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Team Work - Katzenbach and Smith

Updated on June 28, 2011

Katzenbach & Smith Model

This week I started thinking about team work after watching my son play basketball for his district team.

When I was watching my son I reflected on how much they had travelled to become a team in a really short timeframe. My boy is just 10 years old and his team were getting beaten comprehensively. But the boys didn’t give up. They tried new routines and kept persevering, eventually getting a basket and scoring. While the end score was a thrashing 66-8 the boys grew as a team and all improved and helped each other out.

Similarly in my team at work we have helped each other out in achieving our sales targets this year, even though it has been within a very hard ecomonic environment.

Katzenbach and Smith in ‘The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization’ (1992) investigate the lifecycle of a team. In analysis of this model I have compared the model and Sam’s basketball team:

Team Cycle

Working Group

Theory - Group of people working together

Sam's Team - In October at trials the ‘team’ was formed and started training together

Pseudo Team

Theory - People formed into a team, but pursue individual outcomes

Sam's Team - In training and the first games the boys tried to learn new skills and score goals as individuals, not as a team

Potential Team

Theory - A team of people working towards individual & group KPIs

Sam's Team - After their first win they became the ‘warriors’ and started to look for individual as well as team success

Real Team

Theory - Team focused on group outcomes

Sam's Team - After the Xmas break the team started to pass the ball better and look for opportunities to score as a team. Won games.

High Performing Team

Theory - Team focused on group outcomes and developing each other

Sam's Team - Even when the team was losing started to adapt their game and to learn. Encouraged each other. Winning wasn’t the only outcome, development is also a focus.

The more a team moves towards high performance means that the team’s performance will increase as will their effectiveness. I have seen this in my son’s team over the summer and I can also see it in my work team since we formed. This is why it is so important that we reach high performance as it will impact on our sales result. The Team model is in the side panel(1992, p.17).

What resonated with me was that a real team works together to achieve the performance required. The high performance team takes this one step further, not only does a team of this calibre achieve the task, its output is better and that the team earns more success and growth as a result.


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    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks Mere. Team work forms a number of themes in my hubs, feel free to check out some of the other papers I have written on this theme. Cheers Michael

    • profile image

      Mere 5 years ago