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Natalia Rossingol

7 Models of Team Effectiveness to Follow in 2024

Do you want to facilitate a more productive work culture? See how your team matches up against these seven team effectiveness models.

High performance, good morale, and well-being of individuals within a group – these are the main signs of an effective team. Still, team effectiveness is a pretty vague term. How can you assess it? How can you identify gaps that need to be filled, and figure out the areas of strength? There is a simple method – a team effectiveness model.

For managers and HR specialists, team effectiveness models are a great tool – these frameworks will let you understand your team dynamics better and also see where exactly you should make changes. Over the years, authors have suggested several models, and to pick the framework that would suit you best, you should get familiarized with the most famous ones.

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What is a team effectiveness model?

Team effectiveness is an indicator that shows how a team collaborates and reaches shared goals and objectives. To be called effective, a team has to be resilient to challenges. Typically, individual members of an effective team are more inspired to work and have the determination to grow personally.  

To diagnose problems a team faces and to know in which direction a team should move further on, there have been created team effectiveness models – frameworks describing various aspects of teams' cooperation, whose aim is to help teams work better.

Each team effectiveness model presents a specific vision of a person who developed it, since different authors focused their attention on different things. There isn’t one perfect model which could be used universally – rather, each model fits a particular situation.

We have chosen 7 team effectiveness models which can help you analyze your team and thus improve its performance:      

1. The GRPI model

The GRPI model of team effectiveness was introduced in 1972 by Richard Beckhard, and then further revised by Irwin Rubin, Mark Plovnick, and Ronald Fry in 1977. However, it is still one of the most popular team effectiveness tools for managers. “GRPI” is an acronym that stands for the following model elements:

  • Goals: Team members are expected to know the main objectives so that they can move toward the same result.

Unfortunately, people often do not see the bigger picture, as they are focused on their own tasks. Leaders have to make sure team members know the top goal and that their understanding coincides with the leader’s one. Also, they need to devise an evaluation system for measuring performance.

  • Roles: All team players must know their duties and responsibilities.

It’s important to assign roles in the beginning. Yet, during the work process, new people might join the team, and roles will probably be reassigned, so some clarification will be necessary.

  • Procedures: These include workflow processes, decision-making procedures, and conflict resolution strategies.

Roughly speaking, team members should know how exactly things will be accomplished.

  • Interpersonal relationships: There should be effective communication among team members.

Team members must respect and trust each other. To become a healthy team, check out this guide:

healthy teams

2. The Lencioni Model

In his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, Patrick Lencioni described a model of team effectiveness, different from the rest of the frameworks. While other models focus on the components a successful team should have, Lencioni covers the components a team, on the contrary, should not demonstrate.

According to Lencioni, the five dysfunctions are interdependent, as each dysfunction causes and supports the next one, like levels of a pyramid:

  • Absence of trust: Refusing to be vulnerable with each other and to admit their mistakes, people will not feel comfortable within their team and won’t ask for help.
  • Fear of conflict: Lacking trust, teams create an artificial harmony that prevents them from having an open debate over important issues. Such behavior leads to bad decisions, as teams don’t come up with good ideas.
  • Lack of commitment: Team members will never commit to bad decisions – they will resist the mention of them.  
  • Avoidance of accountability: It is not easy to hold each other accountable. And if there is no clear or good plan, it makes no sense to accuse anyone of doing something wrong.
  • Inattention to results: Team members often put their own needs ahead of the collective goal, paying more attention to career development and recognition.

3. The Tuckman Model

In his 1965 work “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups”, Bruce Tuckman suggested a model of team development which consisted of four stages describing how a team comes to high performance. In 1975, Tuckman refined his theory, adding the fifth stage. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the stages in this model:

  • Forming Stage: People are polite and avoid controversy, as they just get to know each other. They highly depend on the leader, who formulates goals and provides structure. 
  • Storming Stage: Team members start to learn about the working styles of their coworkers and fight for power, which means they have to learn to manage conflicts.
  • Norming Stage: A team leader steps back as a team switches to shared leadership. Team routines get developed, and processes and structures get agreed upon. Everybody on a team gets accepted.
  • Performing Stage: A team works as a well-oiled machine, and team members work to their full potential. People understand the strengths and weaknesses of each other and take those into account in the work process.  
  • Adjourning Stage: When a project comes to an end, team members start to leave, changing the team's structure and purpose. People still work productively but have to manage their sadness, since the bonds they have created are about to be broken.

