How many real ‘teams’ do you know of in the corporate world?

As we’ve worked with teams over the years it’s become obvious that the old definitions of what constitutes a team are becoming less and less useful. Of course, some ‘real’ teams remain; groups of individuals who are interdependent, have the same shared goals and priorities, where the whole really is greater than the sum of the parts. The most common example of this being project teams based at the same location.

Yet more and more often we’re working with ‘team’ members who:

Are spread geographically, and work in different time zones
Have confused reporting lines
May have a vague high level goal, but day to day often work to different and sometimes conflicting priorities
Have to manage multiple stakeholder needs across the globe

In such situations managers are often forced to work long hours simply to be able to communicate to all their team members; we know of one manager with a 25 strong team spread across 5 key locations who has only 30 minutes per day where they can all attend a conference call, and that is at 06.00 Chicago time – not especially popular with certain team members!

In these situations managers need to step back and think carefully about their priorities and how these should be communicated to their team members. Key individuals on the ground must be identified in each geographical area who are both empowered and trusted to make tactical decisions (often managing the tension between localisation demands and global consistency across many functional areas). The overall team mission must be clearly articulated, whilst at the same time acknowledging that local stakeholders must be effectively and sensitively managed.

Crucially, information has to be leveraged at every opportunity. Each communication should be considered and tested as to its efficacy, as without doubt it is harder to get your message across without the benefit of face to face contact. Finally, you just need to communicate more, much, much more to ensure your message is penetrating all the layers of region, language, priority and time zone.

Developing a high performing team

First of all don’t all high ranking organisations already have one?
Daft question maybe and most managers do believe they already have a good team. But do they? Because despite the auditing and paper trails around team performance, when you get right down to it what many managers have is a group of individuals who work in the same area but not always in the same direction as each other. In actual fact their performance level can be hugely erratic.

Due to the recession and the fear eminating throughout many organizations that any minute now the world could end, good teams are falling apart and people are working more as survivalist individuals than as a whole. Outwardly managers may be looking at their own organisations and thinking that productivity is high, people are focused and the job is getting done. But on a micro level these tough times have led to something of a bunker mentality where employees are more ready to give a blanket ‘yes’ to anything asked of them in order to show how competent and productive they are and therefore hang onto their jobs; no longer thinking of the team as a whole but merely their individual place in it. This can fragment a team as unrealistic promised targets remain unmet, and finger pointing and blame culture increases.

This is something that is for the manager to prevent and the team to monitor and fix; otherwise individual fears become a reality as overall performance takes a nose dive.

So the high performing team is defined by its ability to recognize, monitor and control any factors that are detrimental to the team as a whole. This type of team may dip with the market but consistently performs to the peak of the market conditions and more, they are good because of their ability to keep challenging and refining their performance through self belief and passionate leadership; constantly challenging their own and others limiting beliefs.

Companies such as IKEA who constantly seek self refreshment knowing that complacency halts growth are the reason why they are continuing to grow throughout Europe.

The ‘what would happen if’…. factor is always explored, the egos are stroked but put away when not conducive to team growth and the shining stars take internal leadership seriously because they value the team success.
If you have created a good team the reaction of the rest of the organisation can flow from resenting to embracing and emulating this transition is all about how you and your team help them sit comfortably within your organisation.

If you would like to hear more about Field Dynamics’ work in this area, please visit our website
Field Dynamics Limited and see the impact we can have on your team…..

Our Latest News!

It has been pretty busy here recently at Field Dynamics as we strive to overcome the misery of the British winter; focusing on our work with one of the leaders in the conservation of our British landscape – The National Trust.

 We feel privileged to be working with such a worthwhile charity who continually strive to make a difference.  We are currently delivering ‘Influencing and Negotiation’ workshops and ‘Advanced Facilitation Skills’ workshops and are finding that it really gets the creative juices flowing to be able to deliver in such magnificent and beautiful buildings!

 We are really looking forward to our further work with The National Trust, stretching as it will into 2014.

 We are also pleased (and somewhat excited!) to be able to share that we have been working with one of our technology clients who have restructured to offer Career Change, Job Search and Outplacement Support Services. These offer a mixture of group workshops and one to one sessions around the country.  Further details will be coming soon!

 In the meantime if you would like to hear more about what we are doing, please browse our website at:

Communication and the art of diversity

Here at Field Dynamics we have been  busy recently working on one of our commercial workshops; as well as focusing on our work overseas. Of course all those reading this will know that when facilitating a flow of information between people who are miles apart (be that over the water or even different branches within the same country)it is easy to lose the message in the push-pull of differing expectations, culture and ‘language’ (both figuratively and literally)of those that you work alongside.

