Strategic Team Development

The Caretakers Team STRAT Findings

Introduction

Our team is made up of a group of dedicated healthcare professionals in B.C Canada. We all have varied experience. Wafa works for Fraser Health Authority in the laboratory. Pierre is a Director of Care within a long-term care home under the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Kunal works in administration at city dental center. Jessica works for the Fraser Health authority as Coordinator for Home Support. We are “The Caretakers,” and these are our findings.

According to Hughes, Beatty, & Dinwoodie (2014), “strategic leadership team (SLT) refers to individuals who collectively exert significant influence on the strategic direction of the particular” (p.290). The purpose of performing STRAT is to explore the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing our team. The exploration of these areas will allow team members to generate discussion about the teamwork and develop more sense of interactions and effectiveness as an SLT and setting plan to place those changes and make the possible improvements (Hughes et al., 2014). “Though the strategic learning process can begin anywhere, it typically begins with assessing where the organization is” (Hughes et al., 2014, p.71).

Examining the team’s current strategic situation includes an analysis of the opportunities and threats in the industry [healthcare system] as well as the strength and weakness inside our team. The team adapted the strategic team review action plan from Hughes et al. (2014, p.291). Scanning the results and categorizing them in clusters where the team members envision their strengths and manipulate the opportunities through possible future conditions to improve. Atha (2018) says “systems cannot be fully perceived with one set of eyes.”  Therefore, the team will vigilantly monitor the environmental condition affecting the team’s mission, vision, and values. Team effectiveness is measured by “the ability and willingness to make choices among many alternatives of activities in which the team could invest its energy and resources or ask the whole organization to spend (Hughes et al., 2014); thus, reaching full potential.

Procedure:

1. All Members Completed STRAT
2. Members met via Skype to compare and contrast findings
3. Average all STRAT findings
4. Create a Google Document for the Team
5. The team will meet over skype regularly
6. Compile results in a tables
7.  Put all data into the first draft

Materials:

1.Skype video conferencing

2.Google Document

3. Surveys

4. Strategic Leadership Textbook

5. Google Scholar

Results of Data:

Table 1.1

1. This strategic leadership team regularly and realistically assess its organizational strengths and weaknesses. 3.25
2. This strategic leadership team understands the threats and opportunities in the external environment. 3.75
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
5. This strategic leadership team keeps abreast of technological, cultural, and market trends 3.75
6. This strategic leadership team is clear about our basic purpose and core values. 4
7. This strategic leadership team thinks globally. 3.5
8. This strategic leadership team encourages others to improve by experimenting with new or different ways of doing a thing. 4.25
9. There are few undiscussable subjects here. 3.75
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. 3.25
12. This strategic leadership team works well together 3.25
13. This strategic leadership team is composed of diverse 4.25
14. This strategic leadership team shares information well with each other. 4.25
15. Members of this strategic leadership team have constructive interactions with others throughout the organization. 4.25
16. This strategic leadership team actively supports executive growth and development. 4.25
17. Getting ahead here depends on performance, not politics. 3.75
18. This strategic leadership team strikes on appropriate balance dealing with short-term and long-term needs. 3.75
19.  This strategic leadership team encourages an appropriate level of risk-taking. 3.5
20.  This strategic leadership team does not waste its own or others’ energy on unproductive activities. 3.5
21. This strategic leadership team responds effectively to opportunities and threats in the environment. 3.75
22.  Members of this strategic leadership team trust and respect each other. 3.75
23.  This strategic leadership team foster cooperation rather than competition across organizational units. 4
24.   We share best practices across individuals and departments. 4
25. This strategic leadership team exhibits high-level integrity. 4
26.  I am proud of the way this strategic leadership team handles issues of right or wrong. 3.25
27. There is a positive sense of energy and excitement around here. 3.5
28. This strategic leadership team has a widespread agreement about what are the most important organizational priorities (key success factors) need to drive our sustainable competitive advantage. 3.75
29. This strategic leadership team has clear responsibility for contributing to one or more of the key drivers of our organizational success. 3.75
30. This team has the right composition to achieve its purpose. 3.75
31. This team has access to the relevant information it needs to make decisions and take action. 3.75
32. This team has direct or indirect control of the resources it needs to accomplish its task. 3.75

STRAT Debrief analysis:

During the icebreaker, we discussed rotating leaders every meeting. The purpose of reframing STRAT is to explore the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing our team. The exploration of these areas will allow team members to generate discussion about teamwork, to develop a sense of interactions and effectiveness as an SLT, to plan changes, and to implement possible improvements. Another purpose of the debriefing meeting is to meet the requirements outlined in the assignment: to determine the potential for strategic team effectiveness.

