It wsa my experience of a dysfunctional team that got me in to Organisation Development work:  

Fifteen years ago I had a great job in a tough operational environment.  I loved my work, but was ground down by the palpable tension that hang in the air day after day. 

Fortunately the Director had the sense to bring in an expert in team-building who transformed our working relationships and who inspired me to switch careers and focus on building healthier organisations.  

Talking to organisational leaders it’s clear that organisational and team health is one of the most important – yet underrated – factor influencing productivity.

There are a number of different scenarios which we’re hired to deal with in our team-building work. 

  • REMEDIAL / RETRO-ACTIVE: To address major dysfunction or support a team after major change (e.g. restructuring, merger, down-sizing, scandal)
  • PREVENTIVE / PRO-ACTIVE: To support a team through an organisational change process
  • GENERATIVE / GROWTH: To strengthen team-work around a positive challenge: e.g. expand/grow or move into new areas

Surprisingly, the Not-for-profit sector isn’t any better than the commercial sector in terms of the working environment. 

After all, there are similar pressures – for results, financial resources, good staff, operational areas and even for clients / beneficiaries. 

The mission adds additional challenges:  urgency; risk; the unmet needs; the tragedies and injustices that workers witness every day…  These all mean that attention to the people providing the services is not considered important.   Burnout is seen as inevitable.   We, however, don’t agree.  

What’s the Block?

Efforts to address dysfunction can be postponed until everything gets really bad.  Delays are due to:

  • fear of making things worse; opening up Pandora’s Box.  (“Allow everyone to vent their frustrations?  No thanks!”) 
  • fear of the process, not knowing what’s going to happen 
  • fear of conflict and not being in control.  If you’re the leader who’s supposed to be in control, how will you know what to do?  

Reasons you need to take action now:

Inaction carries multiple and significant costs:  

  • productivity losses 
  • lack of innovation and creativity
  • administrative bottlenecks; wasted resources due to gaps and duplication
  • The cost of failed recruitment
  • Days lost due to physical and mental health concerns directly related to the toxic working environment.
  • The consequences of errors stemming from lack of co-operation.  

Now compare this to value of getting more work done more efficiently.    Imagine if people were pulling in the same direction, sorting problems out themselves, tackling tricky issues together, bouncing ideas of each other to develop creative solutions, setting up collaborative relationships with local partners who respect each other AND your organisation.

From Team-Building to Culture Change

At People Zone our Team-building work transforms the workplace culture from toxic to motivating and inspiring.

We offer two high-impact and catalytic interventions:  Purposeful Teams and Heart of Leadership.

Both were developed by Worldsview Academy, a private South African company specialising in Organisation Development whose materials are ideally suited to the challenges experienced in both the private and the Not for Profit sector.    Find out more about these interventions below.

Purposeful Teams

Purposeful TeamsTM provides space and an open process to help Senior Management Teams examine team culture and the extent to which elements of it are helping, or hindering, performance. We explore team behaviours, personality styles, team roles and norms. We reconnect people to the organisation’s Vision and Mission, and the Team’s contribution to achieving it and to each other. We end with renewed commitment to collaborative working and a transformed culture.

(3-4 day intervention, rolling out across 1-3 blocs; 8-12 delegates drawn from a single management team)

Heart of Leadership

Heart of LeadershipTM extends the transformed leadership culture throughout the organisation, challenging staff at all levels and in all sectors to make the choice to step up as leaders or active followers and have a greater influence on how the organisation achieves its mission. The intervention rolls out over one to two days and can involve any number of participants. It was created by Worldsview Academy and is adapted by People Zone to fit each organisational context.

(1-2 days, for 10+ delegates – no limit)

Lesley is a highly professional consultant with strong integrity who managed to lead “a stormy” team” into constructive dialogue over the various stages of the Purposeful Team  intervention. 

The changes are remarkable, and the work has resulted in a high performing task-oriented team. 

Sanna Johnson

Regional Director, Save the Children (MENA)

Purposeful Teams™ has equipped our industry-specific teams with the skills they need to focus on the end point. They now have a common goal that can be reached with the personal strengths of each individual adding to the collective strength of very focused teams,

Jacques Swanepoel

HR Manager, Worldsview Technologies

The Heart of Leadership provided great insight on how great leaders use powerful story telling to attract followers.

The training encouraged me to look deep into who I am as a leader, and reflect on the type of leader I want to be. 

I particularly valued the coaching approach of this leadership development training, and the value of helping us analyse our leadership style and build on that rather than guiding us towards a type of leadership which isn’t me.  

It inspired us to reflect on our leadership skills and planning for our future development.  

various participants, Save the Children

Lesley is a wonderful facilitator with a great sense for group dynamics and underlying issues like equity. 

Her beautiful, sincere spirit enables her to create space for vibrant conversations, learning and touching on sensitive issues. Her key strength is creating  an open learning environment through games which she effortlessly translates to learning outcomes.

Nicolette van Duursen

Country Director, Marie Stopes International