Today, leaders recognise that effective teams are central to coping with disruption and… addressing changing customer demands and innovation. However, just bringing a group of people together does not guarantee an effective team. In this case study, I supported a newly established team in Amcor on communication, productivity, and wellbeing with a team effectiveness program.

Deadline Driven and Remote Colleagues

The teams’ goal is to provide managers and leaders with relevant, accurate and timely information to make business decisions. The team has to meet strict deadlines for financial reporting while maintaining high accuracy and identifying trends. The new team faced a steep learning curve to understand the business, culture, and procedures.

The challenges the team was facing were

    1. Late delivery of information from colleagues from over 20 countries around the world
    2. Communication within the team working in two locations in different countries and time zones

Team Effectiveness Program

The program was in five stages, with each stage being adapted based on the outcome of the previous stage.

    1. Assessment of communication (meetings, emails), workload and stress, motivators and time wasters
    2. Workshop 1: The team used the Business Model Canvas to clarify their role in the organisation. From the pre-workshop assessment, actions to improve communication within the team and meeting processes were agreed
    3. Workshop 2: Using Customer Empathy Mapping, the team developed a deeper understanding of their customers’ drivers and motivators. The team agreed on actions to improve communication with customers and colleagues
    4. Individual coaching on managing stress, workload and communication
    5. Set up an internal team peer coaching for continued accountability on goals

The approach empowered the team to identify and agree on actions. The team members were then engaged in implementing these actions.

Building Relationships, not Policy

There was a common theme about the stress of meeting deadlines when colleagues delivered information late. Some of the initial suggestions were about developing new policies, restating deadlines or escalating to senior management. Through the workshops, the team saw that building stronger relationships with colleagues was a more effective way.

The follow-up coaching looked at ways of supporting changes agreed in the workshop at the individual level to improve communication, e.g. calling instead of emailing, visiting colleagues, using the camera for video calls. A peer coaching model supported continuing implementation of actions.

The Team Leader commented, “This program allowed the team to see the challenges through a different lens, about relationships, not processes. We also understood how each of us is different in dealing with stress in a deadline-driven function. The focused individual coaching was more than helpful to implement practical strategies.”