Is my team dysfunctional, or it is just me? Part 3

By Steve Zuieback · Posted Monday, July 18, 2016


This is the third blog article in sequence on the Leadership Map of Effectiveness developed by Michael Grinder and Steve Zuieback. You can go back Part 1 or Part 2 if that helps you in preparation for this article. If you reviewed these prior blogs, you are aware of the Leadership Map of Effectiveness and the four levels of assessment that comprise this map. This current blog is focused on assessment level 3 - the Complexity Level of the Issue.

Once you have moved the team from the left side of the Functionality Continuum to somewhere in the middle of the continuum, the job of the leader/facilitator is to match the complexity of the work with the developmental level of the team. This used to be hard work but now it is made much simpler with an understanding of the Ralph Stacey Model.

This is a new version of the Ralph Stacey Model demonstrated in earlier blogs and articles. This version was developed by Tim Dalmau and myself and is discussed in our E-Book, From Diagnosis to Practice. In this version, we have shifted the labels to reflect the complexity of work, moving from Straightforward to Complicated to Complex, and then on to Chaotic. The concept of using the model is still the same. The team would take a specific issue and compare it against two variables:

  1. Level of Agreement on a particular approach, and
  2. Level of Certainty that a particular approach or strategy will achieve the desired outcomes

As is described in the video, the team determines where the issue falls on the Ralph Stacey Model. If the issue falls in the Straightforward zone, the leader should simply make a decision and move forward. If the leader spends precious team time on an issue that the team ranks as straightforward it will only frustrate the team and the leader will lose permission.

If the issue falls in either the Complicated or Complex zones, this is the sweet spot for having a high-quality dialogue with the team. It would be the leader/facilitator's role to select the appropriate process matched to the desired outcomes of the team. The selection of the "right" dialogue process will be explored in Part 4 of this series of blogs. 

If the issue falls in the Chaotic zone and it is urgent, the Leader should get some thinking from the group but make their own decision about what to do. They must also manage the unanticipated consequences associated with acting on a chaotic issue.

What do you get by matching the complexity of the issue with the level of team readiness? Now we have arrived at the real crux of the issue and the payoff for your team. By utilizing this simple Ralph Stacey Model the team will experience:

  1. Success and results on the work which leads to,
  2. Enhanced levels of ownership for the work and commitment to the team which leads to,
  3. Improvement in the level of functionality of the team

Give it a try and let me know who it works for you. 

The next blog in this series, "Is my team dysfunctional or is just me?" will address the issue of matching the right dialogue process to the readiness of the team. You can read more about how the Leadership Map of Effective in my other blogs and through my new E-Book, From Cat Herding to Leadership.



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