Pathfinder Associates
Tel: 01625 250848 or 07825 971371

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Update on Team Effectiveness Research Project

Nearly 30 companies have now contributed to the effective SME lead teams research project and the initial results are showing some fascinating trends. The two factors which consistently score the lowest are:

Feedback – eg clear feedback on performance, praising quality of work, guiding towards effective processes, monitoring performance, helpful feedback, etc. Everyone needs constructive feedback so they know that they, the services and the company are on the right track, even apparently robust and confident types. It also has a major influence on employee engagement. So, what prevents this happening? Lack of time? Embarrassment? Not priority?

Reflexivity – few teams devote space and time to team maintenance activities (reviewing objectives, methods, communications, do we work effectively together, etc). When lead teams meet they are usually in task mode or fighting fires. Taking some time out of busy schedules to reflect on how they are working together never reaches sufficiently up the priorities list. It seems like a luxury and when customers are shouting for their order or service, or suppliers are failing to deliver, it doesn’t happen. However, team maintenance sits firmly in Stephen Covey’s “Quality” quadrant – it is important, but not urgent.

The press tends to dwell on stories where shareholders pay themselves large dividends, only for companies to go bump in the night, leaving employees in the mire. However, there are some really heartening case studies developing from this project; owners who want to leave value in the business for employees to take over when they retire, owners who put employees first, because they will then provide excellent customer service, continuous improvement schemes which place high value on employee ideas, leaders who help and encourage their staff and are there when times get tough.

Some contributing companies have interesting dilemmas, such as the stretch marks associated with rapid growth, e.g. when to take on new people, how to find people who will fit with the existing team, recruiting people who will take you to where you want to be, not keep you where you are now, structural and organisational concerns, succession planning, ageing workforce. One company volunteered to take part but then had to withdraw due to a spectacular fall out in the management team.

Building Effective SME Lead Teams is free for all participants, the questionnaire takes about 20-30mins to complete, and we feedback results with comparative data to allow everyone to benchmark with other companies. All data are anonymous, with the exception of a few case studies and these are agreed with those companies beforehand.

If you would like to be involved, or know a company willing to contribute, please contact Alan on 01625 250848, 07825 971371 or on

It’s Taking Part that Counts

Anybody can celebrate a winner.  The newspapers and on line media always give plenty of column inches to companies, teams or people that break records.  Sales records!  Sports records!  Output records!  Well, in Britain we also have a proud tradition of celebrating our almost heroes.  Scott was almost the first person to reach the South Pole. George Mallory was almost the first to reach the summit of Everest (he may indeed have done so). Devon Loch almost won the Grand National, but is famously known for spectacularly spread-eagling just yards from the finishing line.  Eddie the Eagle……

Well, we have another almost heroes team the country can be proud of.  The Team Leaders at Anglo Recycling, based in Whitworth, made a valiant attempt to break the Pathfinder Business Simulator Record, a long standing goal all aspire to, almost as long standing as Bob Beamon’s humungous Olympic long jump in Mexico back in 1968.  After an inglorious start, in which they looked in serious danger of becoming insolvent, the Anglo Team developed very quickly, they huffed and they puffed (in a cerebral sense), they balanced the team efforts very effectively (Leicester City watch out!) and then, on their sixth and final attempt, they went for broke but gallantly fell just short.  However, they had great fun trying and learned a lot in the process.

See the simulator in action at

If your team believe they can beat the Pathfinder Business Simulator Challenge on their way to leadership or team development, please contact Alan on 07825-971371 or at

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