IAF Methods

Team Work Style

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
20 - 30 6 - 24
A team building exercise or as an opening session with a team working on shared values
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Additional info


To demonstrate how team members work together and reflect on what is learned in the exercise and to realize that it's not just what we do, it's how we do it as well.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Cards for people to write on.



Setting: The slide for the Katzenbach and Smith model needs to be prepared. it is in the files attached to this method

Types of participants: An existing team or a team in formation

Ideal conditions: Small group in comfortable setting

Pre-Work Required: Normal preparation of a short presentation and knowing the questions and directions in the exercise.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: Some level of trust and some agreement about the Katzenbach and Smith model of teams.



Today we have an opportunity to spend a short time working together as this management team. We will do a short exercise to look at how you work together and then reflect on what we have seen. Now you have an opportunity to do a spontaneous task together. You can do it any way you want. Choose an approach to the task that demonstrates real teamwork, as you understand it.


Team Exercise (Divide the group into 2 or more subgroups and distribute blank cards.)

1. Please take one of these cards. Working alone, write down one thing that you personally believe in. This can be anything from trivial to important, work-related or not. "One glass of red wine a day is essential for health", "A person can effectively manage no more than 30 e-mails a day", "A person's shoes tell you who they really are" are some examples of beliefs, but I'm sure yours may be more interesting.

2. When you are ready, take 10 minutes in your subgroup to do the following:

  • As a group, find out to what degree everyone else in your group agrees or disagrees with every one on the beliefs you have on your cards.
  • Be ready to report your results as well as HOW you do this task.(Call time at the end of 10 minutes)


1. First let's hear from each team whether they finished the assignment. Were there any beliefs that everyone in the group agreed with? Were there any beliefs held only by the card writer?

2. Now let's hear from each team. What method did you use to accomplish this task?

3. What might be other ways of doing this task from the ones you used here? (e.g., pass the cards around the circle and individuals write 'yes' or 'no' on them; have each individual present their belief verbally and then have a vote of hands; have each individual present their belief verbally, and ask agree-ers for reasons why and dissenters for their reasons why; have people share their beliefs in pairs, decide whether they agree with one another and then change partners; etc)

4. Where did you see links between the way you did this task and the ways you work together?

5. What values was your approach holding? What values did you neglect?

6. What have you noticed through this exercise about how you work together?

7. Post the team triangle on the wall before the session. [See the file attached to this method.] Looking back at both the team triangle and your performance together, where do you think the team is strong and where do you sense there are issues that may need some further attention?

Short Presentation

1. For background I thought you might like to have an idea of what I mean when I use the word "team".

2. Katzenbach and Smith model:

In their classic The Wisdom of Teams, Katzenbach and Smith use this model to summarize characteristics of teams. They describe three key components.

o Where do you see characteristics of your team on the triangle?

o Could you give an example?

During this session you have demonstrated working together and had a chance to check your spontaneous behaviour with a simple task. Some of the things we noticed here were: Summarize key learning.


Follow-Up Required: this can be used as an introduction to a team building exercise or as a stand alone team reflection.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: Awareness of decision-making styles


Source: Maureen Jenkins

Derived from: The Focused Conversation Method of the Institute of Cultural Affairs and Katzenbach and Smith's "The Wisdom of Teams"

History of Development: This was designed for a workshop with the European Commission's Training department

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  • The attached powerpoint for the presentation portion adds richness to the results.

    over 3 years ago