Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 3.3 Questionnaire to Determine the Readiness of Staff for Team Development Linked with Change

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With the introduction of the "silicon chip", many middle management positions were no longer needed as the computer took over many roles that had previously been performed manually. Thus teams became a popular management style to deal with the phenomenon of more people reporting to fewer managers.

This tool is a very effective and easily-administered questionnaire to determine the readiness of staff for team development by helping people understand the base attitudes required to work effectively in teams. After completing the questionnaire, some groups have realized that they are not ready for teams (the difference between group and teams is explained below)

Remember: most teams fail!! According to Grant Donovan, (1998) teams have around a 70% failure rate in organisations. There are 4 main causes:

i. Organisations put teams in at the low levels of the organisation but fail to make the same changes up the ladder. Senior managers see teams as a quick fix where the workers are the problem and, therefore, are the only ones requiring change. There is a need for senior managers to set an example.

ii. A failure to educate an organisation's middle managers and supervisors first about teams. These people are caught in the middle: they are rarely consulted about the change and rarely given the skills to help manage in support of the team development process. Consequently, their first instinct is to undermine the whole movement to teams.

iii. Teams are rarely given the whole picture. They never see a plan of where the team development is going. There is no sign-off on the transfer of authority to teams and little education for teams to successfully manage the functions that were once the domain of managers.

iv. The lack of speed in changing the reward system to match team-based performance. Most rewards are still based on individual effort despite being contrary to what teams, teamwork and partnership are all about.


Respond to the statement by circling "Yes" or "No" about your workplace

1 "...We like our managers, and we like being managed. Our manager tells us exactly what to do, and we don't have to think for ourselves. We hope things won't change because we like them the way they are..."  YES NO

2 "...We find that management often blocks our productivity with too many controls. We would like more responsibility and autonomy in our work..."  YES NO

3 "...Our group is very creative and is always coming up with new ideas. We would like to try some of our ideas, because we think they will improve productivity. We're willing to take responsibility for implementing these ideas. If we fail), we will accept responsibility for that as well..."  YES NO

4 "...We are very independent thinkers. We like working alone, with little interference from anyone. We realise teamwork is important, but, to be honest, we communicate only when necessary. We're happy to stay out of the limelight and do our work without a lot of fanfare..."  YES NO

5 "...In our organisation we feel a need for a challenge. Our organisation isn't promoting people the way it used to, so we haven't had a chance to become managers. We need stimulation, a shot in the arm. Maybe learning new job skills and gaining some management techniques would help us rebuild our pride in our work..."  YES NO

Comments to Answers

"Yes" to questions 1 and 4 demonstrates that the respondents are not ready for teams. They either like working for a manager, or prefer to work alone. They are also resistant to change.

"Yes" to questions 2, 3 and 5 come from good candidates for teams. They would like more autonomy, aren't afraid of the possibility of failure, and are ready for a change.


(source: Robert Hicks et al, 1990)


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