Methods Teambuilding

I use the following methods and theories for teambuilding

‘Successful teamwork is not about mastering subtle, sophisticated theories, but rather about combining common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence. Ironically, teams succeed because they are exceedingly human. By acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity, members of functional teams overcome the natural tendencies that make teamwork so elusive.’

Quote from Patrick Lencioni


  If teams are not working well, it is can be helpful to analyse them or to do a workshop around where the team are in terms of the following five dysfunctional elements should each be handled separately:

Absence of trust

The root cause for absence of trust is that team members do not show their weaknesses: showing vulnerability and being open with each other. This costs a lot of energy as time and energy is wasted in defensive or preventative behaviours, and not wanting to ask for help etc. This can be resolved by sharing experiences, showing trustworthiness, developing insights in the unique personality traits of team members.

Fear of Conflicts

If there is insufficient trust, there can be no clear discussion about issues that matter. In this way conflicts are avoided and there will be an artificial harmony. Opinions are not shared freely, so suboptimal decisions result. Conflicts are productive – if managed well.

Lack of commitment

 Without conflict it is not simple for team members to buy in or commit to decisions, which results in an environment in which unclarity rules. People want to commit to a decision if their opinion is taken into account in the decision making process, for example by discussion. Productive teams make transparent decisions which have the support of each team member. It is not about consensus, but about everyone being heard.

Avoiding responsibility and holding accountable.

 If teams have no commitment, then they do not take responsibility. People do not hold each other accountable, if they are not committed to a decision or plan. Often the key to success is measuring progress, making clear what the standards are, what needs to be done, by when  and by whom.

No attention for results

A team will only become result-oriented if all team members put the results first. If members are not held accountable on results, then they will focus more on their own interests than on the team interest. This can be surmounted by clarifying the results and reward behaviour that supports the achivieving of results.

The most important role for the leader in getting past these dysfunctions is by leading by example, and setting the tone. This means showing your own vulnerability, stimulation discussion and conflict, clarifying responsibilities and setting the standards and values of the team. And last but not least be very clear on what the results are of the team.


The Enneagram is a psychometric model which claims to have a very long history and since some 10-20 year has gained huge popularity amongst a.o. management and in coaching. It distinguishes between nine (ennea=nine) base-types.

When you know which base type you are in the enneagram, it indicate to you in which direction you can develop yourself further. The philosophy behind the enneagram is that as child you arrive relatively ‘open’ into this world, and in the initial years you develop the reactive patterns to deal with your perception of reality. This you do to protect (the vulnerable part in) yourself.

The Enneagram can help you to find the original clarity and shows you the way for growth and self-realisation. Furthermore it can help you to understand other people in your team or in y our environment (…e.g. your partner). This will help you cooperate better, and perhaps more importantly live together or improve your love life. It is of course key to be aware that a model is always a simplification of reality. Like a map is a simplification of reality, and is not reality itself.  So a person in complete versatility and greatness, can impossibly be captured completely in a model. However, like with a map, it can help you to find your way :-).

I have been working with the Enneagram for some 18 years, and still discover new aspects, it is a model with a lot of layers and depth. Being enneagram type 9 myself, I love harmony and am good in connecting with people. For a 9 it is a challenge to set the agenda, decide what I want and to decide.

Being aware of this, I can actually show up when I notice the tendency to stay away from a choice. I can clearly indicate what my decision is. Training this, helped me to move from consciously incompetent, towards consciously competent (as yet, I am not always in unconsciously competent)). The most important insight for me? This was that as type 9, with ‘slowness’ as motor (please note that slowness does not necessarily mean laziness, but more that it can be difficult to switch – e.g. whilst working, go home or vice versa), actually get energy from action. This is where my growth lies, whilst this is counterintuitive for the 9. This has given me a lot: obviously action has great benefits. So acting counterintuitively has given me great rewards! 

Workshop Enneagram for Talent Development at De Nederlandsche Bank

‘As part of a special request, JW delivered a workshop on the Enneagram as part of our talent development program. This was a great success, partly because of the inspiring enthusiasm of JW. Becoming acquainted with the enneagram in a short workshop is challenging, but JW was able to bring the enneagram to live with gripping stories, and was able to create an open atmosphere in the group.’

Self- management / Holacratic principles

As a (new) manager you may find yourself with a team that is not happy, not functioning to their full potential, there is unclarity regarding roles, team members do not take (sufficient) responsibility – leaving it to you to tell everyone what to do.

As Brian Robertson puts it, Holacracy is a different way of organising power in organisations. It replaces the linear hierarchy with cooperating self-organising teams (circles). The great advantages of Holacracy that people experience are role clarity, structure, very efficient and useful meetings, and decision making is done – as much as possible – with those who on a daily basis serve their clients in an increasingly complex world.

