Team members at CSR are big fans of author Patrick Lencioni.  Last year I read about his Team Effectiveness Exercise at “The Hub.”  You’ve probably been asked to give or receive an evaluation for a 360 evaluation at some point in your career.  It was a popular feedback tool for many years, but it’s not without problems.  Perhaps a consultant was involved, one with little sense of the context in which your comments were made.  The process was long – weeks or even months.  You may have worried about being overly critical of a colleague because he might be critical in return.  You had concerns that your comments could affect your next raise or promotion.  The honesty and directness intended for the exercise were sacrificed to the politics.  In addition, the result was often a lengthy report with a laundry list of areas for improvements.

Lencioni’s Team Effectiveness Exercise offers a different process that is “real time” and more effective.  It also emphasizes team building and connections.  The exercise focuses on the behaviors of each member and how they serve or hinder the team.  The behaviors are identified during the exercise itself (so you minimize the time to rethink the consequences), and they are delivered directly to the person by the colleague.

CSR has tested the exercise in 2018.  People are often nervous at first, but they find themselves quickly enjoying giving honest feedback in this direct way.  Themes inevitably develop in the answers, and behaviors – positive and negative – are rarely a surprise to the recipient.  There’s affirmation, too, in hearing how your behaviors benefit the team’s success, leading to less defensiveness when someone suggests a behavior you could improve.

By the end of the exercise, we’ve seen a palpable increase in team cohesiveness and unity.  Participants also report being more likely to give direct feedback in the future having had this experience.  What team can’t benefit from results like these?  For more details, go to

Betsy Wallace
Betsy is committed to strategic growth and leadership strategies for small businesses. Prior to joining the CSR team and founding E. Wallace Strategies, Betsy was a Senior Relationship Manager with NeighborWorks America, the country’s preeminent leader in affordable housing and community development. In her nineteen years with NeighborWorks, Betsy consulted with network members developing growth strategies and sustaining partnerships, collaborations, and alliances to expand their impact in communities across the United States. She honed almost two decades of expertise in organizational development, executive transition, program evaluation, and governance as well. Betsy co-managed and served as a Coach for NeighborWorks America’s national Excellence in Governance program and served on the Faculty of the NeighborWorks Training Institute.