The 9 Questions Model of Team Effectiveness

The 9 Questions Model of Team Effectiveness

The high-performing, high-learning team

Where do high-performing, high-learning teams come from? If you believe the status quo, it’s a simple question of starting with the right people, a bit of social ‘team building’, and then hours clocked working together… and hey presto, a High-Performing Team. That’s what we find most team leaders do: put together or join a team, book a team-build, maybe run through a psychometric if you’re a fan of data, and then get down to business. Even if you’re holding regular retrospectives, you’ve probably found these focusing on the tasks the team performs, rather than the effectiveness of the team itself.

At CharacterScope, we see team development as a continuing journey, one that is unique to each team, and delivers real and significant performance benefits. It can be enjoyable, frustrating at times, and deeply rewarding. We find the 9 Questions Model of Team Effectiveness is both a perfect starting point for teams keen to develop themselves and become a high-performing, high-learning team, as well as a continued roadmap on the journey. It’s a way of providing structure and direction to your team development.

The 9 Questions model builds directly out of the 9 Leader types from the CharacterScope framework, so the more familiar you are with the CharacterScope framework, the easier a team will find it to orientate its development. But even in its own right, the questions asked by the model can turn a team’s focus to what is important to develop right now.

The 9 Questions

So, we have 9 straightforward questions to ask you and your team:

  1. are we disciplined in working to improve our effectiveness and performance?
  2. do we know where we are going and believe we are doing something meaningful?
  3. do we know how to achieve our goals?
  4. do we get the best from each other?
  5. do we push through obstacles and setbacks?
  6. do we know who to influence and how?
  7. do we spot and capture opportunities along the way?
  8. have we brought our purpose to life and feel motivated?
  9. do we create and innovate?

If you have got clear and positive answers to all of them, and if the rest of your team and stakeholders agree with you – congratulations! You’re already a guaranteed high-performance, high-learning team. Of course, there’s plenty you can do to keep honing your edge as a team, finding ways of keeping yourselves sharp and finding routes to break-through performance.

Let’s explore the different elements…

Team disciplines

We often find ourselves returning to the central question in the model: to the team disciplines. These are disciplines that form the core of team performance and development. 

Why disciplines? Quite simply, if you watch any sports team, music group, theatre group or any other performance group you will see one clear difference to most business teams. It’s that they rehearse, practice and train together so that, come their performance, they are as united and as effortless in playing together as possible.

By contrast, most teams in business and organisational life focus the vast majority of their time on performing the task at hand and very little on the disciplines of development: working at getting better at working together.

New teams

If you’re a new team, or new to team leadership, the chances are you won’t know the definitive answer to the 9 Questions yet, so we would usually recommend you focus your energies initially on the ‘foundational four’ questions:

Exploring these questions will help you rapidly create a team that is clear what its purpose is, feels motivated to achieve its goals, has a good enough idea how to reach these goals, and has set a foundation of inclusion and valuing of each team member’s contribution.

The performing team

If you’re a team that’s been together for a while, there’s a good chance you’re already clear about your goals and what you need to do to get there. You may also be clear about each team members’ role and contribution, how the team can get the best from each other. In other words, the ‘foundational four’ questions are clear to you.

But you may feel that there’s a performance break-through your team needs to achieve, in which case the ‘central three’ questions could be just what you need.

The established team

If your team is well established and has been performing strongly for a while, it may be time to shake the team up a bit and see if it can find new opportunities, new innovations, new energy to take itself to the next level.

Exploring these four questions will guide you as a team to find fresh energy and inspiration.

Team Effectiveness Review

A structured way to start is with what we call a ‘team effectiveness review’: it’s a quick way of getting your team’s views on the 9 Questions and serves as a diagnostic as to where your team should focus its development. You can answer as team members, but also ask customers and other stakeholders outside of the team whose opinion you value.

At its simplest, just rate each question on a scale of 1-10, then go back and pick a single question which you think represents a key strength that your team should cherish, and finally pick a single question which represents the area the team most needs to improve. Where is there consensus amongst respondents? What are the different perspectives?

You can visualise the results in several different ways. Here’s an example that shows the spread of responses you might get:

Why wait?

The 9 Questions Model of Team Effectiveness is designed to give you a comprehensive road-map to creating a high-performance, high-learning team: a team that combines Team Unity (having a united and strong identity) and Team Fluency (being great at playing to each others’ strengths).

