Welcome to Six Sigma Black Belt, Course 2, Module 2, Team Facilitation. Module 2, lesson 1, Ensuring Productive Project Teams. In this module, we will discuss ways to effectively facilitate Six Sigma teams to help ensure successful outcomes. This lesson, we'll discuss characteristics of productive versus unproductive teams, and some techniques to help you keep your project team more productive. Most of us have been on teams that we consider to be effective and productive, and that we enjoyed being a part of. Unfortunately, we've all also probably been on teams that weren't very effective and that we couldn't wait to leave. It's important to know the characteristics of productive versus unproductive teams so that timely actions can be taken to get our project teams back on track if they're in trouble. Here's some things you'll notice when project teams are working well together. First, all team members will be working together toward common goals which are well understood and accepted. The charter is an important aspect of Six Sigma teams that will help you keep your team working toward common goals. In addition, the team's values will reflect the shared values of individual team members, making them more comfortable working together. Choosing the right team members who want to be part of the team and who share a commitment to the team success is important for achieving shared values. In productive teams, members adhere to a supportive and cooperative versus competitive relationship among members. Mutual help is characteristic of productive teams. While friendly competition can be valuable, team leaders must work to create an atmosphere of mutual support and ensure that competition does not become destructive. Again, a strong project charter and the selection of the right team members who share values and a common purpose can help to ensure a supportive environment. Productive teams also frequently examine how they are functioning so that they stay on course. Six Sigma teams should regularly review their progress against their goals and project plan and make any necessary corrections. Team leaders should also periodically speak one-on-one with individual members to get their views on the team's progress. There will be a high degree of participation in team meetings and other team activities with productive teams. Team leaders should work separately with team members who are not participating fully to try to learn why they're not more active. If it's something like a lack of time or interests, the team leader should consider replacing them with someone else who can contribute more fully. Other options might include discussing the situation with the team member supervisor to see if something can be done to help free up their time temporarily so that they can stay on the team without feeling that they are failing, that their other work responsibilities. In addition, when teams are productive, all members will take part in team discussions, and those discussions will remain pertinent to the task of the team and on-point. Team leaders must work to ensure that everyone participates actively in team discussions or their contribution to the team will be limited and their perspective lost. Team members who are less outgoing may need to be called upon to share their thoughts if they aren't comfortable speaking up on their own. In addition, the team leader can help ensure the discussion stays on track by sticking to the agenda during meetings. We'll talk more about team agendas later in this module. Effective interpersonal communication is another characteristic of productive teams. Team members listen to one another and are free in expressing ideas and feelings. We'll talk more about communication skills for teams in the next module. You'll also notice that the atmosphere is informal and relaxed with productive teams. This is important because when team members are comfortable with each other, they're more likely to communicate openly and honestly, and team creativity will be enhanced. Team leaders should monitor the team to development to make sure that the team is moving effectively through the storming and norming stages, and becoming more comfortable working together. Finally, productive teams are comfortable with carefully examining and resolving disagreements before they become conflicts. Disagreement is a natural and desired result of open, honest communication among people with differing perspectives on a problem. It's not a sign of trouble in and of itself. How the team handles disagreement though, is key to ensuring that it leads to better, more creative outcomes instead of becoming destructive. The next module, we'll also provide ideas for successfully managing conflict on teams. There are also several warning signs that teams are not working well together. For example, team members may be unclear of their goals and priorities, and they may seem to be pulling in different directions. This can happen when the teams charter is not clear enough, or the team fails to follow the charter. It's a good idea for team leaders to briefly review the teams charter and objectives at the start of every meeting to keep everyone focused in the same direction. There is also often unnecessary duplication of effort or things falling between the cracks with unproductive teams. To help prevent this, all assigned actions should be tracked in an action register, along with the people responsible for those actions and their due dates. Team leaders should work with team members between meetings to ensure that they are able to complete their assigned tasks as scheduled, so that assistance can be provided to keep the team on schedule if needed. In addition, team productivity is usually low when teams are not working well together and goals are not being met. Effective teams will move through the stages of team development and enter the performing stage fairly quickly. When this does not happen, more experienced team facilitators may need to be called in to help the team leader diagnose the problems so that the team can move forward more effectively. Finally, follow up on decisions may not be thoroughly or properly handled when teams are unproductive. Keeping accurate minutes of team discussions and tracking all necessary follow up in an action register will help keep everyone on track. All follow-up should be assigned to specific team members during the team meeting so that everyone knows who's responsible for which actions. As with all action assignments, the team leader should monitor results between meetings. It's important to take action as soon as you see any of these warning signs on your Six Sigma team, so that the underlying problems can be resolved to keep the team on track and working well together. This is where someone experience would team process like your team facilitator or a master black belt can also be very helpful. In the next lesson, we'll discuss ways to keep your Six Sigma team creative.