Strategic Team Development

Change Makers STRAT Investigation

Introduction:

Change Makers is a team of educational leaders in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. The members include Seabreeze, a high school teacher who is currently serving on a Health and Safety Committee, Robert Tegelberg, an elementary school teacher who has been a member of several teams within his school, and Stella Peters, a high school vice principal and international student program coordinator who is a new member of the senior administrative team at her school.

Each member of Change Makers completed the STRAT survey, found in Appendix B in Hughes, Collarelli Beatty, and Dinwoodie (2014). The Strategic Team Review and Action Tool (STRAT) is a tool that can be used by a strategic leadership team (SLT) to determine the strengths of a team as well as areas that require improvement. Hughes et al. (2014) recognize the purpose of the STRAT instrument “is to generate conversation within a team about the team’s effectiveness” (p. 227).

Procedure:

  1. Each Change Maker member completed the STRAT survey.
  2. The survey was given to the Change Maker’s team assignment leader, Stella Peters, to score.
  3. A time was established for the team to meet via conference call to debrief the STRAT survey results.
  4. The team leader created and shared a Google Document, which included an agenda (see Table 1), based on pp. 295-298 of Hughes et. al (2014).
  5. Results, in the form of average rating, were compiled (see Table 2).
  6. Norm data from Appendix D of Hughes et al. (2014) was added to Table 2.
  7. The team met via conference call at the designated time to discuss the items on the agenda.
  8. Relevant processes and applications were recorded (see Tables 1, 3, 4, and 5)
  9. The assignment was uploaded to the PressBook environment for final submission.

Materials:

  1. STRAT survey
  2. Google Document
  3. Phone conferencing application
  4. Hughes et al. (2014) “Becoming a Strategic Leader.”

Data and Results:

  1. See Table 1 “Change Maker’s STRAT Debrief Meeting Agenda and Minutes”
  2. See Table 2 “Change Maker’s STRAT Survey Results”
  3. See Table 3 “Change Maker’s Top STRAT Items
  4. See Table 4 “Change Maker’s Discussion Summary (Steps 9-13)”
  5. See Table 5 “Change Maker’s Areas of Improvement (Step 14-15)”
Table 1: Change Maker’s STRAT Debrief Agenda and Minutes
STEP
LEADER
DETAILS
2: Icebreaker Seabreeze Stella is vice principal on senior leadership team;
Seabreeze is a teacher on the health and safety committee;
Rob is an intermediate teacher on the education committee
3: Purpose of meeting Stella Generating discussions to evaluate how we are working together and to learn about each other’s strengths as strategic leaders and how we can complete this assignment effectively
4: Norms of the meeting Stella We will hear each other’s opinions;
Stella will initiate transitions to new tasks in the assignment;
Rob will be the secretary;
Everyone will sign off on our minutes;
Seabreeze will be the timekeeper
5: What defines team success? Stella See Table 3
6: Look over data and explain how to read it Stella Averaged each point and ranked from the highest to the lowest. Beside each question is the criteria number.
7: Compare data to Norm Data Rob The Norm Data is based on more than 12000 respondents over a nine-year period
8: Reflection Stella A lot of our averages were very high compared to the Norm Data. Typically Seabreeze’s responses were lower than Stella’s and Rob’s, possibly due to a very diverse team. For example, Seabreeze’s team is made up of representatives from different unions that fill different roles in an educational setting including Janitors, SEA’s, Teachers, Administrators unions. Our results could also be affected by daily events and attitudes.
9-13: Discussion All See Table 4
14-15. Areas of improvement and causes All See Table 5
16. Group goals (3 max) All Goal 1: Implement a timekeeper on our respective SLTs

Goal 2: Focus more on global direction planning and long-term goals

17. Goal leaders All In our organizations we would assign a leader, however, in our group, we assigned Seabreeze to be our timekeeper today to keep us on task.
18. Next steps All Organization specific. For this assignment:
– Fill out table 5
– Stella is going to share this with Dr. Atha and clarify formatting (Tuesday)
– Review our minutes and ensure we all agree with the minutes
– Rob is going to add Norm Ranks to Table 1
– Stella is going to do an introduction and summary (Monday night)
–  Rob and Seabreeze will review Monday midnight

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Change Maker’s STRAT Results

RANK

CHANGE MAKER’S
AVERAGE

STRAT
NORM
DATA

STRAT
NORM
RANK

STRAT QUESTION RANKED BY AVERAGE

 (highest to lowest)