Starting with a team effectiveness review, holding a workshop to explore the results, then choosing an area to focus on is a great way to kick-start your team’s development. If you’re already a CharacterScope member, take a look at the 9 Questions Model playlist to begin, otherwise try a free 14-day of CharacterScope Teams and get started on your own team journey.

What type of leader do you have the potential to be?

What type of leader do you have the potential to be?

Understanding yourself and your potential as a leader.

Completing a CharacterScope Self-Review is your opportunity to discover yourself as a leader.

Like working with any good coach, the starting point is a thorough review:

  • What are your strengths?
  • Your gaps?
  • Which of the 9 Leader Types is your best fit?
  • Is this in line with your aspirations as a leader?

The CharacterScope 9 Leader Types

Each type has a unique way of leading and inspiring those around them. The below explanations can help you decide your aspirational leader types.

If you want to find out more about how CharacterScope can support your development click here.

The Innovator

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

Miles Davis – Jazz musician

They are willing to think the unthinkable, make connections others miss, good at anticipating how the world may change and are willing to make bold, game-changing decisions, even at the risk of failure or seeming foolish.

The Entrepreneurial leader

“It was so hard to get a record deal on my own that it was either give up or create my own company.” Jay Z – Music, recording, clothing, sports agency They are great at spotting the potential in situations and have the network of contacts, personal resourcefulness and determination to follow through and turn possibilities into reality.
The Executional leader

“Done is better than perfect” Sheryl Sandberg – Business leader, author The Executional leader is focused and driven to achieve great results. They will work tirelessly on a challenging task until it is completed, galvanising and driving the efforts of others, often with little or no regard for relationships or workplace politics.
The Practical Leader

“It is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

Warren Buffet – Investor

They are great at translating strategy into practical results, with a strong feel for what will work in the real world. They balance the short-term with the long-term, bringing a sustained focus on improving the quality, reliability and effectiveness of whatever they are leading.

The Strategist

“The financial service industry is a service industry. It should service others before itself.”

Christine Lagarde. MD, IMF

They provide strategic clarity to people and organisations. They are valued for their judgement, their wisdom about what is going on and their insight about what needs to happen to move a difficult task forward, unstick a relationship, or handle a tricky people situation.
The Servant leader

 

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”

Nelson Mandela – Statesman, South Africa

The Servant Leader gets their own ego out of the way and focuses on the team and organisation around them. They pull people together around shared goals, recognise and play to people’s strengths and inspire teams to perform strongly. Many come to personify the team, to embody its core values and identity.

The Transformational Leader

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”

Steve Jobs – Apple

They are great at leading people and organisations through change. Some deliver change in processes, products and structures, but the best are just good at changing beliefs, mind-sets and culture.

The Charismatic leader
“Don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” Michelle Obama – Former First Lady, lawyer and writer They seem to pull people towards them – who are drawn by their inner convictions and vision. The best create inspiration, energy and change for people, generating a sense of possibilities and potential.
The Professional

“Always be more than you appear and never appear to be more than you are.”

Angela Merkel – Politician, Germany

Professionals are known for their commitment to mastery of their chosen subjects and their determination to deliver on whatever personal commitments they make. They work with great energy, drive and focus in the service of others.

3 thoughts about you and leadership

3 thoughts about you and leadership

The Solo and Viewpoints reports helps you tune into yourself and understand your strengths, gaps and potential better. It will give you fresh insights into how your unique pattern of strengths means you are suited to make particular leadership contributions.

 

Are you a leader?

You might not think about yourself as a leader, but CharacterScope wants to challenge this thinking. Our simple idea is that everybody leads at different times in their lives and in different situations. And we believe that life does significantly improve for people who become better leaders and for those they lead: work life, home life. social life, maybe even your love life

When we, and the people around us lead well, magic happens. We feel more confident, connected and compelled to step up. We get things done more easily. Day to day experiences are more enjoyable. There’s less friction or wasted time.

We care more.

We feel better.

We are better.

So the question whether you have the title ‘leader’ in your job description matters much less than the pattern of your actions and the qualities of your character.

 

3 things to know about leading

People follow people

Leadership is a personal thing. We follow people because of who they are and what they stand for. And this means others will follow you because of who you are rather than what you know or are good at doing. CharacterScope will help you understand and value your strengths and so be clearer and more confident about who you are as a leader.

