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Taking Stock of Your Team: An End-of-Year Assessment

Nov. 21, 2023
Too often, we default to "team building" events, while not addressing the more complex architecture of high-performing teams.

As the year gallops into the final stretch, many of us look at this period of upcoming reviews and planning exercises as a series of hurdles to jump – just as we are fatiguing at the end of the annual race.

Reframed, this can be a time to generate excitement and fitness for the new year.

The Team Needs to be Developed in Three Dimensions

To make this happen, we want to think more broadly than planning a holiday party. To be clear, we are in favor of that, but it is just one component.

Too often we default to "team-building" events – fun parties, work-style assessments, awkward ice-breaking and other team games – while not addressing the more comprehensive architecture required for high-performing teams. Instead, we need to consider the team’s development against the following three dimensions:

1.      Direction: Are we clear, aligned, motivated?

2.      Organization: Do the team’s structure, process, authority and incentives support our goals?

3.      People: How effective is the boss, the team members’ skills and working relationships?

If you are interested in taking the pulse of your own team as a basis for developing a high-performing team, we offer you a questionnaire on the following pages. It has been used and validated with many senior management teams.

Ask each of your team members to complete it, then discuss the results as a team. Invariably, you will find some room for improvement in all dimensions. The important thing is to make it feel safe to have the "more effective if" discussion.

This, by itself, will unleash enthusiasm, creativity and optimism. And you will find that those year-end and year-beginning meetings will be transformed into a platform for a more engaged, capable and productive team.


Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris Morgan is an experienced and trusted executive coach. He is a Partner at Morgan Alexander, and co-founder of Listentool, a real-time feedback software solution. 

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