Strategic Team Development
In a world experiencing change at an incredibly fast rate, a business needs to have an effectively functioning team to be successful. Members of the team need to be functioning at their full potential for the team to experience success in today’s competitive business environment.
Our team, The Extraordinary Educators, is composed of four individuals from around the globe. To this team, each of us brings unique experience and perspectives which are not only inspirational, but help us to better understand the requirements for effectively functioning teams and strategic leadership.
Each member of our team completed and submitted the results of the STRAT analysis according to the teams in which they work with on a daily basis. Once the averages were organized, we debriefed and discussed the results.
Appendix E: Talent Sustainability Requirements (Hughes et al., pp. 303-304)
|Average Rating for The Team of Extraordinary Educators||STRAT Survey Questions|
|4.3||1. This strategic leadership team regularly and realistically assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses.|
|4.3||16. This strategic leadership team actively supports executive growth and development.|
|4||3. This strategic leadership team has a shared vision of our future.|
|4||4. Individuals at all levels understand how their roles support the organizational mission.|
|4||13. This strategic leadership team is composed of diverse individuals with complementary talents.|
|4||25. This strategic leadership team exhibits a high level of integrity.|
|4||31. This team has access to the relevant information it needs to make decisions and take action.|
|3.8||5. This strategic leadership team keeps abreast of technological, cultural and market trends.|
|3.8||8. This strategic leadership team encourages others to improve by experimenting with new or different ways of doing things.|
|3.8||14. This strategic leadership team shares information well with each other.|
|3.8||19. This strategic leadership team encourages an appropriate level of risk taking.|
|3.8||20. This strategic leadership team does not waste its own or others’ energy on unproductive activities.|
|3.8||22. Members of this strategic leadership team trust and respect each other.|
|3.8||23. This strategic leadership team fosters cooperation rather than competition across organizational units.|
|3.8||30. This team has the right composition to achieve its purpose.|
|3.5||2. This strategic leadership team understands the threats and opportunities in the external environment.|
|3.5||6. This strategic leadership team is clear about our basic purpose and core values.|
|3.5||10. Different opinions are welcome|
|3.5||11. Our strategy is discriminating: clear about what we will do and clear about what we will not do.|
|3.5||12. This strategic leadership team works well together.|
|3.5||15. Members of this strategic leadership team have constructive interactions with others throughout the organization.|
|3.5||18. This strategic leadership team strikes an appropriate balance between dealing with the short-term and long-term needs.|
|3.5||21. This strategic leadership team responds effectively to the opportunities and threats in the environment.|
|3.5||24. We share best practices across individuals and departments.|
|3.5||26. I am proud of the way this strategic leadership team handles issues of right or wrong.|
|3.5||27. There is a positive sense of energy and excitement around here.|
|3.3||7. This strategic leadership team thinks globally.|
|3.3||9. There are few undiscussable subjects here.|
|3.3||17. Getting ahead here depends on performance, not politics.|
|3.3||29. This strategic leadership team has clear responsibility for contributing to one or more of the key drivers of our organizational success.|
|3.3||32. This team has direct or indirect control of the resources it needs to accomplish its task.|
|3||28. This strategic leadership team has widespread agreement about what are the most important organizational priorities (Key success factors) needed to drive our sustainable competitive advantage.|
|Frequency:||5- 19, 4-45, 3-62, 2-2, 1-0|
Assessing the averages of The Extraordinary Educators
In assessing and reviewing our results according to the STRAT assessment we would like to note that each member of our Strategic Leadership Team, The Extraordinary Educators, comes from a distinct background. Layla, is part of a small team of 12 people. Her team is responsible for training and educating employees in a national energy organization in Beijing, China. Sally is a part of a team of three teachers who work together to teach the Grade 3 curriculum in a public school environment in British Columbia, Canada. Sadie is a part of a team of approximately 50 staff members who work together in education at an elementary school, in Alberta, Canada. Marcelo is a principal of a small school in Paraguay.
Each member of our Extraordinary Educators team brings a variety of experiences and valuable information to our STRAT assessment. Our average score of 3.3, with our most frequent rating being 3, tells us that we have much to learn about Strategic Leadership in this course which we will bring back to our individual teams in hopes of sharing new ideas and creating more effectively functioning teams.
