What clients say about our work:

Ken tree, Finance Manager, BP Forties Pipeline System:

“I am pleased to highly recommend TBG ‘s professional approach, excellent deliver, efficient planning and organisation. Throughout the two year programme David delivered a very high standard of work and gained a high level of respect from staff at all levels. He ensured high regular feedback was provided as well as delivering key outcomes and demonstrable improvements. These included:

  • Enhancing the leadership capability of both Leadership, Team and Team Leaders
  • Improving teamwork and individual performance within and across teams
  • Leading an exercise to define vision, values and forward strategy for the business
  • Supporting the integration of Forties Pipeline System with departments at the Grangemouth refining and processing plant”

TBG has a wide range of experience in addressing issue related to the development of Boards and Senior Leadership Teams who are looking to improve their handling of change and transition, and further develop their ability to perform at a higher level, together with actively demonstrating the required leadership behaviours.

Building on our own experience we are currently developing our approach to incorporate the latest research which concludes that there are six conditions for senior leadership team effectiveness:1

  • Creating a real team, rather than one that is a team in name only
  • Providing the team with a clear and compelling purpose
  • Ensuring that the team consists of the members who have the knowledge, skill, and experience that are required for the team’s work
  • A solid team structure
  • A supportive organisational context and
  • Competent team coaching

We have also been involved in building and developing functional, cross-functional, service focussed, operational and virtual teams at all levels.

Clients have included a wide range of managerial and clinical teams in the NHS, and in the private sector teams within BP, Takeda, Novo Nordisk, Eircom, BBC, William Grant & Sons Distillers Limited and ING.

At TBG we are often asked to support team leaders in developing themselves and their people to become higher performers. There could be a whole number of reasons for requesting this support but one question we have found very useful to ask before going any further down the road of designing specific interventions is, are you actually a team or are you a group, or at times are you both?

The primary reason for asking this question is to clarify what they mean by team because the word conveys different things to different people.

Some people think entirely of sports, where coaching, ‘individual bests,’ and practicing hard to win matter most.
Some think about teamwork values like sharing, co-operating, and helping one another.
Some think that any group that works together is a team.
Some believe any management group is a team.
And some think primarily of two-person pairings like those found in marriage and partnership.

In addition, we encounter many views on the benefits and costs of teams.

  • Some people believe teams are a powerful vehicle for performance.
  • Some believe their main value is to support and build self-confidence in their members, or to promote involvement, empowerment, and broad-based teamwork.
  • Some believe teams add value only to short-term project work.
  • On the other hand, many people believe team’s waste time, squander resources, and get in the way of decisive individual action and performance.
  • Still others believe teams expose them to unpleasant personal risks like the loss of hierarchical control.

By listening to people who are or have been part of teams or potential teams Katzenbach and Smith2 developed their definition that distinguishes a team from a mere group of people with a common assignment. Their definition of a team is:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

At the heart of their definition of team lies the fundamental premise, namely that teams and performance are inextricably connected. They believe that the truly committed team is the most productive performance unit management has at its disposal – provided there are specific results for which the team is collectively responsible, and provided the performance ethic of the organisation demands those results.

Their definition of a working group is:

“A group where there is no significant incremental performance need or opportunity that would require it to become a team. Members interact primarily to share information, best practices, or perspectives and make decisions to help each individual perform within his or her own area of

By paying attention to this distinction we believe TBG has been more effective in designing team development activities which have contributed to greater levels of both individual and collective performance. This combined with our understanding of group dynamics and the appropriate use of psychometrics, 360 and Belbin Team Roles make our interventions highly effective.

We have worked with a number of organisations helping people to build and/or develop their teams including:

  • A Senior Management Team in a major oil company
  • News and Current Affairs teams in the BBC
  • Organisation & development teams in a Strategic Health Authority
  • Six years developing team leadership skills for senior managers in a multicultural international bank
  • Clinicians in an NHS Primary Care Trust
  • Chief Officers and their staff in the Department for International Development
  • Public Health teams in two Strategic Health Authorities
  • Senior and middle mangers in a number of pharmaceutical companies
  • Operational staff in a major whiskey distilling company

1.   Senior Leadership Teams, what it takes to make them great, R Wageman, D Nunes, J Burruss, 
       J Richard Hackman, Harvard Business School Press, 2008.
2.   The Wisdom of Teams, Creating the High Performing Organisation, Jon R Katzenbach & Douglas K Smith, Harvard  
       Business School Press, 1993.