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A Short but Sweet Team

I recently chaired an accreditation visit and like many, but not all of these teams, this group of five bonded almost immediately and worked seamlessly during the visit. Being someone who coaches teams and is fascinated by their success or lack thereof, I realized that the three day accreditation visit is an ideal situation for a strong, though short lived, team.

Great teams need to have an important purpose. An accreditation team does—it is brought together to help the accrediated school get stronger. It also has a clearly defined goal that reinforces the purpose—write an accreditation report. 

The team is a real team. Specifically, it has clearly delineated members, the members are selected to bring a diversity of expertise and perspectives, and the team is of a rather small size. 

The team consists of people with knowledge, expertise and experience enough to bring value to the task. Hopefully, (and this is where teams can go awry) the members have the emotional intelligence to respect and work well with the other team members.

The team has a clearly defined structure. It has a clearly defined time in which to do its work, and the assignment—responding to the school’s self-study through a report which must include recommendations and commendations is clear.  

The team has the resources to do the work required of it. While time feels tight, the team has time together, a dedicated working space, and in most cases, plenty of sustenance to keep them going. 

Great team have purpose, the right people, are a real team, bring structure to their work, and have the resources to do what is required. The brief accreditation visit offers the team all of that. The one element missing from  great teams is metacognitively thinking about their performance. Perhaps that piece is not needed in such a short time, and a good chair will ask a number of times how the work is proceeding and make changes if needed.

Now if all of our leadership teams could work as effectively as the accreditation team I just experienced.


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