Healthy Teams Are Yin and Yang Together

A model of team health

Healthy teams don’t just happen.  Many of the differences between us tend not to strengthen our bonds as a team but can be sources of division.  Instead of the yin and yang working together harmoniously, we often find ourselves and our teams struggling with a disintegrating force of moving backwards that I call organizational entropy.  Entropy is a scientific word referring to way things left to themselves, without additional outside energy invested to keep them moving in the right direction, will actually go the opposite direction toward destruction.  Teams are affected by this principle of entropy.  Moving away from entropy is moving toward health.

Team health is arguably the most important thing for workplace teams to focus on.  All the rest (profit, growth, success, happiness, fulfillment) are direct or indirect results and are reflections of overall team health.  Healthy teams have certain identifiable traits that can be developed over time.

We Need A Model

George Box, the statisitician famously said, “All models are wrong; some are useful.”  So it is when we think about a workplace team or organization.  Though imperfect depictions of the complexities of a team, a model gives us a clear picture to organize our thoughts and actions around.  The model I work from is laid out in Pushing Back Entropy: Moving Teams from Conflict to Health.  It comprises two interrelated models.  The Demand Model of Conflict Prevention looks at three levels of conflict development and offers practical solutions to prevent it on all three.  Conflict prevention and team health are actually two sides of the same coin.  The Healthy Teams Model is made up of five interrelated and interdependent aspects of team health.



Healthy Teams:

  1. Are built on a foundation of shared character consisting of increasing emotional intelligence and ethical practices
  2. Have strong cohesiveness that holds the team together as they seek common goals and objectives
  3. Have laser clarity both about the big picture, the why and how for the organization and the unique and fitting role each member of the team plays in bringing that vision to pass
  4. Utilize clear communication as the means of the relationship with each other and as the primary way to keep the organization moving and growing
  5. Experience positive consequences ranging from an improved bottom line to many other more subjective but just as important results connected to overall well-being and happiness

Getting To Team Health

Step 1: Assessment

Understanding current levels of team health / conflict potential:

  • Free team health & team conflict potential snapshots

  • Team health survey and report

  • Team conflict potential survey and report

Step 2: Shared Victory Intensive

Two-day team lab introducing:

  • Model of conflict development & prevention

  • Model for team health

  • Includes introduction to 3 aspects of each team member:

    • behavioral styles

    • motivators

    • emotional intelligence

Step 3: Team Cultural Change

Applying models over time for cultural change

  • Team conflict prevention / intervention applied

  • Team health development over time

  • Typically working with the team over 12-18 mos.

Step 4: Re-assessment / refocus

Re-assessing levels of team health / conflict potential:

  • New team health / conflict potential surveys & reports

  • Determining areas of focus for future team change

  • Sustained team focus over time