General

High-Performing Teams: A Human-Centered Foundation to Healthy Organizations

Human capital, otherwise known as people, is the core, and foundation of any healthy organization. Healthy teams are made up of individuals who each bring their own strengths to combine with the unique abilities and talents of others for maximum productivity, creativity, and innovative power. For leaders, then, building and shaping teams becomes an essential element in ensuring the organization is able to effectively tackle complex challenges, maximize outcomes, and cultivate a culture of commitment – keys to long-term growth and success.

At Evans, our High-Performing Teams (HPT) process is based on a diagnostic, strengths-based approach to provide tailored and holistic solutions that build upon an organization’s existing advantages. Evans helps teams:

  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities to promote leadership and accountability.
  • Create an inclusive social infrastructure and a high degree of information sharing.
  • Consistently rise to the occasion and ensure readiness to change.

The Evans method evaluates performance in terms of team composition and output with consideration for the program’s unique characteristics. The model uses qualitative and quantitative performance indicators to measure team performance, and is based on extensive research and client-delivery experience to ensure alignment among teams, empowerment from within, collaboration/knowledge transfer, and resilience, to allow the team to adapt in response to rapid change while continuing to function at a high level.

Visit our website for more information about Evans’ High-Performing Teams expertise. Interested in receiving a brief analysis of your team’s current state? Click here to complete our HPT quiz.  To access this recent whitepaper click here.

Strong Team Model™ – Evans Incorporated’s Method to Project and Team Success

By Kaitlin Hurley

Developing high performing teams has many facets, one of which is understanding each other’s strengths and leveraging this knowledge to help the team and its members succeed. Using our proprietary method called the Strong Team Model™, Evans Incorporated takes team and leadership development to the next level by helping team members learn about their team, lead strategically to achieve project goals, and grow in their capacity to lead and develop people.

The Strong Team Model™ consists of categorizing strengths into 4 “buckets”, giving a team perspective to the individual strengths discovered using CliftonStrengths. The buckets are:

The four buckets of the Strong Team Model: Wings, Hearts, Boots, and Handshakes

  1. “Wings” refers to competencies and strengths in blue sky ideas and strategic planning, which are necessary to create a vision that a team will own and commit to.
  2. “Handshakes” refers to competencies and strengths in external influence, including outreach and persuasion, which are necessary to obtain organizational resources to support team performance.
  3. “Hearts” refers to competencies and strengths in taking care of the team, which are required to develop and lead a team to high levels of performance.
  4. “Boots” refers to competencies and strengths in traction, referring to execution and implementation, which are required to resolve obstacles and deliver the planned goals.

The Strong Team Model™ is set apart from other strengths-based assessments by the timeline application of strengths during different stages of a project’s lifecycle.

In the development phase a project lifecycle, the majority of team efforts in the beginning should focus around the strategy of the team. This is where the Wings competencies should be leveraged. Handshake and Hearts competencies hold equal weight in the beginning of the implementation phase because gathering resources and team building is imperative for setting the project up for success. Throughout the development phase, the weight on all three of these competencies decrease while Boots competencies increase, because the focus shifts to making sure the plans are developed and ready to be implemented.

In the implementation phase, Boots competencies continue to gain importance as the plans are being executed. Hearts competencies resurge in the beginning of the implementation phase to make sure the team is strong and ready to execute, gradually decreasing in focus throughout implementation. Handshake competencies, on the other hand, resurface gradually throughout the implementation phase, as gaining support and obtaining resources becomes more important as previous resources are used. Lastly, as is to be expected, focus on Wings competencies continue to shift away as the actions become more tactical throughout the implementation phase.

Understanding this lifecycle and the strengths that can be leveraged in different stages is crucial to setting a team up for success while also supporting the project. Evans’ Strong Team Model™ is what helps our clients apply their strengths and build teams, helping team members learn, lead and grow.

If the Strong Team Model™ is an approach you feel would benefit your team, one of our experts on high performing teams would be happy to discuss further! Connect with us for any questions, or if you would like more information at HPT@evansincorporated.com.

Collaboration Fridays: The Escape Room

High Performing Teamsby Fabiana Beltran

If you were stuck in a room with only a handful of clues and a team of your peers – would you be able to escape in under an hour? An indicator of a high-performing team (HPT) is its ability to effectively collaborate. Evans Incorporated (Evans) hosts a monthly “Collaboration Fridays” exercise where staff can come together to team-build and innovate in a fun and engaging way. On September 14, 2018, the Evans team created their own Escape Room. The group was equipped with a background story and a series of riddles that, when solved, pointed to clues that would unlock the door.

“Collaboration Fridays” was designed to provide Evans staff and leadership with hands-on opportunities to test the models they offer to their clients. Collaboration is a pillar of the High-Performing Teams archetype and the foundation for the human-centered solutions Evans delivers.

So, did the Evans team escape the room? Yes, with only minutes to spare, the group worked together to arrive at a winning solution. But how?

