What is the Team Challenge Process?

What is the Team Challenge Process?


Murata (1995) stated that, ‘a good company means good people’. Peters (1988) concludes that future organisations will be more dependent on people.  For many years now Toyota has developed automated systems with, as Ohno (1988) put it, the “human touch”. 
The success of future businesses will depend on the development of high-performing teams. This would mean that each team member has:
    • the right skill sets;
    • the power to make decisions; and
    • the ability to act on them.
(Muschewse R, 1997)
Perry Simpson, MBA,
Automation specialist
and Co-Founder
of the Team Challenge
Process Company
In an ever-changing world this will need an innovative approach to team building. That is, finding the right balance between empowered teams and leadership styles. 
Business owners need to get employees, from different backgrounds, to be more productive. The building of effective teams should be a priority to achieve business goals. In this way, they will have a more positive attitude towards business objectives. (Kakabadse, Ludlow and Vinnicombe, 1988) 
In a recent report, the emphasis on the need for more employee engagement is once again the top challenge for businesses. London Business School's Leadership Institute cite "employee engagement as being the top challenge." This report included an analysis of 1,248 individual business leaders. (Professor Randall S. Peterson, Academic Director, London Business School's Leadership Institute 2018)
“good company means good people”
This may not be that long-overdue revelation. Decades of research, endless hypothesis and theories, and still no permanent/effective solution. Business owners still still struggle to engage their people. This is true of large, medium and small enterprises alike. 
So, how do business owners engage their employees? 
Well, not more studies! It is likely that any new studies on the topic would only re-iterate what business already knows. Murata, Peters, Ohno, Muschewse and others around their time all agree on one thing - the "true" value of people. 
Yet, the "how to" part of the people engagement, is the one very important piece of puzzle still missing! It was Armstrong (1993) who highlighted the value of social processes in teams. He claimed that "Although considered of value, team building initiatives tend to neglect the social processes". Off-sites, desk top exercises dip into treasure chest, but it the success of these tends to be short lived. 
There are some team building exercises do encourage closer interaction between team members. This is can occur when the exercise involves team members working towards a worthy cause (Kakabadse, Ludlow and Vinnicombe, 1988). This is the cases where a team exercise involves a charity. Research shows that organisations that take part in charity work experience improvements in performance. (Hein and Miele, 1998). 
A 2014 blog post on hrcloud.com cited that Deloitte believe a powerful link between frequent participation in workplace volunteer activities contribute to employees’ perceptions of positive corporate culture. 

Hawthorne's research found that everyone had three basic needs in life. This being: Social, Private and Work needs. His findings supports the importance of "socialising" in the workplace. Furthermore, his findings also suggest that work must have purpose and add value to each individual needs.
So it follows that, socialising in the work place, is necessary for engaging people in the business. It is no secret that team building fosters greater cohesion within teams. It is the social processes that will encourage a team to work more towards a common goal. Where this is a charitable cause, then, it is likely to result in improvements in performance. 
Why is that businesses are still struggling to engage their employees?
Well, team building exercises that do fit within this brief only appear to work in the short term. Most of these are good for boosting the moral amongst the teams, but cannot sustain employee engagement long term. The challenge for business owners is to find ways to sustain employee engagement that is more permanent. This would mean solutions that soften out the saw tooth effect that plaques most team building methods. Solutions that enforce a steady growth and more permanent employee engagement. 
“Success is a process”
All businesses are continuous processes that evolve and change. Change occurs for many different reasons and is often forced on businesses. This can be as a result of many factors. Some due to in-house issues. Others, external factors beyond their control.
The problem is that most businesses tackle problems in isolation. In some cases, different problems relate to one another, so it is not good to resolve each in isolation. This will only result in a short term fix and doesn't prepare the business for the next problem. 
Only by viewing a business as "process" can we begin to achieve realistic continuous improvement. A process is a series of actions taken to achieve a particular end. In most cases this involves people and much needed "human" factor to meet that end. It follows, then, it is continuous improvement that enforces change and sustains it. 
The answer is not to fix our people, but improve the business process using our people. To do that means to have a process to manage change. It really is that simple!
The finding of Murata, Peters, Ohno, Muschewse and today's researchers continue to support this.

Processes empower people to make decisions and act on them. The engagement of people will continue to enhance an individual's skill sets. This will encourage more permanent employee engagement, working toward a common business goal. People feel more valued, satisfying that much needed "Work" need.