4. The Google Model

In research that involved interviewing more than 200 employees and over 250 attributes of their teams, Google was looking for the answer to one question: What makes a team effective?

It appeared that "who" was on a team mattered less than "how" those people interacted with one another. The researchers identified five components that make for a successful team:

  • Psychological safety: People tend to not take risks if they do not feel secure.
  • Dependability: To deliver high-quality work on time, people have to count on each other.
  • Structure and clarity: Goals, roles, and plans have to be clear.
  • Meaning of work: Team members will be more productive if the work they do is meaningful for them personally.
  • Impact of work: People must believe that what they do matters.

Out of the five dynamics in this team effectiveness model, psychological safety is the most important. When we feel that others perceive our competence negatively, we are not ready to act – on the contrary, we close up, and it is detrimental to teamwork. We are scared to clarify things because we do not want to appear unaware. That all is a no-win strategy. 

5. The LaFasto and Larson Model

In 2001, Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson suggested a team effectiveness model which they called “The Five Dynamics of Teamwork and Collaboration.” Having analyzed the results of a survey conducted among 600 teams, which covered a wide variety of industries, they came up with five characteristics of an effective team:

  • Team members. Teams are made of individuals, so people working on a team are expected to have the right experience – in other words, the skills they possess must fit a particular role.
  • Team relationships. Healthy relationships help promote correct behavior. Individuals must trust each other, to be able to give and receive feedback.
  • Collaborative problem-solving. Good relationships with colleagues facilitate decision-making and prevent conflict. Besides, to solve issues, teams need to clearly know their goals and communicate openly.
  • Good leadership. Leaders who encourage their teams make a huge contribution to success. A good leader sets priorities and builds confidence, as well as has sufficient knowledge to provide assistance.
  • Organizational environment. To a big extent, performance depends on how work is organized – the right methods and company culture play an important role.

6. The T7 Model

In 1995, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger developed a team effectiveness model, named T7, as it consisted of 7 factors, all starting with a letter “T”. This model was the result of large-scale studies that involved 303 groups in 50 organizations across different industries. This way, the researchers identified seven factors, fine internal and two external, which influence the effectiveness of a team:

Internal factors

  1. Thrust - this is a common objective or a goal a team shares.
  2. Trust - team members can rely on each other because they know they will get support.
  3. Talent - skills required to do the job.
  4. Teaming skills - the ability to function as a team.
  5. Task skills - the ability to do the tasks.

External factors

  1. Team leader fit - how well a leader works with a team; if a team willingly follows him.
  2. Team support from the organization - if the organization provides enough resources and support to let the team function.

Both internal and external factors are necessary for a team to perform at its highest level. The T7 model can be used as a rubric to assess a team’s strengths and weaknesses.

7. The Katzenback and Smith model

In 1993, Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith created a triangular model of team effectiveness. In this framework, each point represents a goal. To achieve it, you will have to work on three team-effectiveness factors – the sides of the triangle:

Fundamental team goals (points):

  1. Performance results.
  2. Work products.
  3. Personal growth.

The sides of the triangle are made up by:

  1. Skills: these include communication, interpersonal, problem-solving and, of course, technical skills a team needs to create work products and achieve results.
  2. Accountability: team members need to be held accountable to produce results and to grow as a person.
  3. Commitment: to create work products, and also for personal growth, teams need to have a shared purpose and commit to their goals.

In addition to that, the Katzhenbach and Smith model suggests that there are five levels of teamwork:

  1. Working group: Team members function as individuals, and not like a team.
  2. Pseudo-team: Team members assume they work as a team but this is a false assumption.
  3. Potential team: People on a team start to effectively work together.
  4. Real team: The team has already accomplished a shared goal.
  5. High-performing team: Not only do people work together, but they try to help one another to grow.

An effective teamwork model will help your team improve individual input and group dynamics, and this way produce great results. By picking the right team effectiveness model, managers get a chance to develop a high-performing team – cohesive and productive, friendly and focused on a shared goal.

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