Our individual results as well as our team results offer many points for discussion, reflection and suggestions for possible improvements within our own teams. As a team, our highest ratings, which both received an average rating of 4.3, were in the categories of Item 1 “This strategic leadership team regularly and realistically assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses” and Item 16 “This strategic leadership team actively supports executive growth and development.” (Appendix E) Hughes et al., (2014) tell us “when senior leaders ask us how to be more effective regarding challenges related to leading change, shaping culture, spanning boundaries, and leveraging polarities, we encourage them to start by assessing how confident they feel about certain competencies that we have seen to be important to enacting strategic leadership at the individual level” (p. 210-211). Each of the individual teams’ ability to reflect and assess strengths and weaknesses is a strength in our organizations. “In superior-performing organizations, the leaders tend to be good at addressing leadership imperatives that in today’s business scenario are particularly pertinent” (Hughes et al., 2014, p. 210). As teams, it is important to be able to balance current operational needs while looking at the growth and development of our team members and our organizations. (Hughes et al., 2014)
As seen in Appendix E, our lowest rated component of the STRAT assessment, which had an average rating of 3, was Item 28 “This strategic leadership team has widespread agreement about what are the most important organizational priorities (Key success factors) needed to drive our sustainable competitive advantage.” (Appendix E) Hughes et al. (2014) suggest that key success factors, “are the potential areas of investment that will have a significant impact on the organization’s ability to achieve its performance potential” (p. 37). The team of Extraordinary Educators has discussed this as an area for improvement within each of our own organizations. In creating a unified recognition of the direction of the organization, it is important to clearly articulate and prioritize key success factors and to have all team members aware of the key success factors. Hughes et al. (2014) suggest key success factors as “one of the most critical components of the strategy process” (p. 36).
In discussion and debriefing with the team of Extraordinary Educators, many of us had similar suggestions for areas of improvement for our team. A common topic amongst all members of the SLT team was the need for effective communication. Lepsinger (2010) outlines a three step action plan to benefit and support execution of day to day tasks. (p. 41). “Action plans capture mutual agreement on purpose, clarify individual and team responsibilities, and encourage lateral communication” (Lepsinger, 2010, p. 42). In discussion, it was clear that each of our teams can improve in communicating across several areas of the organizations including key success factors, clear expectations, the mission, vision and values of the organizations, how to effectively collaborate as well as communicating challenges, setbacks and difficult subject matter. “Strategic leadership requires making common sense amid complex and ambiguous conditions” (Hughes et al., 2014, p. 81). When team members are experiencing a lack of clarity about direction, they will also experience disorganization, confusion and frustration in executing daily tasks. (Hughes et al., 2014). “Strategic leadership involves making common sense amid just such chaotic conditions” (Hughes et al., 2014, p. 81). Although communicating effectively poses many challenges for the team, it is essential in creating a shared understanding of direction and a unified vision for the future. (Hughes et al., 2014).
Another point for discussion among The Extraordinary Educators was how our organizations adapt to change. Some of our teams, do this better than others, but each of us noted that this is an area for possible improvement within our organizations. In Senge’s Five Disciplines, Zeeman (2017) writes “the most successful companies are those who can learn and adapt to new models to become faster than its competitor” (Zeeman, 2017). It is important for our organizations to be open to embracing the possibilities and opportunities for growth that come with change. (Zeeman, 2017). In discussion with our team, the fear of change or experiencing new things as seen in our ratings for these categories in Appendix E, may come from a fear of making mistakes, a fear of judgement or a feeling of lack of respect from team members. Zeeman (2017) suggests implementing Senge’s Five Disciplines model in order to minimize these feelings and create a healthy learning and working environment so employees feel motivated to “go the extra mile” (Zeeman, 2017, para. 3). Zeeman (2017) tells us, “it is crucial for the workforce to consider its colleagues as team members instead of rivals…The working environment should be safe where honest mistakes are forgiven” (para. 7). If each of our organizations experienced an environment as Zeeman (2017) suggests, people would feel safe in dealing with change. They would see the benefits of growth and change and would be more committed to the vision of the organization. Atha (2018) tells us “the smallest changes can produce large results” (para. 13). Each member of our SLT feels motivated from our learnings and discussion of the STRAT assessment. Our knowledge, experience and new ideas will certainly benefit our own organizations as well as our Extraordinary Educators team.
Atha, D. (2018). Systems Thinking: Course learning notes. Retrieved 2018, from https://create.twu.ca/ldrs501/unit-3-learning-activities/
Galbraith, J. (2014) Designing organizations: Strategy, structure, and process at the business unit and enterprise levels (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Holy Family Catholic Regional Division. (2018). https://www.hfcrd.ab.ca/
Hughes, R., Colarelli-Beatty, K., and Dinwoodie, D. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lepsinger, R. (2010). Closing the execution gap: How great leaders and their companies get results. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.0
Zeeman, A. (2017). Senge’s Five Disciplines of Learning Organizations. Retrieved from https://www.toolshero.com/management/five-disciplines-learning-organizations/