within a Healthy Team, each member continues to refine, broaden, deepen, fine-tune and develop the skills and knowledge for which they are famous. They continue to develop their understanding of themselves and each other and work out new ways to turn that understanding into action.
Healthy Teams have systems for communication that work. And they use them.
It is the quality of communication within a Healthy Team that allows it to be greater than the sum of its parts.
A Healthy Team respects the process of communicating so that everything they say, write and nod to each other is understood as true, important and relevant.
The work Healthy Teams use what they know about each other – skills and knowledge, thirst for detail or big picture, time to reflect or fast paced, need for closure or open-ended possibilities, preference for numbers or theoretical connections – and they apply it in the pursuit of purposeful communication.
To support the ‘Knowing’ and ‘Doing’, Healthy Teams embody disciplined and mature leadership:
Respect the Structure
The simple fact is that there is a chain of command that runs through every organisation, department and team. And Healthy Teams respect this in a mature and constructive way. They live by a familiar tenet:
- Give us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change
- The courage to change the things we can
- And the wisdom to know the difference
Members of a Healthy Team have an attitude that says, ‘I will always voice my considered opinion, but then, no matter the decision, I will support it’.
Lead and Follow
In Healthy Team everyone leads and everyone follows. Because they know each other so well, are committed to their mission and the plan, communicate with precision, a Healthy Team wants the right person leading at the right time. And the rest will follow.
Members of Healthy Teams have the courage to step up and shine when their skill-set is required. And their teammates demand it.
Hold each other to Account
Members of a Healthy Team will – must – call each other out when their performance or behaviour is detracting from their collective efforts.
Healthy Teams have established a plan for the work they do and the way they do it. They expect each other to commit and execute on that plan. When those plans are not followed faithfully, Healthy Teams refuse to sweep issues under the carpet to either fester away like rotting flesh or to sabotage their collective efforts.
Healthy Teams hold each other to account in an emotionally intelligent way. They don’t act out of anger or frustration. They don’t seek to humiliate or shatter the confidence of any of their teammates. They hold each other to account in a considered, respectful, proactive and constructive way.
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