DEFINE TEAMS & CUSTOMERS (Primer, Section IV; IV-2)  define-phase

  1. Team Dynamics and Performance
    1. Team Stages and Dynamics
    2. Team Roles and Responsibilities
    3. Team Tools
    4. Team Communications
  2. Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Team Introduction * (IV-2)

A participative style of management is the best approach to ensure employees involvement in the improvement process.  Provide challenging jobs to leverage their talents and abilities.  Ironically, Team Participation is one of the key areas where most American companies fail.

Company Team Benefits (IV – 2)

  • Team members share their involvement in the problem to be addressed.
  • Usually team members have diverse skills and experience and may represent various departments and functions in the organization.
  • Diversity and the leverage gained from groups of individuals  pooling their talents and expertise.

Improvement Teams (IV – 3)

  • Usually capable of solving larger issues than individuals working alone.
  • Can develop a more full understanding of the process needing improvement.
  • Can have immediate access to the technical skills and knowledge of all team members (including: all six sigma belts)
  • Can rely on the mutual support & cooperation that arises among team members, as they work on a common project.

Team Member Benefits (IV – 3)

  • Opportunity for greater understanding of the issues affecting their work.
  • Chance to be creative and share ideas.
  • Opportunity to forge stronger working relationships with colleagues.
  • Opportunity to learn new skills and enhance existing ones.
  • Chance to work on a project with the full support and interest of upper management.
  • The satisfaction of solving a chronic problem, which may attract and /or retain more customers, increase revenues, and reduce costs.

Team Resources (IV – 3)

Resources are things such as: time, talent, money, information, and materials.  Developing productive teams will use considerable resources; management must optimize the resources available to teams.  The best place to establish  the team’s expectations, concerning available resources, is the Team Charter.

Team Objectives (IV-4)

The team process can be highly effective, people-building, potential-releasing, goal-achieving, social system characterized by:

  • A climate of high support                                             * Creative problem solving
  • An open communication process                               * Individual achievement
  • Organizational goal achievement                               * Commitment

Team building is fundamentally used in order to increase the internal and external efficiencies of the company.  Using the efforts of the team members to improve quality, methods, and/or productivity, properly functioning teams will:

  • Improve employee morale
  • Remove areas of conflict
  • Develop creative skills of members
  • Improve communication and leadership skills of members
  • Develop problem solving techniques
  • Improve attitudes of both management and team members
  • Provide team members with indication that management will listen to them
  • Demonstrate that employees have good ideas
  • Improve management/employee relationships
  • Some reason that teams have been success

The following are a list of some reasons that teams have been successful in many companies:

  • Company Management sanctioned teams are perceived to have more trust-worthy ideas.
  • Team procedures allow all team members to communicate and exercise creative expression.
  • The Team concept is supported by various modern motivational theory:









Team Empowerment (IV-5)

Most power is derived from the organization’s management authority.  A team is empowered by virtue of that power that is granted to it by management.  Management grants the Team Power.  A Team Charter is a useful tool for helping management and team members to understand just exactly what the team is empowered to do.

Team members have control over the team’s performance and behavior.  Sources of Power include: Control, Access to Resources and Information (i.e. financial conditions, organizational changes, market conditions, etc…)

Management Support (IV-5): Management supports the team process by:

  • Ensuring a constancy of purpose                                        * Giving people a sense of mission
  • Reinforcing Positive results                                                 * Providing direction and support
  • Sharing business results                                                       * Developing an integrated plan

Types of Teams (IV-6 THRU IV-9)

  • Six Sigma Teams
    • Structure
      • Generally 8 to 12 members with Black Belt or Master Black Belt Support.
      • Cross Functional
    • Best Applications
      • Specific process or customer-based projects of importance.
  • Improvement Teams
    • Structure
      • Generally 8 to 10 members from a single department.
    • Best Applications
      • Can work on quality or productivity issues.
      • Process improvement team(s) can consist of multi-department membership and focus on process flow and product issues.
  • Project Teams/Task Forces/Ad Hoc Teams
    •  Structure
      • Can have broad or specific member selection, and
      • May consist of all or part management
    • Best Applications
      • Works on specific projects such as the installation of a conveyor system.
      • May also focus on material related items like an improved inventory control system.
      • Normally depends on project completion.
  • Self-Directed Teams
    •  Structure
      • 6-15 members.
      • Generally a natural (single) work area team and may need staff support.
    • Best Applications
      • Requires considerable training and exposure.
      • Can be given objectives or develop their own.
      • Some companies select people with cooperative skills to help with success.
  • Cross Functional Teams
    •  Structure
      • 8-12 members from different (diverse) areas, departments, or disciplines.
    • Best Applications
      • Members are carefully selected.
      • Knowledgeable people are required.
        • Special skills, etc…
      • Tends to deal more with policies, practices, and operations.
      • Very similar to project teams.
      • Cross Functional membership is used in Six Sigma & Project Improvement Teams.
      • Usually, disassemble at the conclusion of the engagement.
  • Quality Teams
    •  Structure
      • May be 8-10 members from a single Department.
    • Best Applications
      • May initially work on quality topics or overall department performance.
      • Can evolve into self-directed teams.
  • Process Improvement Team
    • Employees, for process improvement team consideration, may be taken from more than one department in order to look into the floor of material and semi-finished goods required to streamline the process.
  • Quality Circles
    • Originating in Japan after WWII, Quality Circles allows for and encourages people on the production floor to participate in decisions that will improve quality and/or reduce manufacturing costs.
      • Major Circle considerations/categories are:
        • Quality
        • Productivity issue optimization
        • Cost savings justification
        • Departmental members voluntarily participate towards improving intranet-departmental (not inter-departmental) performance thus people are highly motivated to continue the  improvement process.
    • Effective forearms for exchanging suggestions and finding solutions.
  • Natural Work Team Organization
    • In natural work teams, leadership is usually given to the area supervisor.  Team members are pooled from the supervisors workforce.  Outside members, from specialist organizations, can be included in the membership, either as active members or as contributing guests.
    • A facilitator is a another important person often included in this team’s organizational structure.  The facilitator is specifically trained to coordinate multiple team activities, oversee team progress, document results, and train team members in their associated duties.

Synopsis of Team Applications