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“Jim’s program on “Building an Effective, High Performance Team” was very engaging and interactive—just what our team needed.”

Michelle Kahya, formerly the Human Resources Coordinator, MedAvante.



The Chairman of the Board of a potable water utility asked for an organizational effectiveness assessment. The Chairman and the board were interested in improving communications with the Executive Director and within the organization.

For the effectiveness organizational assessment we developed an “appreciative interview” tool that was used to conduct face to face interviews of over one-third workforce (nearly 50 employees) at all levels of the organization. This appreciative interview process highlighted the overwhelming desire of the workforce to change the organization culture to one that was more positive, affirming and transparent. The interviews also discovered that employees at all levels wanted to have clearly understood roles and responsibilities, more open and inclusive communication systems, and a fair and equitable performance and appraisal process. Above all, the workforce desired a more team based working environment.

We then worked with the board and the executive director to design a process to create the type of organization that everyone desired—one based on clearly understood roles and responsibilities and procedures, the concept of team, and clearly defined goals and measures of accountability.

To address the issue of transparency and having clearly understood policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities, we worked collaboratively with the key staff to produce:

  • An administrative organizational code that clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of the board, executive director and the departments complete with written policies and procedures.

To address the issue of performance appraisals, we engaged the executive management team and supervisors in a day long planning workshop to design a performance management system. Using appreciative inquiry, the participants in the planning workshop:

  • Developed team based strategic goals and action plans to guide the direction of the utility over the next two years.
  • Established High Performance Team Success Factors that would guide how they would function as a team and as supervisors in order to transform the organizational culture
  • Developed an inventory of the skills and competencies they needed and the workforce needed to function in this new organizational environment and to more effectively perform their work.
  • Created a new performance appraisal template tool that focused on job duty success factors, high performing team success factors, goal attainment and the achievement of professional development plans for improved skills and competencies.