The Team Challenge Process

The "Team Challenge Process" provides a means to improve employee engagement in the business. As the name suggests, it is a process for the development of effective people and teams. It's not a band aid or quick, short-term fix. It is a unique approach for building effective, motivated and innovative teams. It is also a very powerful process for solving any complex business problem. 
The original team challenge process arose in response to a directive to put in place a process not a system. This was a project that was the first key milestone of the new joint GM-Renault venture. The challenge was not only to complete this milestone on-time. It also meant installing new technologies not seen before. At the time, the technology gap for the people expected to run such a facility seemed impossible to close. 
To succeed the solution demanded the development of multi-disciplined teams of people. Not easy to achieve in a tough automotive workplace setting. A different and more subtle approach was needed. An approach that would allow the team to practice together as a team, but outside the work place.
The team challenge was set for each multi-disciplined team. This involved designing a non-work related team challenge. The challenge could be anything. It was the team members responsibility to decide on the nature of their challenge. Also, the team's goal was not only complete their challenge, but raise money for a local charity.  It was the team's responsibility to nominate a charity and set a target for the amount of money to raise.
The only involvement of the company was as the sponsors by providing the teams with support. But, their challenge, chosen charity and fund-raising target had to be appraised. This meant there was an approval process whereby, the team had to justify the finance and support need. The team had to present a Team Challenge Plan for approval. 
Finally, upon completion of the team challenge there was a feedback meeting. This was to review 'what went well', 'what didn't go well' and what learning can be useful in the workplace. This involved all parties to ensure that the company could avail of these lessons.
The founders of the Team Challenge Process Company now offer a suite of approaches that focus on: 
  • a) solve business problems; and/or 
  • b) develop effective, motivated and innovative teams. 

Pressure Test


This is time-constrained challenge. A one day challenge designed to press the team to it’s limits by taking them out of their comfort zone. This approach is effective for solving business problems. This approach can simulate any workplace scenario or problem. The pressure test is can improve team performance by building strong teams. Here, a team would complete a non-work related challenge. The challenge can be literally anything, but must include fund raising for a worthy cause or project. Typical business cases could include:
  • Executive off-site to look at challenges facing the business, develop new strategies, etc.
  • Staff recruitment and selection processes. Short list of candidates take part in a simulation to see how they do in a typical workplace scenario. 

Work-Related


This a work-related challenge is a longer term engagement of the team. It depends on the nature of the problem and can span across several months. With this approach the business assigns a team the task of solving a real work-based issue. This empowers the team to work together to find a solution to a real company issue or goal. 
This particular approach is useful where a business problem is complex. It is more suited to issues that involve or affect people in the workplace. Setting team this as a work-related challenge will access that untapped employee intelligence. It will improve employee engagement to achieve a common business goal. 
This makes the work-related approach very suitable for managing change. This is both practical and useful for resolving human resources issues. Typical example could be a new HR policy that requires rolling out throughout an organisation.
The work-related team challenge approach has the added benefit of building effective teams. It encourage innovation within teams and this motivates each individual within the team. This is due to the continuous nature of challenge that tends to extend across a longer period of time. 
Note: It is possible to include a charitable link into a work-related challenge.

Social


The primary goal of the social team challenge is building effective teams. This is a non-work related team challenge to raise funds for a worthy cause. It is the team that are responsible for all aspects of the team challenge. They select the challenge and the worthy cause. They are responsible for defining the targets and preparing a team challenge plan. This is a process and involves the approval of their plan by the sponsor. The sponsor is the business and their only involvement is to provide support.
This challenge that engages the team over a longer period of time. Thus, having the added benefit of building motivated and innovative teams. This style of team challenge promotes innovation from within the team. The team is able to practice working together as a team in a safe and controlled environment. This approach encourages the highest level socialising between the team members as ordinary human beings. Finally, it can bring what the team has learned, back into work place.
The social team challenge approach is the most effective way to build teams. It offers a more sustainable approach because it is a process. A process that engages employees to work together toward a common goal. 

Workshops



A workshop assembles a group of people together to engage in intensive team challenge. Participants work together, sharing their knowledge and expertise, to come up with solutions. The problems can be complex business problems or a good challenge to stretch the team.

The workshops can either be work or non-work related. The main purpose of a work-related workshop challenge is solve business problems. A challenge that engages the employees to work together under pressure.

The primary use of a non-work related workshop challenge is to simulate a real problem or issue. This provides a safe and controlled environment for a team to practice working as a team.

A non-work related workshop can be for charitable cause. This could be for part of charity project or to raise funding or solve a problem. 

All workshops are "bespoke" offering a flexible way to engage people to work toward a common cause.  These can be events that bring business people/owners together from different backgrounds.

This approach is good for small business enterprises and sole traders who may not have a luxury of a team. Workshops are designed to bring people together to work as a 'team' by sharing their knowledge and expertise. A good example would be work as a collaborative team help solve an issue presented by each business owner.

It also provides participants with an excellent networking opportunity in a different environment. These events introduces participants to a very powerful team building/problem solving approach.  Thus, bringing some fresh perspectives back to their individual organisations.

Team Challenge Design


In general, the team challenge process can be part of any worker well-being program. Team challenges can be set to support any personnel development plan. The nature and design of the team challenge can provide continuous employee engagement. It's dynamic nature enables it to be a very effective problem solving tool for any business. The difference, when compared to others, is that it taps into the in-house intelligence. That, held by every employee in the business.

