Change Focus: Team Development 

T7 Model for Teams

The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness is a framework that identifies seven key factors that contribute to high-performing teams.
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What is the T7 Model of Team Effectiveness?

The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness is a comprehensive framework that identifies and addresses the key factors that contribute to a team’s overall success. Developed by researchers and practitioners in the fields of organisational behaviour and team performance, the T7 Model provides a practical roadmap for managers, team leaders, and team members to assess and improve the functioning of their teams.

The T7 Model is grounded in the idea that effective teams are those that can balance both internal and external factors to achieve their objectives. These factors include the critical elements of team dynamics such as trust, talent, and teaming skills, as well as the broader organisational context in which the team operates. By understanding and addressing these seven dimensions, organisations can create the conditions necessary for high-performing teams to thrive.

In this article, we will explore the background of the T7 Model, the five internal team factors and the two external team factors that comprise the model, and provide examples of how to apply the T7 Model to improve team effectiveness in your own organisation.

Background to the T7 Model of Team Effectiveness

The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness has its roots in decades of research into the factors that contribute to team success. This body of research has identified a wide range of variables that can impact a team’s performance, including individual abilities, interpersonal dynamics, and the larger organisational environment. However, until the development of the T7 Model, there was no unified framework that brought together these diverse elements in a coherent and actionable way.

The T7 Model was developed to fill this gap by synthesising existing research and adding new insights from the field. The result is a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to understanding and improving team performance that is both rigorous and practical. By focusing on the seven key dimensions of team effectiveness, the T7 Model provides a powerful tool for organisations to assess and enhance the functioning of their teams.

The T7 Model has been applied in a wide range of settings, including corporations, non-profit organisations, and government agencies. It has been used to improve team performance in a variety of contexts, from project teams to cross-functional teams to virtual teams. The T7 Model is an adaptable framework that can be tailored to the specific needs and goals of any team, making it a valuable resource for managers and team leaders across industries.

The five internal team factors

The heart of the T7 Model of Team Effectiveness lies in its five internal team factors. These factors capture the most critical dimensions of team dynamics, and provide a roadmap for teams to assess and improve their functioning. Let’s take a closer look at each of these five factors and their corresponding dimensions.

1. Thrust

The first internal team factor is Thrust, which refers to the team’s shared sense of purpose and commitment to achieving its goals. Thrust consists of three dimensions:

Thrust Management

Thrust Management refers to the team’s ability to translate its shared purpose and goals into a clear and actionable plan. This dimension involves setting priorities, establishing roles and responsibilities, and ensuring that everyone on the team understands what is expected of them.

Thrust Clarity

Thrust Clarity refers to the team’s ability to communicate its purpose and goals clearly and effectively. This dimension involves articulating the team’s mission, vision, and objectives in a way that is meaningful and inspiring to all team members.

Thrust Commitment

Thrust Commitment refers to the team’s willingness to work together to achieve its goals, even in the face of challenges or setbacks. This dimension involves building trust and collaboration among team members, and fostering a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for the team’s success.

2. Trust

The second internal team factor is Trust, which refers to the degree to which team members believe in each other’s competence, reliability, and integrity. Trust consists of three dimensions:

Trust in Truthful Communication

Trust in Truthful Communication refers to the team’s ability to communicate openly and honestly with each other. This dimension involves sharing information, ideas, and feedback in a way that is constructive and respectful, and avoiding hidden agendas or manipulative tactics.

Trust in Actions

Trust in Actions refers to the team’s ability to follow through on commitments and promises. This dimension involves demonstrating reliability and accountability, and avoiding behaviours that undermine trust, such as procrastination or blame-shifting.

Trust Inside the Team

Trust Inside the Team refers to the team’s ability to build strong, positive relationships with each other. This dimension involves creating a supportive and inclusive team culture, and valuing diversity and individual contributions.

3. Talent

The third internal team factor is Talent, which refers to the team’s collective skills, knowledge, and abilities. Talent consists of two dimensions:

Talent Acquisition and Enhancement

Talent Acquisition and Enhancement refers to the team’s ability to attract, develop, and retain top talent. This dimension involves creating a robust talent pipeline, providing ongoing learning and development opportunities, and recognising and rewarding high performance.

