The adapt way


How do you build an engaged and effective team?

'Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much'

- Helen Keller

Highlighted model of The Adapt Way teams, emphasizing key aspects like accountability, progress, role clarity, stewardship, and purpose alignment.

High performing teams are one of the fundamental building blocks of a modern organisation.

Finding a way of aligning everyone in a team to work effectively can be tough! Team Leaders need everyone to be accountable for their roles and relationships and deal with issues in an honest, authentic way.

Building effective teams is not a set-and-forget exercise. It is ongoing work that requires commitment and focus.

So, we built the adapt team model to support you in building high-performing teams in your business.

Base model of The Adapt Way team structure, showcasing various principles and elements that contribute to a high-performing team.

We have 6 components to our team model:

  • Trust and psychological safety‍
  • Alignment of purpose and values‍
  • Effective stewardship‍
  • Clarity of roles‍
  • Meaningful progress‍
  • High levels of accountability
Illustration of The Adapt Way team model focusing on trust and psychological safety among team members.

Trust and psychological safety

Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking; people can admit their mistakes, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help when it’s needed.

Building trust and psychological safety in the team is an essential first step for any team to be effective. Where there is trust and team members feel safe:

  • Innovation improves
  • Team members learn quickly from their own and each other’s mistakes
  • Problems are overcome quickly
  • People are more engaged

In a team where there is a low level of trust and psychological safety, we see innovation and learning stalls while gossip and politics can breed. Building trust between people and an environment of psychological safety takes time and the preparedness of all parties to be vulnerable. It requires the team leader to actively build a culture that allows people to feel safe and bring their whole self to work.

Illustration of The Adapt Way team model depicting the alignment of purpose and values within the team.

Alignment of purpose and values

The emotional glue that binds the team’s culture is its sense of identity and purpose.

  • Why do they exist as a team?
  • How do they agree to behave?

The team purpose

No one wants to be in a meeting with no idea why they are there. No clue what the team is working on. The team purpose expresses the reason a team exists and should connect to the overall purpose of the organisation. A team purpose gives team members clarity and focus for the work they do.

The team values

Every team member has their personal values and ideas on how a team should behave. Being explicit on the team’s values ensures everyone is on the same page.

If all team members agree on the non-negotiable truths for team behaviour, their team will communicate more effectively, improve collaboration and be in a better position to navigate through conflict.

Illustration of The Adapt Way team model illustrating the principle of effective stewardship in team dynamics.

Effective stewardship

One of the most powerful capabilities you can instill in your team is effective stewardship - how you run your meetings and manage your work. Effective stewardship can take a lot of pain and noise out of the system, removing hours and energy wasted in unproductive meetings, poor decision-making and confusion around who is doing what.

When a group of intelligent people come together to talk about issues that matter, it is both natural and productive for disagreement to occur. Resolving those issues is what makes a meeting productive, engaging, even fun.

Patrick Lencioni

Meetings get a bad rap, and rightly so as they are often long, tedious and without a purpose. Veteran leadership coach Patrick Lencioni believes bad meetings reflect bad leaders.

A good meeting will have clear guidance, a clear purpose and an agreed upon set of behaviours.

Managing the work of the team

For teams to be effective, they need a common view of their work. This work should be visible to all so team members can see who is working on what, the status, and when it is due to be completed. This information should be readily available and up to date.

Managing the work is something we see teams struggle with a lot. They try to solve it by having regular status meetings, where everybody gives their updates verbally and everybody else loses the will to live. No wonder meetings get a bad rap.

To make this information transparent, we use a simple Kanban and its seemingly too-simple principles of:

  • Make the work of the team clearly visible.
  • Limit the amount of work-in-progress.
Illustration of The Adapt Way team model emphasizing the clarity of roles among team members.

Clarity of roles

Members of high performing teams know what they have to do to contribute to team purpose. Clear roles and tasks in a team help everyone to understand their responsibilities and how to be successful. Who does what, who is accountable for what?

Adapt captures processes so it is available to everyone in their team. It also provides role clarity to those involved in executing the process. Those responsible for the team and the processes will need to be accountable for this.

Once the team processes and roles have been clarified, then more details can be fleshed out for each role.

  • What are the less tangible attributes and behaviours required to do this role?
  • What are the capabilities or skills required to do this role?
  • What are the primary relationships for this role?
  • Who currently holds this role in the team?
Illustration of The Adapt Way team model showcasing the significance of meaningful progress for team members.

Meaningful progress

One of the motivating factors for a team is a sense of progress. The knowledge they are achieving results and contributing to the purpose of the team and organisation. No one wants to work for no reward! It isn’t sustainable.

We believe that capturing meaningful metrics (such as a team assessment survey) to show the team’s progress gives a great way to measure improvement over time.

Objectives are another example of measuring team progress. Team leaders work with their team to set quarterly and annual team objectives to support the organisation’s objectives.

Illustration of The Adapt Way team model highlighting the importance of high levels of accountability within the team structure.

High levels of accountability

Accountability is the cornerstone of effective teamwork and the final success factor of a high-performing team. When team members take ownership of their actions and responsibilities, it leads to better collaboration, improved performance and a healthier work environment.

All the elements of the adapt team model need to be in place to build accountability.

Benefits of accountability in a team include:

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Clear communication
  • Prioritisation and focus
  • Higher engagement
  • Trust and collaboration
  • Improved execution of work