Using team assessments for success with self-organization

Written by
Thomas Staller
|
August 10, 2020
ID37-Thomas-Staller
Successful team performance depends primarily on the quality of interpersonal relationships. Team assessments are an effective means of team-building and strengthening inner team stability when fixed structures in an environment disaggregate.

The team itself gains in importance

The introduction of self-managed structures in companies is an all-encompassing endeavor. It is usually done in order to allow for more rapid and flexible reactions to customer needs in changing markets. There are different models and approaches to the agile world of work. Regardless of which method a company follows, it usually involves breaking up the classic management structure in favor of a network of self-organizing teams.

In increasingly more cases, this means that leadership is distributed over several roles within a team. The team defines its goals, prioritizes its tasks, and carries them out through self-organization while bearing economic responsibility for its activity. With their independence, teams enjoy authority over their budget and decide on the constellation of team members. A construct of hierarchies, fixed rules and procedures thus gives way to an organism featuring individual and agile parts. As formal structures break off from the organization as a whole, a team’s inner structure gains in importance.

In order to navigate one’s way in a work environment, people who are self-organized in their work increasingly depend on understanding the signals they themselves send, as well as those delivered by colleagues, customers and the market. As individuals and teams are given considerable freedom and responsibility, the organization itself must ensure that each individual can handle both.

How to go about team development

When undergoing the transformation to an agile organization, a lot of things are unclear, particularly in the initial phase in which teams find and form themselves. That is why determining a team’s position is the first step in every kind of teamwork. This involves distinguishing the variety of ideas and expectations on different levels:

  • Formal level: What’s our goal as a team? What’s our contribution to organizational performance? What skills do we have, and which ones do we need?
  • Creative level: What does self-organization mean to us? What are its limits? What do we understand our task to be, and how can we live up to it in our day-to-day efforts?
  • Individual level: What are the personalities shaping the team? What makes a person tick? What motivates him or her? What gives them pleasure in achieving goals? What frustrates them? What are the similarities within the team? What kinds of differences can lead to conflicts?

ID37 team assessment: Clarity regarding individual team members and the team’s self-understanding

People often assume that others share their values. But that’s just not the case! For example, a team member who values structure in his or her life is usually firmly convinced that projects that lack a solid structure are doomed to fail. This team member must be able to demonstrate considerable capacity for self-reflection if he or she is to respect the fact that another team member may avoid structures and emphasize adaptivity in carrying out a project.

This is where ID37 comes into play. ID37 is a science-driven personality assessment tool. It determines a person’s individual motivational structure, makes their world of values understandable, and explains their emotions and behavior (see figure).

  Example of an ID37-based personality profile

With the help of an ID37 personality assessment, a team member starts by getting to know him- or herself better and develops their ability to self-reflect in order to navigate their way through a work environment and contribute their best to the team. Self-awareness results in respecting other people and their values, even if one does not understand them in emotional terms. This provides the basis from which empathy, the capacity for building relationships, conflict management and tolerating mistakes can be learned effectively. To carry out your own ID37 personality assessment, click here (fee required).

Assessing a team as a whole provides information regarding the team’s self-understanding. It helps the team develop a common language for the things perceived, experienced and lessons learned. Topics addressed by an ID37 team analysis include

  • knowledge regarding the basic structure of each individual’s personality and the impact of their behavior;
  • insight into what participants value and deepening empathy;
  • increasing respect and appreciation within the team;
  • the power of emotions: behavior under stress;
    an analysis of team values;
  • identifying team-driven phenomena (e.g., the formation of alliances within a group);
  • distinguishing the factors contributing to team success;
  • dealing with taboo subjects (e.g., fear);
  • team emotions: the impact of a team’s successes and defeats and how to handle them.

Team development follows the team assessment

Each team has to go through the analysis phase in order to find a shared understanding among members and to develop a shared language. The assessment gives the team clarity regarding the direction in which it can develop to prove successful with self-organization, and it helps determine which measures are effective. Over time, the team will develop its own structures that provide internal stability and foster flexibility in response to externalities.

In sum: Effective self-organization succeeds when teams are developed

As the path to self-organization involves a reduction in hierarchies, internal structures become more relevant. Team analyses which, like the ID37 personality assessment, are individual-driven, ensure emotional clarity, sensitivity and stable teamwork anchored in trust. It is the task of an organization to understand and support teams by providing personal development and team-building.


For questions regarding the ID37 team analysis, please contact Thomas Staller.