The team challenge must meet the following design criteria:
  • be a challenge for the whole team involve every member of the team in some way
  • stretch and push the team to it’s limits takes the team out of their comfort zone
  • utilises all skills available within the team.

There is no complicated formula for the ideal team challenge. It is a process and that's why it works. Also the importance of leadership becomes clear. The teams are on their own. All they have is a few simple ground rules. The rest is down to them.

This provides the right environment for innovation to flourish and be plentiful. 

“Give them the destination and let them find their own way”


A challenge that involves the whole team will engage of every individual. Even, if one team member does not want to do the challenge. There is an onus on the rest of the team to find a suitable role for the individual. The team has to find a role for everyone. This highlights the strengths and weaknesses. It identifies the leaders and the good/bad team players.


A challenge that pushes the team to its limits will bring out the best in the team. It is not the aim a challenge to stress the team out. But, it is not uncommon for people to pull together in a crisis.  The challenge selected needs to inspire and motivate the team to engage and take action.

The third and by far the most important is to use the skills available in the team. People in business bring an incredible amount on untapped intelligence into the workplace. Many employees turn up for work each day, go through the motions, clock out and go home again. 

As mentioned earlier, Hawthorne stated that everyone has three basic needs in life. Work is the one of the three that is not often satisfied by the work itself.

During a briefing of supervisors in a GM paint shop, a HR consultant stated, "People do not come to work for money”After everyone had recovered from uncontrollable laughter, she continued. Stating, "If you pay an employee more money it doesn't mean they will work harder."


Brendan Foley,
HR professional and
Co-Founder of
the Team Challenge
Process Company
What the HR consult was intimating was that people do not come to work only for the money. People's work needs are important, and the significance of which, is often misunderstood. Employees have skills they gain in pursuit of satisfying their personal needs. These skills could prove very useful to a businesses. Many business owners still underestimate the true value of their employees. 

The team challenge process, by design, will allow access to these untapped employee skill sets. The aim of the challenge approach is to unleash the intelligence of every individual. In this way, it is possible to engage teams in a more positive way. For the employee, it will make them feel they have value and a key role to play. This works toward better satisfying an employees "work" needs. This is very important if you are struggling to keep staff.


So, the team challenge process is a very powerful and effective approach. It's structured and systematic techniques that can help:

  • solving problems
  • managing change
  • building strong teams
The team challenge process is dynamic. This means it can simulate factors that are often beyond the control of a business. In certain scenarios it can help predict and play out different scenarios. Thus, the process can help develop business strategies and plans.

As process, the team challenge process will help businesses to succeed. Some typical examples:
  • Problem identified and solution found.
  • New HR policy is in place with smooth transition 
  • Lesson learned has led to the deployment of a recovery plan
  • Teams are on track to achieve performance improvement targets
  • Management have an effective strategy ready for roll out 
  • Project team celebrate the successful project sign-off
  • Product celebrate the successful launch of new product range.
  • Business providing new product or service
The process provides lesson learned and offers 100% traceability. It can also the reduce risk profile and vulnerability of a business.

The team challenge process will prove beneficial to any organisation:
  • Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Human Resource Departments
  • Education Establishment
  • Large Corporates
  • Management / Executive Teams
  • Non-Profit organisations
  • Sports establishment
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Sole Traders

The team challenge process company brings together a rich balance experience and knowledge. The bespoke nature of the partnership offers a flexible, unique and honest portfolio. It presents a refreshing way to improve business performance. 

Want to find how to solve complex business problems and build effective teams? Contact us at team@teamchallengeprocess.ie 


References:

Armstrong M, (1993). A Handbook of Personnel Management Practice, Kogan Page. fourth edition, pp 185 – 195, 276 – 279.
Hawthorne (Year unknown). Management Theory & Practice,  pp 40-43    
Kakabadse A., Ludlow R., Vinnicombe S. (1988). Working in Organisations. Penguin Book. pp 358-379.
Murata K. (1995). How to make Japanese Management Methods Work in the West. Gower Press, pp 65
Muschewske R. (1997). Is your board a high-performance team? Directors and Boards. pp 48-50.
Ohno T. (1988). Toyota Production System – Beyond Large-Scale Production. Productivity Press, pp 6-7.
Peters T. (1992). Liberation Management – Necessary disorganisation for the nanosecond nineties. MacMillan. pp 237-248.

About Us

The Team Challenge Process was founded in 2018 and provides a unique approach to solving business problems. Our focus is:
  • Building Highly Effective Teams
  • Solving Complex Business Problems
  • Achieving Business Targets
  • Improving Performance

Our Vision

“To build world class teams in any scenario, involving people with a common goal.”

Our Mission

“To engage people, unlock innovative mindsets and access that intelligence to ensure continuous learning and permanent change.”

Contact us

Perry A. Simpson
The Team Challenge Process Company
Telephone: +353 (0)86 109 2836

Brendan Foley
The Team Challenge Process Company
Telephone: +353 (0)87 793 8641







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