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#587: Build in Coordination Time When Teaming

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I am often called on to team with other professionals to conduct a training program or facilitate some sessions. What amazes me is how well we come together, even though we may not have previously known each other or worked with the client before. Is this usual?

I wish I could say that a quickly assembled team of consultants or facilitators results in a smooth, productive experience. Certainly working with people with whom you have previously worked eases this process, but this is not always possible on short notice. We usually don't bring new people into a team unless necessary, but when we need to do so, there are a few caveats.

First, be clear what qualities you are looking for in a team member (e.g., technical skills, political acumen, relationships, industry or client experience, and data). Recognize that if you depart from such standards, you may be asking for trouble in delivering for your client. Second, look closely at the personality. You will need to quickly come together and agree on process approach and deployment, so flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity should be high on your list. Third, if you don't know them personally, get at least one reference, to increase the odds that the person will fit the team. Finally, check in with your client about the proposed team members. If you plan to put these new individual in a client-facing setting, the client should have some input into the selection.

Tip: Make sure to build in time to get the team in sync. Even seasoned professionals benefit by going over terminology, personalities, engagement rules established by the client, performance expectations of the convener of the team, preferences of team members (after all, each of them will have firmly set ways of conducting their business), the process steps and timing for the project at hand, and the protocols for making decisions during the engagement. Professionalism involves attention to details to make sure.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  consulting colleagues  consulting process  facilitation  teaming 

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