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The Consequences of a Badly Planned Team Chartering Meeting

Catherine Mercer Bing’s new book, Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, contains many real-world examples of teams she has worked with and helped to understand and avoid situations that detract from team effectiveness.

Following is an example of a team chartering meeting that was focused on transitioning back office processing to an off-shore entity.

A global insurance company based in the US pulls together a project team of existing US process owners. The process owners are charged with transitioning their back office processing to an off-shoring entity in the Philippines.

To save time and money, the chartering meeting focuses on the US process owners and what they need to do: which processes will be transitioned and in what order the transition will occur.

The US process owners leave the meeting with an action plan that they expect will take about seven months to achieve.

More than two years go by and, according to the process owners, less than two-thirds of the processes are completely transitioned. In their view, the employees in the Philippines have performance issues: they do not speak up, they come to meetings without any ideas on how to streamline processes, they accept that there are problems with customer calls but do not come up with ideas on how to meet customer needs on their own, without checking with the US process owners.

Problems Stemming from the Team Chartering Meeting

Since only the US members were invited to attend the team chartering meeting, those members of the team at the off-shoring facility were unclear about their role. No one at a high level in the organization introduced the employees in the Philippines to how the transitions would happen since each process owner took responsibility for their part of that transition. So the employees in the Philippines did not consider themselves part of a team—the team was the US process owners.

The employees in the Philippines were confused about their relationship with the process owners. Did they work for and report to the US process owners? Would the US process owners still be in charge once the process was transferred? Were the US process owners clients, leaders, or business partners?

These employees in the Philippines kept hearing that they were responsible to take over and “own” the processes once the transitions had occurred, but they kept getting mixed messages especially when the process owners stepped in and took responsibility to solve their problems. More confusion ensued from a lack of clarity about whether the US process owners’ jobs would end once the transitions were complete.

Learning from Mistakes

What organizational, cultural, and performance issues can be traced back to the team chartering meeting?
What should have been the outcome of the team chartering meeting?

 

Stay tuned for more excerpts from Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, a new book on teams by Catherine Mercer Bing.  Future blogs will provide examples of team issues and ask readers to comment on what is happening and to discuss possible mitigations.  We hope you join the group of readers/responders.

Click here to order your copy. Enter promo code OneTeam to receive 20% off from Technics Publications website, http://www.TechnicsPub.com.

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