Develop through strengths

Effective leadership learning does not come from focusing on your weaknesses. Just as the best athletes understand what disciplines they are suited to, so CharacterScope will help you understand what contribution your strengths naturally suit you to. Building on these strengths will be a more effective route to development than trying to cover off your gaps, becoming something you are not. Development is not about closing gaps.

Mind the gap

No-one is good at everything, no-one has strengths in every area, and we all have gaps in the pattern of our strengths. A gap risks becoming a liability if you ignore it. But rather than trying to turn a gap into a strength, why not get better at spotting and valuing others whose natural strengths can provide cover for your gaps.

 

Read more about the CharacterScope 9 Leader types in the next article: What type of leader do you have the potential to be?

Leadership Aspirations

Leadership Aspirations

Digitally led coaching that guides leaders and their people on a journey from self-awareness to personal development. Shape agile, high performing and inclusive teams.

CharacterScope – developing yourself and your team

Build a connected team: with simple technology and a human touch

Guide your team on a powerful developmental journey, creating a team that combines strong performance with personal growth and learning.
You will be guided through a series of sprints and sessions that weave together 3 strands:
  • your own personal journey
  • your team colleagues’ individual journeys through CharacterScope
  • your team development process
There are comprehensive resources to guide you through each stage, all accessed through the CharacterScope platform.
More connected

Viewpoints, how others see me?

Learn how others see you and the impact you have on the people around you.
This practical experience is backed by insights from the new science of human performance and flourishing, brought straight into your laptop and mobile phone.
 
More skillful

Individual Insight

What are my strengths? What are my gaps? How can I use them to be best in my role?
Highly effective

Understand the team and how to get the best from each-other

What are our strengths as a team? What do we want and need to develop to be a high performing and motivated group?
For individuals and the team

Structured development beyond three months

CharacterScope guides you and your team through a individual and collective journey. 2500+ hours of digital coaching sessions, with CharacterScope guiding you through tablet, mobile and laptop.
Our commitment to you is that we will do everything we can to make that feel like time well-invested.

CharacterScope Blog

Thoughts and news from the team behind CharacterScope.
Teamwork, culture, HR tech, coaching and the future of work.

Snippet – No.5: Bravery

Snippet – No.5: Bravery

Bravery is the thing I have been focusing on for the last few weeks. For me, bravery is not about leaving the house or facing my fears about all the news, its been about the opportunity to take a different approach to my work - being braver about my innovation and...

Snippet – No.4: Fairness

Snippet – No.4: Fairness

Growing up with 6 siblings has contributed to fairness being really important to me! But it’s not always easy to balance my own needs with the needs of others.I give so much energy to everyone else: work, children, family, friends – that the intensity of attempting to...

Snippet – No.3: Perseverance

Snippet – No.3: Perseverance

I didn’t have whatever skills and behaviours I needed for working from home, and I needed to learn fast. Having struggled with English at school, communicating online was always a struggle, and it’s something I avoided. Lockdown has forced me to accept my...

The CharacterScope coaching promise

The CharacterScope coaching promise

Built on 25 years of insight

Built on 25 years of coaching insight, CharacterScope is like having a great leadership coach always available to you, guiding your development day by day

The foundation of CharacterScope comes from the coaching team at The Thinking Partnership. They have been guiding and coaching leaders for more than 25 years, week-in, week-out. Sitting alongside people helping them grapple with challenges, complexity and opportunities, helping them grow and develop. Often these people have not thought of themselves as leaders, just as people trying to get things to happen, sometimes routine, sometimes exciting.

Their key insights? First, that everyone has the capacity to lead. In fact everyone leads in different aspects of their life, even if they don’t call it leadership. Second, that everyone can develop.

 

Making coaching accessible to everyone

But we also know that face to face coaching is expensive and hard to access. Which means that many people don’t reach their full leadership potential.

So we developed CharacterScope to make leadership development accessible for anyone who wants to shape their own future. It draws on our experience and psychological insight as leadership coaches to design the CharacterScope development journey to engage and guide you.

 

Helping you create habits

As much as we may wish for development to happen at the click of our fingers, the reality is that making long-lasting change can be difficult. We are creatures of habit, and forming new ones is not easy. Doing it self-supported is even more challenging.

That’s why these posts are here to help you, to provide insight and inspiration. In return for your engagement with us you have our commitment to continue to improve CharacterScope to make it as good as it can be. 

Our aim

So that’s our ultimate aim with CharacterScope: to help create a world of people willing to lead, confident in their direction and motivated to develop.

To find out more about choosing your aspirations with CharacterScope click here.