Our next step was to set some norms for our meeting. We met regularly via Skype at a set time and prepared an agenda to review. All group members picked three critical STRAT items; they felt these items had the most vital influence to the group success. Table 1.2 lists the most critical elements for each team member.

Table 1.2

Critical item #1 Critical item #2 Critical item #3
Jessica 3. This strategic leadership team has a shared vision of the future. 24. This SLT encourages others to improve by experimenting with new and different ways of doing things 22. Members of this strategic leadership team trust and respect each other.
Kunal 19. This SLT encourages an appropriate level of risk taking 20. This strategic team doesn’t waste its own and others energy on unproductive activities.  23. This vital team fosters cooperation rather than competition across the organizational unit.
Wafa 11. Strikes an appropriate balance dealing with short-term and long-term. 22. Member of this SLT trust and respect others. 2. Understand the threats and opportunities in the external environment.
Pierre 10. Different opinions are welcome. 22. Members of this strategic leadership team trust and respect each other. 3. This strategic leadership team has a shared vision of the future.

Team Member’s Reasoning for Critical Items:

Item # 11

We need to set ambitious but achievable targets, so team member knows where we want to go. These include organization-wide goals and individual goals, long-term goals, and short-term goals. If we aren’t clear about where we’re going, we can’t work together to figure out the best way to get there. SLT has implication on a particular business and overall the organization if the work of the team is in service of the long-term success of the organization. (Hughes et al., 2014,  p.198). Therefore, the group represents the confluence of information when people come together and bring multiple perspectives. Thus, considering team members interaction has a crucial effect on team productivity and setting goals, then, determining the success of the team.

Item #2

The importance of understanding the threats and opportunities in external environment has a considerable impact complementing a short-term focus on results with a long-term focus on building capabilities, both individuals and organization (Hughes et al., 2014, p. 204). Differentiating the dimension of the threats and opportunities is vital, fail to recognize the strategic opportunities, thus, fall prey to strategic risks. Therefore, strategic threats can negatively affect the organization and potentially undermine the strategy and strategic vision. 

Item #22

Team members need to be honest, respectful, and transparent when communicating and expressing their thoughts, views, and proposed solutions. Advocating and viewing team members as a unique team and take advantage of the differences.

Item #19

I believe taking risks and challenging on bigger bets are essential for any organization. Following rules and abiding yourself to the set of pre-visualized goal will never give you unexpected and tremendous growth for an organization. As stated by Shinkman (2017),

“The biggest differentiator of these “efficient growth” companies was their ability to allocate capital to bigger, riskier bets. For example, their R&D portfolios were disproportionately slanted toward transformational innovation, their M&A deals were 40% larger on average as a percent of revenue, and they were quicker to reintroduce capital expenditure through the cycle. These riskier bets allowed them to become the “first-movers” in their industry while not spending any more on R&D or acquisitions than others.”

There is a very compelling example of the benefits of taking the risk. We can visualize any bigger company and can judge they are the ones who made more significant risks. According to Shinkman (2017), “Risk leaders can help companies change their approach to new growth opportunities by taking three key steps: “Coordinate risk and strategic planning, Discuss risk appetite within the appropriate context, Develop an active risk appetite”

Item #20

This is one of the whole necessary aspects to be undertaken. The difficulty in achieving goals can be a significant risk factor for not utilizing energy in the proper direction. This can be done by generating specific steps and assessing them at what could be the possible outcomes. With this attitude, less power and more production in any organization could be helpful. This can be achieved by starting from the very bottom without skipping any step to prevent the use of extra energy on unproductive aspects. Involve every layer and looking at every point of the work performed. This could be helpful in avoiding wastage of energy on unproductive elements.

