The 3 Gets is a research driven and practical way to develop an effective team. Approximately 80% of senior leadership teams are either dysfunctional or mediocre at best (1) (Wageman et al., 2008, p12). The 3 Gets condenses a vast body of research and scientific literature into a simple framework to help every leader evaluate where they need to focus to help their team perform at the top of their game.
The skill of individuals is no longer enough. Leaders and managers have to develop high performing teams if they want to succeed in solving tough or complex business challenges.
Teams are highly interdependent - they plan work, solve problems, make decisions, and review progress in service of a specific project. Team members need one another to get work done. Team leaders are currently facing several challenges.
We need to help managers forge team identity in this complex environment. Collectively these challenges make it tougher than ever for leaders to build cohesive, trusting and effective teams.
The 3 Gets is a model describing three stages of team maturity andl is both actionable and evidence based. In particular it’s designed for teams that need to collaborate to reach a shared goal, rather than groups of people that may be managed by one person but have individual goals and tasks.
The 3 Gets diagnostic can provide a quick sense check as to where the main challenges are in the team. A natural place to start is to Get Set as many of the more complex team issues are solved by clarity on goals, roles & responsibilities.
Of course teams rarely develop in a linear, logical fashion, they will make progress in all three stages all at once. However, the model provides a route forward that will help teams reflect on their situation and understand where there are opportunities to improve.
This stage is all about creating clarity on team goals and the roles and responsibilities of team members in achieving those goals.The team generates clarity and security up front from making collective commitments thereby ‘setting itself up’ to succeed.
Getting Set is not a one-off event. The team will require regular resetting. The leader and team will need to check in with the team at frequent later dates as context changes or team members change. The 5 foundations of Get Set are:
The team leader can significantly increase chances of team success by starting off the journey with these commitments in place as collectively these accelerate the building of trust (8).
This stage is all about building psychological safety and trust. Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes(9). Trust is a belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something (9, 10). We might consider three C’s of trust:
Psychological safety and trust are essential for effective collaboration. It’s important so that we freely express our opinions, make contributions, challenge and speak up when we have concerns. It drives better decisions, and creates innovation (11). Developing trust is essential for getting the best out of a diverse team. The 4 elements of Get Safe are:
Getting Set lays the groundwork for Getting Safe; agreeing goals, purpose and plans is a powerful way to start building safety and team trust (18, 19, 20). It is easier to build safety if we have clear, collective commitments in place (21, 22). We can reference back to these clear commitments and make adjustments as necessary.
Building trust and safety takes time. One of the benefits of enduring teams (21, 22) is this knowledge of each other and the trust and safety created. But in the modern organisation, teams often form and disband quickly. Taking time to Get Set can provide a jump start. However, we also need mechanisms to develop safety that we can practically integrate into our working life.
This stage is about leveraging the benefits of the clarity achieved in Get Set and the safety achieved in Get Safe, to enable effective team and inter-team collaboration to take place. The team forms strong, collaborative relationships defined by constructive and assertive interactions. The team holds itself to high-standards and is willing to challenge each other and ask tough questions when standards are not being met.
It will be much easier to benefit from Strong behaviours if we have already got “Set” and “Safe”. Clear commitments made when we get set mean we know where, why and how to collaborate. The psychological safety and trust between team mates enables us to challenge constructively. The 5 areas to master to get Strong are:
When strong we can hold team members or stakeholders to account, when it is appropriate to do so. We can make decisions without unnecessary referral and act with co-ordination, mental strength and collective power.
These same basic principles apply for all teams that are working towards a shared goal. There are many different types: leadership teams, cross functional teams, project teams or teams set up to solve a specific problem.
For enduring, intact teams this might mean spending a little more time to develop strong foundations through CoachBot sessions. Often a team might not have time for a 2 days offsite but a well structured one hour conversation to discuss team purpose can be invaluable.
Fast moving project teams may need an even lighter touch approach. Using a one-page canvas or exercise from the toolbox. However, the same basic principles apply. Once we have mastered the key activities to get set, get safe and get strong we will be able to apply course corrections with a lightness of touch in all team situations.
The 3 Gets framework is both simple and intuitive to understand but also evidence based and robust - that’s why teams use it and love it.
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