I interviewed Dr. Janice Presser who discussed Three Ways to Build and Maintain Strong Human Links in Your Supply Chain.
Your organization, The Gabriel Institute, offers a product that has been called the ‘technology of teaming’. Can you tell us about it, briefly?
It’s called Teamability® and it’s a completely new way to know how people will perform in teams – all kinds of teams, from startups and project teams, to functional areas of business, to entire companies.
Teamability was launched late in 2012. It is the product of 25 years of behavioral science research and tech development dating back to 1984 when my research colleague – Dr. Jack Gerber – and I began looking for a way to measure what is really going on between people when they work together in teams. We first tried all of the familiar types of tests – IQ, personality, aptitudes, and so on. None of them had been designed to directly measure team interaction, so we had to take a totally different approach to the problem. And – as you might imagine – measuring what’s happening between people is much more complex than measuring what’s going on inside one person, so we eventually had to create new technology to do the job.
The crucial differences are that, while Teamability identifies elements of ‘good teamwork’, which is healthy and productive person-to-person interaction, it also identifies a person’s awareness of, and relationship to, the team itself – as if the team were a living being. That’s where things get really interesting!
How is Teamability used?
In a simple online exercise, the participant responds to a series of teamwork scenarios.Simultaneously, the Teamability engine identifies and organizes specific behavioral elements that describe how that person will seek to contribute to team activity.
Aggregating the resultsprovides a whole new category of information and guidance for selecting, developing, managing, and motivating both individuals and teams. There are three kinds of reports: The Self-coaching Report provides constructive information and advice to individual participants.The Management Advisory Reports provide detailed support for strategic and tactical planning, and for effective team leadership. And Team Analysis Reports identify specific opportunities and action steps for improving team chemistry, resilience, and productivity.
Team Analysis can be configured for small or virtual teams, for team comparisons, or for an entire organization, which is where the value exists for supply chain optimization.
Even though supply chains are supported by massive mechanical and computer-supported infrastructures, anyone in the business will tell you that the human links are still, in many ways, the crucial links. So, what’s the first point you would like to make?
The first thing you look at is Role-fit. We use a capital r for Role when we’re talking about team members. Role is not a job title or a job description. It is the fundamental way in which a person seeks to make meaningful contributions to their team. You know, some of us are great at getting things started, while others are fabulous at making sure all the pieces got picked up and accounted for. When we’re doing work that aligns with that way in which we make meaningful contributions, we’re much happier, more engaged, more productive. And we’re more fun to work with!
In the supply chain, like anywhere else in business, if you want better results you need to ‘get the right people on the bus, and in the rights seats on the bus’. That saying became popular for a reason – but at the time there wasn’t a scientific, reliable way to do it. Teamability provides the missing link.
So there’s point #1. What else can you do?
A: The next step is Team-fit, which recognizes the differences in mission that exist between different teams. Following the ‘right seats’ analogy, you don’t just need the right people in the right seats. You also need them to be on the right bus.
Through Teamability, youcan look at the team as a whole -everyone involved in the entire supply chain process, or in different functional areas - and make sure that you have the right Roles on the team to help it meet its mission.
What happens when you don’t have Team-fit?
It depends on where the Team-fit isn’t happening. For instance, in supply chain, there may be very high walls between business units in a single organization. This is exactly where you need constant, high quality person-to-person communication. That’s pretty simple to fix with just one Role – what we call the Communicator Role – people who seek to contribute to the team by creating a sense of community and shared mission. That’s what the team needs to get past those high walls. The same thing is true for virtual teams – and I’d guess there are lots of those in the world of distribution.
What would be the 3rd way to strengthen the chain?
It would be by applying our Elements of Team Management in ways that raise people to a higher level of team contribution. There are several ways to do this, but the most powerful one is through effective communication of appreciation and respect.
During our decade of field-testing and validation, we noticed a number of things related to Role – one of which is the fact that expressions of respect are NOT GENERIC. People with a specific Role feel truly respected when the ‘delivery’ aligns with their way of making meaningful contributions. To make that alignment, you need to know their Role and how it meets the needs of the team. After that, it’s easy.
Can you give me an example of the business value Teamability has delivered?
In a series of three Team Analysis Pilots, a very large healthcare delivery organization determined that Teamability had significantly reduced workplace stress, including management apprehension in the areas of individual and team performance evaluation. Based on these multiple ‘proof-positives’, discussions are underway for much broader implementation of Teamability.
Another company, about $1B in size, was experiencing 30% turnover of new hires. From the day they added Teamability to their existing sourcing and hiring procedures, they had no new-hire turnover at all – Zero% – for 2 ½ years, while the company grew by 500-plus people.
That’s valuable! Anything else you’d like to add?
Well, just that we are based in Philadelphia, PA, and your listeners are welcome to reach us by phone or at our email address, which is: email@example.com!
About Dr. Janice Presser
Dr. Janice Presser, CEO, The Gabriel Institute - Teamability® - The Analytics of Team Chemistry
One Penn Center, 1617 JFK Blvd, Suite 1040 Philadelphia, PA, 19103, USA +1.215.825.2500
Dr. Janice Presser
CEO, The Gabriel Institute - Creator of Teamability®: The Analytics of Team Chemistry; Teamwork Expert