Talent Allocation and Deployment

Talent Allocation and Deployment refers to the team’s ability to assign tasks and responsibilities in a way that leverages each team member’s strengths and expertise. This dimension involves balancing workload and ensuring that everyone on the team has the opportunity to contribute their best work.

4. Teaming Skills

The fourth internal team factor is Teaming Skills, which refers to the team’s ability to work together effectively. Teaming Skills consists of six dimensions:

Resource Management

Resource Management refers to the team’s ability to manage time, budget, and other resources effectively. This dimension involves planning and prioritising work, monitoring progress, and making adjustments as needed.

Team Learning

Team Learning refers to the team’s ability to learn from experience and adapt to changing circumstances. This dimension involves reflecting on past performance, seeking feedback, and continuously improving processes and practices.

Decision Making

Decision Making refers to the team’s ability to make high-quality, data-driven decisions in a timely manner. This dimension involves gathering and analysing information, considering multiple perspectives, and weighing trade-offs to arrive at a consensus.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution refers to the team’s ability to manage disagreements and resolve conflicts in a constructive way. This dimension involves recognising and addressing differences in opinion or approach, and finding mutually acceptable solutions.

Team Atmosphere

Team Atmosphere refers to the team’s overall mood and morale. This dimension involves creating a positive and supportive team culture, and fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among team members.

Managing Process

Managing Process refers to the team’s ability to plan, execute, and evaluate work processes effectively. This dimension involves establishing clear and efficient workflows, monitoring progress, and making adjustments as needed.

5. Task Skills

The fifth internal team factor is Task Skills, which refers to the team’s ability to perform its core functions effectively. Task Skills consists of four dimensions:

Focusing

Focusing refers to the team’s ability to stay on task and avoid distractions. This dimension involves setting priorities, managing time effectively, and avoiding multitasking or procrastination.

Assignment Flexibility

Assignment Flexibility refers to the team’s ability to adapt to changing demands and requirements. This dimension involves being agile and responsive, and being willing to adjust course as needed.

Measurement

Measurement refers to the team’s ability to track and evaluate progress toward its goals. This dimension involves setting clear and measurable objectives, monitoring performance, and making data-driven adjustments.

Delivering the Goods

Delivering the Goods refers to the team’s ability to produce high-quality results that meet or exceed expectations. This dimension involves ensuring that the team’s work is accurate, timely, and aligned with the organisation’s strategic priorities.

The two external team factors

In addition to the five internal team factors, the T7 Model of Team Effectiveness also includes two external team factors that can impact team performance:

1. Team-Leader Fit

Team-Leader Fit refers to the degree to which the team’s leader is aligned with the team’s goals, values, and culture. A good fit between the team leader and the team can promote trust, communication, and collaboration, while a poor fit can lead to conflict, mistrust, and disengagement.

2. Team Support from the Organization

Team Support from the Organisation refers to the extent to which the broader organisational context supports the team’s goals and objectives. This can include factors such as resources, infrastructure, policies, and culture. When teams receive adequate support from the organisation, they are better able to achieve their objectives and contribute to the organisation’s success.

Examples of how to use The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness

The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness can be applied in a variety of ways to improve team performance. Here are a few examples:

  • Conduct a team assessment using the T7 Model to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
  • Use the T7 Model to develop a team charter that defines the team’s purpose, goals, and operating norms.
  • Incorporate T7 Model dimensions into performance evaluations and feedback discussions with team members.
  • Use the T7 Model to guide team development and training initiatives, such as leadership development or conflict resolution workshops.
  • Use the T7 Model to evaluate and select team members for specific roles or projects.

Summary

The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness is a powerful framework for understanding and improving team performance. By focusing on the seven key dimensions of team effectiveness, organisations can create the conditions necessary for high-performing teams to thrive. Whether you are a manager, team leader, or team member, the T7 Model can help you assess and enhance the functioning of your team, and achieve your goals with greater success and satisfaction.

T7 Model of Team Effectiveness Template

Click the link to download this change curve template and use it with your teams.

Diagram of the Kübler Ross change curve

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 James Freeman-Gray 

I'm James. A change consultant and organisational development specialist. I've been working in people-centred change for over 15 years. I partner with causes, champions, teams & leaders on projects for social, environmental, technological & human good. If you think I can support in making your change a success, drop me a message. 

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