1 4.66 3.64 22 1. This SLT regularly and realistically assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses
2 4.33 3.93 6 2. This SLT understand the threats and opportunities in the external environment
2 4.33 4.09 2 6.  This SLT is clear about our basic purpose and core values
2 4.33 3.67 17 14. This SLT shares information well with each other
2 4.33 3.85 9 15. Members of this SLT have constructive interactions with others throughout the organization
2 4.33 3.65 20 17. Getting ahead here depends on performance, not politics
2 4.33 3.82 10 22. Members of this SLT trust and respect each other
2 4.33 3.85 8 23. This SLT fosters cooperation rather than competition across organizational units
3 4.0 3.70 15 9. There are few undiscussable subjects here
3 4.0 3.98 4 10. Different opinions are welcome
3 4.0 3.86 7 12. This SLT works well together
3 4.0 4.06 3 13. This SLT is composed of diverse individuals with complementary talents
3 4.0 4.14 1 25. This SLT exhibits a high level of integrity
3 4.0 N/A N/A 30. This team has the right composition to achieve its purpose
3 4.0 N/A N/A 32. This team has direct or indirect control of the resources it needs to accomplish its task
4 3.66 3.78 12 3. This SLT has a shared vision of our future
4 3.66 3.68 16 5. This SLT keeps abreast of technological, cultural, and market trends
4 3.66 3.57 24 8. This SLT encourages others to improve by experimenting with new or different ways of doing things
4 3.66 3.71 14 16. This SLT actively supports executive growth and development
4 3.66 3.55 25 18. This SLT strikes an appropriate balance between dealing with short-term and long-term needs
4 3.66 3.72 13 21. This SLT responds effectively to opportunities and threats in the environment
4 3.66 3.95 5 26. I am proud of the way this SLT handles issues of right or wrong
4 3.66 3.80 11 27. There is a positive sense of energy and excitement around here
4 3.66 N/A N/A 31. This team has access to the relevant information it needs to make decisions and take action
5 3.33 3.65 19 4.  Individuals at all levels understand how their roles support the organizational mission
5 3.33 3.66 18 19. This SLT encourages an appropriate level of risk taking
5 3.33 3.38 27 20. This SLT does not waste its own or others’ energy on unproductive activities
5 3.33 N/A N/A 28. This SLT has a widespread agreement about what are the most important organizational priorities (key success factors) needed to drive our sustainable competitive advantage
5 3.33 N/A N/A 29. This SLT has clear responsibility for contributing to one or more of the key drivers of our organizational success
6 3.0 3.64 21 24. We share best practices across individuals and departments
7 2.66 3.61 23 7. This SLT thinks globally
7 2.66 3.46 26 11. Our strategy is discriminating: clear about what we will do and clear about what we will not do

 

Table 3: Change Maker’s Top STRAT Items

STELLA

SEABREEZE

ROB

3. SLT has a shared vision of the organization’s future 3. Shared Vision of the future 6.Clear about our basic purpose and core values
9. SLT has few undiscussable subjects 1. Regularly and realistically assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses 14.Shares information well with each other
22. Members of this SLT trust and respect each other 2. Understands the threats and opportunities in the external environment 22. Members of this SLT trust and respect each other
23. SLT fosters cooperation rather than competition across organizational units 14. Shares information well with each other 25. This SLT exhibits a high level of integrity

 

Table 4: Change Maker’s Discussion Summary (Steps 9-13)

TOPIC

RESPONSES

I am pleased that the data shows our strengths are…. Stella: we don’t have rose colored glasses on. Our organizations have a realistic and honest view.
Seabreeze: we are open to communication and discuss what is important
Rob: our organizations have respect and trust; there is a community feel.
When I look at the data, I am confused by… Stella: our last rank, we aren’t clear about what we won’t do. I am frustrated that our global perspective is low when that is an essential part of my role
Seabreeze: we share best practices across departments, as a health and safety member I have clear best practices so to see it low is difficult
Rob: the difference in results on number 11 as our results are very different from the norm. It would be interesting to explore the reason for the different results
Given what is important to the team, I think we need to focus on improving… Stella: productivity as seen in number 20 (ranked 5). Time is a limiting factor in what we do, so it must be used effectively
Seabreeze: number 29 (rank 5) are we too focused on the task and less focused on the drivers. Meetings revolve around fire drills or problem management rather than having a clear understanding of the drivers of organizational success
Rob: being intentional in our meetings and using our time to further the vision of the organization rather than get caught up in self-agendas and daily problems

 

Table 5: Change Maker’s Areas of Improvement (Steps 14 – 15)

TOPIC

RESPONSES

ROOT CAUSES 

Are there areas where we have confusion contributing to our challenges as a team? Time management
Lack of focus
Lack of a global perspective
Self-agendas, not being clear on drivers, poor time management of the meeting, etc.
Lack of global perspective is due to schools being quite insular by nature
Are there ways we could build on our strengths to help with the challenges we have? Building on our constructive interactions and clear communications we can take more risks, implement timekeepers, It hasn’t been a priority, and we have prioritized personal interactions and putting out fires over furthering the organization. Short term distractions have kept us from the long-term strategic planning.
Is there any way we are overusing a strength, so that it might be working against us? We need to be more direct with time management while at the same time not damaging relationships. We focused on building a community when the community has already been built. Sometimes we spend too much time hearing each other out or hearing everyone’s opinions about things that can be delegated or dealt with in a smaller group or subcommittee.

Conclusion:

Implementing the Strategic Team Review and Action Tool in the Change Maker’s team was productive in clarifying areas of strength in the SLTs we are involved in, as well as areas to focus on improving. The tool strengthened our group communication and helped us to understand each member better. A few of us are considering introducing the tool to our work SLT’s in the future.

Reference

Hughes R., Colarelli-Beatty K. & Dinwoodie  D. (2014) Becoming a strategic leader. San  Francisco: Jossey-Bass Second Edition.