Virginia at Work: Turning an ordinary team into extraordinary

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Whether it’s a major project or one that’s seemingly routine, the Team Work Cycle can help you turn that outcome from ordinary to extraordinary.

After years of research and consulting leaders in our area, Lynda McNutt Foster with Cortex Leadership Consulting says the four phases of the Team Work Cycle are a must to successfully complete a project, and they need to happen in order.

Foster gives leaders an assessment to see where they best fit … whether he or she is a visionary, which is the first stage, an ideator, a planner, or finally an executor. 

Foster says, “We have digitized assessment, that is free, because we’ve been doing research for about four years on it now. We can give you an assessment to tell you if you are really good at coming up with a vision, whether you’re someone who loves to brainstorm and come up with tons of ideas, whether you’re someone who loves those details and comes up with a plan or whether, ‘Man! Give me the baton, I wanna go.'”

  • Phase one, which is vision, is the why and what stage. That’s where a task is broadly defined and team members are identified
  • Phase two, which is ideation, is the brainstorming stage. Alternatives are generated and outside resources are identified.
  • Phase three, which is planning, is the how stage.  Plans are developed and potential conflicts are resolved.
  • Phase four, which is execution, is the “Go!” stage. The plan has been selected, implemented and results are measured.

“If you skip a step, you will really be able to tell when you try to get the plan implemented. If you skipped the vision space, then when you get to planning people don’t know why we’re doing what we’re doing. Then it’s a bunch of ideas, not attached to a deeper why?  If you skip the planning, big trouble.  Need a plan. Need a strategic plan, ideas are great, but without a plan, you fall down in the execution,” says Foster.

The system focuses on assigning people, according to their strengths.  To be successful, Foster says to allow people to do the work they prefer.  That will result in the team’s best efforts. Keep in mind, All four phases require the equal amount of time and energy and the ideal team has members who preferences cover all four phases.

Foster says 60% of the leaders she’s researched have shown a strength in planning … taking a project from the idea phase and moving it forward to the execution.

She adds a piece of advice, “One of the things we have found, when teaching, is putting ideators with planners in one meeting can be combustion. It can be a lot of conflict, because the ideators are going off with all their ideas and the planners are just going ‘Too much! Stop!’  Sometimes a planner can be seen as a nay-sayer. They can sort of kill the enthusiasm and excitement of the ideators. So, both very necessary, both are needed in a process, but they may not need to be together at the same time in the same meeting.”

For more information on the Team Work Cycle, click here.

To get a free assessment, you can contact Lynda McNutt Foster at

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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