The personnel of this newly formed unit with an immediate security mandate struggled from the outset to work as a team. They had little time to lay groundwork for how they would work, communicate, or make decisions, and they were missing things. Mistakes were made, productivity dropped, and conflicts were growing. They all worked remotely from various locations. It did not help that some had never even met each other.
- Assessment and Analysis: Our team met with their personnel, one on one and confidentially, to gather insights about individual experiences, and examples of incidents or conditions that were affecting the team. Themes that emerged included miscommunication, lack of role clarity, and lack of technical sufficiency for a dispersed work group. Team members described trust issues and interpersonal conflict and complaints.
- Team Building: The assessment we conducted helped the team recognize where they lacked important foundations of team effectiveness. It also provided a framework for collaborating with them on an agenda to build common understandings and team rapport. Over a series of meetings, our facilitator worked with them to clarify their mission, align roles and responsibilities, and reach consensus on team processes and individual accountability.
- Conflict Resolution Facilitation: By starting with individual meetings, we were able to establish rapport with the team members, which contributed to their trust in and commitment to a productive and respectful process. ADR Vantage’s facilitator met jointly with all team members to help them have difficult conversations about their frustrations, cocreate norms for addressing sources of team conflict, and set specific commitments for the future.
The unit personnel committed, for the first time, to working as a team. They emerged from their work with ADR Vantage with a shared:
- Understanding of goals and values for the unit;
- Commitment to shared norms and processes for routine and complex communications, and agreed to a formal decision-making process; and
- Agreement to anticipate disagreements and engage in effective problem solving earlier.
With distractions cleared away, the unit is now better able to concentrate on their mission and work together to solve the important security-related challenges they are tasked with.