Building and Sustaining a Senior Advancement Team

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Team Building
by Cynthia Woolbright

“Our senior team has some challenges and I want to make sure that we can work together and individually more effectively. We have some interesting and challenging dynamics among those who report to me and perhaps I am not being as effective as I can.”

Those comments started a recent conversation with a vice president for development and alumni relations.

With an overarching goal of developing strategies for building trust, confidence and a sense of team among senior leadership, The Woolbright Group was engaged to conduct individual interviews with each, followed by a joint session to:

  • Share insights on what was learned from each team member
  • Develop goals and desired outcomes with the team
  • Commit to the work that needed to be done
  • Schedule a series of joint and individual conversations

To gain insight into personal behavior as well as the interpersonal behavior of the team, they undertook the behavioral assessment known as DISC, standing for dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance. DISC is designed to:

  • Increase self-knowledge: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress and how you solve problems
  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
  • Facilitate better teamwork and minimize team conflict
  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members
  • Become a more self-knowing, well-rounded and effective leader

Each member received a personal assessment report that was then shared with the team. The insights DISC provided helped the team understand the value each of them offers the organization.

The final step was to discuss with each team member the various aspects of their personal assessment, as well as those of their colleagues. Where areas of potential friction were identified, behavioral options for more effective interaction were discussed.

Of course, while the DISC assessment is just the first step toward developing an A+ rated team, it is a worthwhile tool for teams seeking to improve relationships, bolster confidence, build trust and improve overall effectiveness.

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