Item #23

Working with competition increases input and quantity but working with cooperation improves quality and team values. Working in collaboration let others understand others motivation and emotions. As stated by Bhasin (2017) “When you foster teamwork in your organization, you will realize that employees fight less especially on issues that do not help the organization. Politicking also reduces as employees realize they are all valuable to the success of the organization.” It also improves knowledge with sharing and provides an opportunity to achieve a goal much sooner as every individual work as a team with a common goal instead of working against each other in competition.

Item # 10

Hughes et al. (2014) say “strategic thinking should be understood as a collective or social, process that includes diverse perspectives from both inside and outside the organization.” (p. 55) They warn against expecting gurus to solve all problems, and alert us to the danger of being blind to “critical contextual dynamics.” Each person brings his or her experiences and biases. Smith (2015) says “these biases affect our view of the world around us, our
response to stimulus constellations, and our interpretation of events.” Having multiple people with different opinions will help the team overcome these biases and formulate fulsome solutions.

Item # 11

Setting goals long and short-term are vital to the teams’ success because it gives members something to work towards and creates a shared vision.

Item #24

Experimenting, trial, and error lead to discovery and innovation. Innovation can lead to more efficient processes.

Strengths & Weakness:

We processed the STRAT aggregate data in Excel, and we were pleased to note our forces of diversity, cooperation, goal orientated, and innovation. When analyzing the data, we were confused by the team’s perception of strategy lacking a clear vision and clarity on primary purpose and value. While our strengths are impressive, the information shows we have many areas with the need for improvement.  Our weakness lies in the team’s direction and alignment, creating a shared vision, and recognizing threats and opportunities.

Areas For Improvement:

Based on the data, we know our areas for improvement to make us a stronger more proficient team are shared vision, collaboration, and identifying threats and opportunities. Is our lack of clarity on fundamental purpose and values contributing to a need to improve our direction and alignment? We collectively agree not having an ultimate goal was indeed halting our progress. Is our strength of diversity negatively affecting us? We kept coming back to this question, and we concluded: “diversity is a recognizable source of creativity and innovation that can provide a basis for competitive advantage” (Bassett-Jones, 2005). Each team member comes with years of expertise in their perspective fields, so we felt diversity was not negatively affecting us.

Root Cause Analysis:

Our reason to do root cause analysis to identify issues within the group and creating approaches to deal with them and to take a preventative measure. We used the “five whys” technique to decipher the cause. Our findings are presented in table 1.3.

Table 1.3

Area for improvement Root Cause Action Plan
Collaboration We didn’t have enough meetings due to commitments outside of class Commit to meeting twice a week
Recognizing threats and opportunities We have not conducted enough research on the current status Identify the gaps in the ongoing process
Shared vision We came from different backgrounds Having more face to face meetings

Goals: This is our consensus, three goals we set for our team:

  1. Focus on the areas needing improvement
  2. Integrating the overall team strength
  3. Collaborating to define a shared vision

Conclusion:

Using the Strategic Team Review and Action Tool proved to be a helpful instrument in identifying the teams’ strengths and weaknesses, areas for growth and goals. The SLT improved our functionality as a team by teaching us how to collaborate more effectively and organizing our thoughts. SLT members came together and decided to bring multiple perspectives and experiences. Driving change and leading successful team involve changing with time. It’s all comes back to taking the strategic risk and knowing when to jump on a good idea.

References

Atha, D. (2018). Unit 3 learning activities. Retrieved from https://create.twu.ca/ldrs501/unit-3-learning-activities/

Bassett‐Jones, N. (2005). The paradox of diversity management, creativity, and innovation. Creativity and innovation management, 14(2), 169-175.

Bhasin, H. (2017). What are the advantages of team cooperation? Marketing 91. Retrieved from: https://www.marketing91.com/advantages-of-team-cooperation/

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, Collarelli-Beatty, K., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-      Bass

Shinkman, M. (2017). How risk management can enable growth. Risk Management. Retrieved from: http://www.rmmagazine.com/2017/11/01/how-risk-management-can-enable-growth/

Smith, P. O. (2015). Leadership in academic health centers: Transactional and transformational leadership. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 22(4), 228–231. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-015-9441-8