A simple assessment can help managers evaluate how well their team is performing.

The integrated team monitoring assessment is a tool designed to help managers evaluate how effectively their team is performing.

The assessment is.web-based and was.produced for the Integrated Care Network by Bob Hudson, a professor in applied social sciences at Durham University. Building on the Nuffield Partnership assessment tool for strategic partnerships, it offers a simple, quick and cost-effective way to appraise the 'health' of a team and identify any internal or external areas of difficulty.

The assessment.is designed to do three.things:

  • provide material to conduct an assessment of the current effectiveness of the team;
  • with repeated use, allow changes in team-working to be charted over time;
  • provide a common framework and vocabulary for team members to develop a jointly owned approach to tackling barriers to team-working.

The tool aims to reveal problems associated with poor team-working, but because it is generic, further analysis will be needed to take into account local needs and circumstances. Additionally, before deciding what action is to be taken, it is important to distinguish between how the team works and external factors.

Steps towards improvement

The assessment takes place in four stages - preparation, gathering data, analysis and interpretation of data, and action planning.

At the beginning of the process, there needs to be agreement on the reasons for using the tool. Each person involved needs to be consulted and expectations of what will be achieved should be discussed. People need to be aware that they should be open and honest in their responses.

The tool is made up of 30 statements about team-working, grouped around five principles. It is important that people give realistic answers to all questions, giving their own opinions rather than that of the team as a whole.

The final scores can be accessed pictorially on an integration dartboard along with a summary, at www.integrated-dartboard.co.uk.

How team weaknesses or problems are tackled depends on local circumstances and may require specialist organisational development expertise. Most importantly, the outcome of the assessment must be a plan for action.

There are three broad alternatives for action planning. It may need to consist of little more than agreeing how and when to undertake the next assessment. Where there are problems or weaknesses in the team, action planning will be undertaken informally. If there are issues surrounding sensitivity, then external facilitation may be preferable. If evaluation leads to extensive or urgent action, external facilitators might be necessary to examine how the team operates. This could even lead to the team being dissolved and re-formed.

Using the assessment gives teams a clear indication of the type and scale of any problems facing them, where action is needed most, and how the team can be strengthened..

For further information, contact Bob Huson bob@bobhudsonconsulting.com. Click here to download the assessment