 Research done by Karen C. Kaser and Madeline Johnson of the University of Houston cite Lehman and DuFrene (2008) when they state that:

 “Differences between the sender and the receiver in areas such as culture, age, gender, and education require a sensitivity on the part of both parties so that the intended message is the one that is received”

 Add into this differences in language and ethnodiversity and the possibilities for miscommunication are huge.  However, it needs to be remembered that diversity in teams can actually be an enhancement to performance; leading to an increased range of ideas, different angles in relation to problem solving and shared knowledge that can be re-examined in new and unique ways.

 In this global marketplace we are all facing an ever widening pool of those we will deal with both in our business and personal lives. The key to forming stronger, more productive and richer relationships is a strong basis in education and training around ethnodiversity, cultural and gender differences and both the verbal and nonverbal ‘language’ that we use.

However, perhaps the greatest skill remains something that we all have the capacity to deliver…as Lehman & DuFrene would say, a ‘sensitivity’ to each other and an openness to celebrate not only each other’s similarities and shared visions, which is comparatively easy; but to embrace each other’s differences and encorporate these into confidently and consistently expanding that vision.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business in areas of communication and diversity, please visit us at

 Thanks to Karen C. Kaser and Madeline Johnson of the University of Houston

We would like t…

We would like to share the good news that we are currently working with BCS the Chartered Institute for IT and will be creating a series of workshops and  individual and team development events to inspire even greater success in the future.

Having worked with BCS previously, we welcome the new longer-term partnership with this global standard bearer for professionalism across all aspects Information Technology.

Managing Change in the Workplace

 In today’s climate change in the workplace is something that many people can relate to.

Words such as ‘downsizing’, ‘‘merger’, ‘new management’, ‘streamlining’ are ricocheting around both the internet & social media sites leaving a trail of paranoia and fear in their wake.

 And it is an unavoidable truth that humans are ‘hard wired’ to have a predictable response to change, particularly when it comes out of the blue or is enforced; starting with a drop in performance.

 This may cause managers to lose heart, with the thought that however they play it, company performance is going to be hard hit.

 However, companies can and do manage change effectively; by recognising and utilising the following:

  •  That performance drops but then begins to improve as people move through a sequence of emotions, starting with denial, then resistance, moving to exploration and finally commitment to a new course of action based on the change.
  •  That performance starts to improve at the juncture between resistance and exploration when focus changes from the past to the future and people begin to consider both what’s in it for them, and what will actually happen as a result of the change.

 People go through this sequence at different speeds, but we all go through it.  Your skills as a leader will be to help your people get through this sequence as quickly as possible; with the critical phase being in creating a future focus.

 You can find out more about how to improve performance in a culture of change by going to our website


So what makes FDL unique?

 …….Chester Barnard wrote that a key part of any organisation can be seen in the necessity of individuals to subordinate, to some degree, their own desires to the collective will of the organisation…….

With Field Dynamics, the key combination of business experience, experiential learning and technical training enable our team to design and deliver programmes that provoke actions and behavioural changes in people that get consistent, long term, exceptional results.

The open and honest approach of FDL is simple and elegant, No gimmicks, no hidden agendas we address the individual’s needs in the market place now and build a mentality to engender  a thriving corporate environment.

We shake your people out of the automatic and patterned behaviours that they have fallen into and create with them focussed, energised and effective new ways of achieving the results you need.

We diagnose what impedes performance in organisations, we design programmes to create top performance, we implement them in companies, and they work.  Clients tell us we’re unique.

Many understand what organisations need to do to succeed – it’s just common sense.  Field Dynamics is unique because we turn it into common practice.  We can help you succeed.

Knowing that most organisational effectiveness problems are due to people is one thing.  Knowing how to fix them is Field Dynamics’ unique expertise.

Getting people to want to do well in their organisations is where FDL is unique.  When people want something to happen, it does!  All you need to do is ensure it’s the right something! In this challenging climate, come and see what Field Dynamics can do for your business….

Field Dynamics diagnose what impedes performance in organisations, design training and coaching programmes to create top performance, implement them and ensure they work.
Tel +44 (0)23 8022 3888     Mobile +44 (0)7979 916838

Effective offshoring

Director of Field Dynamics, Dan Szabunia, has recently  spent some time in India workingoutsourcing with offshored functions from the UK.  Field Dynamics were asked to help diagnose what increased effectiveness would look like.

It quickly became obvious that there were different expectations regarding both process and output, but this was not simply a leadership, team development or communication issue.  Rather, this sat in the broader context of cultural difference, that in turn leads to very different perceptions and interpretations of the situation.  Paradoxically, we believe that the notion of a ‘shared’ language actually impedes progress; great care is required to avoid making assumptions around the actual effectiveness of communication in this context.

The basis of success is around the old fundamentals – ensuring you have a real, empathic understanding of how the ‘other side’ sees the world, then you can strive to create a win-win.

What are your experiences of offshoring to the East?

Field Dynamics diagnose what impedes performance in organisations, design training and coaching programmes to create top performance, implement them and ensure they work.
Tel +44 (0)23 8022 3888     Mobile +44 (0)7979 916838