Communication and Knowledge Sharing

Once presented with the challenge, the seven-person team splintered off into pairs or singles to solve individual puzzles.

When a pair arrived at a potential solution, they circled back to alert and receive feedback/buy-in from the others. Members actively listened to one another, asked clarifying questions, and offered alternatives when disagreements arose. This allowed the group to incrementally build upon one another’s individual findings.

Dive In, Fail Fast

Resources were limited and were created by piecing together of fragmented information. As a result, trial and error was the name of the game. To arrive at an answer, individual members knew they had to share a theory that could be tested and potentially debunked. They learned to “dive in and fail fast” to brainstorm and effectively problem-solve.

Tracking and Reviewing

When the team identified a clue or new lead, they recorded it. This not only kept the group organized and focused but helped to create a roadmap for the final solution.

Connecting the Dots

The key to unlocking the Escape Room door was the team’s ability to find the pattern that lived within the various clues they found. This could only be done by augmenting one’s finding through the contribution of another. Each building block brought the group closer to the ultimate objective.

Takeaways

Following the exercise, the Evans team highlighted the benefits and potential pitfalls of using such a tool to enhance the client experience. They underscored the advantages for leadership training and found the experience, “…interesting to see how we all worked together.” Though not having a clear end goal was disorienting, the team stated they found it was easy to connect the dots when they communicated effectively. Ultimately, the group learned that success could only be achieved when they worked together. They acknowledged that any future victories could in large part be attributed to the solid foundation of trust and rapport cultivated by the talent at Evans Incorporated.

To learn more about the Evans human-centered approach to High Performing Teams, visit us at EvansIncorporated.com and be sure to fill out our contact form to learn more about our services.

Successful Program Management Requires Self-Aware Leaders

By Laura English

The nuances and complexities of Program Management can push and pull on leaders’ strengths and comfort zones.  The Government Executive article, “Program Management Is Much More Complex Than Many Leaders Understand” proposes that programs can holistically fall into four quadrants – Collaboration, Innovation, Results, and Control and thus leaders must consider the skills and strategies needed to support those approaches.  While knowing the category in which their program falls from a broad perspective is useful, leaders would also benefit from considering where their own personal strengths lie in these categories. Self-awareness is one of the key tenants for being a strong leader and it helps be able to build strategies to meet twists, turns and challenges of running programs.   If a leader finds that she is adept at collaboration, but the program needs a strong control approach, she would be well served to understand these differences and develop capacity either in herself or through building her team to complement her strengths.  Additionally, programs move through phases in each of the quadrants; for example, at the beginning stages of the program innovation and collaboration may be highly valued and once the program is launched results and control may be more valued.  One of the best ways to gain self-awareness and to expand growth-oriented approaches is through leadership coaching. 

Evans coaches support leaders and take a strength-based approach to helping them understand where they have the most impact as well as building strategies to deal with challenges.  The many areas in which leaders have found success with regard to coaching is creating personal development plans, building and empowering teams, engaging stakeholders, developing accountability tactics, and improving communication and employee engagement (to name a few).  Understanding the nuances of a program and understanding one’s own leadership nuances helps to develop an agile approach to meeting the complex needs of a program.

To learn more about the Evans human-centered approach to Program Management Optimization, visit us at EvansIncorporated.com and be sure to fill out our contact form to learn more about our services.

 

Evans Incorporated to Share Key Insights, Aviation Expertise at ATCA’s 62nd Annual Conference and Expo

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm’s Aviation experts to form critical part of the dialogue at the premier forum for aviation professionals, running from October 15-18, 2017

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – October 11, 2017Evans Incorporated announces today that several of its leading Aviation experts are set to speak at the upcoming 62nd Annual Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Conference and Expo, running from October 15-18, 2017 at the Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, Maryland. As the premier forum for aviation professionals, ATCA’s annual events draw key corporate and government decision makers from across the industry, along with more than 3,000 attendees from more than 40 countries and over 100 exhibiting companies, government agencies, and NGOs.
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Evans Incorporated Analyst Interviewed by Farm Futures Magazine

Chad Tyson, senior analyst at Evans Incorporated, discusses the impact of new FAA rules with Farm Futures Magazine.

Aerial View: Farm drones cleared to fly

Will new FAA rules make unmanned aerial systems the next must-have farm tool?
Bob Burgdorfer | Sep 21, 2017

Precision agriculture is rapidly evolving, with new sensors, devices and software that help farmers do their jobs better.

Unmanned aerial systems (aka drones) can play a role in that evolution now that the Federal Aviation Administration has provided the means to legally fly them to deliver chemicals, collect crop data and inspect fields.
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Evans Incorporated Attending Impactful Healthcare Events

By Kara Argus

Always eager to stay connected to the healthcare community, Evans Incorporated will be attending impactful events this month to keep our finger on the pulse of timely industry developments. Next week Evans healthcare leaders Denise Braun and Kara Argus will be participating in lively panel discussions and group breakouts at two events sponsored and led by healthcare experts in the DMV area. Continue reading