The context was a large organisation where three separate subgroups interact regularly to service all stakeholders in relation to one area of the business. There was at times tension between the goals of the different parties and mistrust between them based on past experiences of working together.
Initially, we worked with the three teams separately to identify what was helping and what was getting in the way of working together. We drew a map of the system and the different Roles, Goals and Contexts of the three parties. This helped clarify they lacked a common goal.
We used the System for Analysing Verbal Interaction (SAVI™) grid and the Systems-Centered® map of Phases of Team Development to highlight the teams’ verbal behaviours of blaming, complaining and personalising. As an alternative to these, we worked with the teams on three Away-Days to identify common goals and to clarify their respective roles when they came together to work on joint projects. The outcome was clarification and agreement at a senior level of the joint and separate goals, much higher levels of trust and cooperation, better forward planning and problem-solving.
Following the work with the three parties, one of the teams asked us to help them work more effectively together. As a result, their team meetings have become places where they are able to share information and team members are participating more actively with a rotating leadership and agreed agenda.
We were also asked by two of their leaders to gather feedback on their behaviours that were helping and getting in the way of leading effectively. Both leaders made significant shifts and are now contributing to more collaborative working across the organisation.