Every circle is connected to other circles via a double link (lead link and rep link). There are certain required roles, but no managers. As indicated there is a ‘LeadLink’ who has the responsibility to assign roles to people (but they can refuse) and can indicate what gets priority over what; but that is where the LeadLink’s extra authorities.  Decision making is based upon valid objections, not based upon consensus. This increases the speed of decision making and transfer of information. Every circle determines which roles are necessary (on top of the required ones) and who of the members own the roles to fulfil the purpose of the circle. Every role has a set of accountabilities which the person in that role holds him or herself to, and can be held to by others. Holacracy is focusing on the processes, ways of working and agreed matters which work now. In the meetings there is attention for the tensions of the members between purpose of the circle and people. This leads to development of the organisation and effectivity.

If you are interested in the broader vision in which holacracy falls, please read my quick summary below of reinventing organisations.

Please see this webinar if you are interested to learn more intro webinar holacracy one >>

Please also read Brian Robertson’s book, Holacracy, which is very accessible and mercifully short. Even though you really need to experience holacracy.


Spiral Dynamics

Spiral Dynamics is a model that reflects which levels there are in the human development or evolution of mankind. It is based upon fundamental research and visualised in a colourful spiral. The colours represent the various value systems. The spiral Dynamics model makes processes transparent and offers ways to facilitate changes. Spiral Dynamics can be used to map the various value systems in an organisation or the society at large, using the value systems active in it, the willingness to change, priorities and patterns of thinking. This way insights can be gained in complex issues in an effective way, resulting in more effective interventions.

My personal natural preference is towards ‘green’ which means that I prefer harmony ‘as long as everybody is happy’, a little bit against hierarchy and good alignment with key stakeholders, every opinion is important. This is also a colour in which there is a tendency not to follow your own path but stick with the group or the perceived expectations (external orientation). A movement towards ‘yellow’ or ‘teal’ helps to live more from vision and internal orientation: what matters to me and what do I want to achieve.

If you want to learn more, please check out the web page of Spiral Dynamics Integral Netherlands, from which I was also allowed to take the picture next to this text under the following license (


Reinventing organisations

If you find yourself in an organisation where management tries to arrange things from the top, in a complex environment with highly trained professionals – and it is not working; then you might be ready for the vision of Frederic Laloux (ex-McKinsey). His view is that the way in which companies are organised is not in line with the current time frame and level of development of human kind. The form he expects companies to organise themselves going forward he calls ‘teal’ which is the highest level in Spiral dynamics (#Link). This new model has three elements: self-organising teams, evolutionary purpose and wholeness. The environment of most organisations is currently so complex and subject to ever increasing levels of change, that it can hardly be directed from one center. Therefore self-organising teams are the logical next step. Apart from that the organisation needs to check every action against the ‘evolutionary purpose’ for which it exists. Finally, it is key that people can show themselves as the individuals they are, without the ‘corporate mask’, that currently so often is needed to fit in . In his book he offers various methods of organisation, which – dependent on the level of the organisation according to Sipral Dynamics – are effective or not.

A talk by Frederic Laloux which might inspire you on his new management paradigm.

You can download Frederic Laloux’s book via the website for Reinventing Organisations, and pay what feels right for it.


Integral theory

Ken Wilber is a well-known relatively popular scientist who created an ‘integral’ theory (meaning all-encompassing). It is in essence an approach to integrate reality, fitting academic disciplines and every form of knowledge and experience together coherently.  You can use the theory to analyse problems or develop solutions using the various perspectives. This leads to effectiveness.

Five elements

The Integral Theory describes reality in five elements: quadrants, levels, lines, states and types. States refer to consciousness or awareness (a state of being) from which a person acts. These seem to come and go (that is you have access to them or not). One moment you feel lucid and see through a problem, the next you fall back in your normal way of thinking. Other states are obviously normal awake state, sleep, and awakened mind. Levels are permanent. When you have developed up to a certain level, e.g. you can write or drive a car, under normal circumstances  you will not lose that ability. Lines refer to the various areas in which a human being can develop – one person has developed for example the cognitive line more than the other.

Types are phenomena that do not fit in any of the aforementioned categories. And the quadrants are the following: the inside of the individual (‘me’ – self-image, convictions) the collective (‘we’- culture, unwritten rules), and the outside (‘it’ – body, behaviour) and the collective (its – structures and systems). Integral Theory creates a map on which you can see to which parts you pay attention as a human being or an organisation. And it can clarify why things only succeed if all aspects are taken into account.

This is my experience and the essence of the power of Coaching Realising your dreams (#link). In which parts of the quadrant are you stuck? In attempting to realise my vision – creating a coaching business – , it became clear that a lot of energy got stuck into the ‘we’ quadrant: what do other people expect from me (kids, girl fiend, employer). This resulted in insufficient time for what I had to do in realising my vision and a coaching business.

A lot of coachees also lose energy on the ‘We’-quadrant, and spend insufficient time on the  ‘I’- quadrant resulting in either not achieving their aims, or achieving it at too high cost. . 

Book and site reference

If you want to learn more about integral I can recommend the book Integral Psychology by Ken Wilber, or for a more casual overview website of Spiral Dynamics Integral Netherlands, which also allows me to use the diagram placed next to this text (under the conditions as outlined on


‘Integral Theory creates a map on which you can see which part of reality you are and which parts you are not paying attention to. And it clarifies why things only work out when all quadrants are engaged.’ 

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