The importance of understanding climate in collaboration

First things first, as Stephen Covey, author of the seminal book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, would say, “collaboration is simply the ability of a group to accomplish more by working together than they might achieve by working in silos.” Organisations that fail to create an internal culture of collaboration will always struggle to sincerely and robustly meet the needs of an external customer or supply chain that increasingly thrive on a collaborative working practice.

During a tendering process, many of today’s large infrastructure programmes require bidders to articulate how they intend to develop and maintain a collaborative management approach with the customer throughout the lifetime of the contract.  The percentage of a tender score attributed to collaboration can be as high as 25%.  If the bid team accepts that an effective collaborative team will result in a positive and stable climate, it makes sense to regularly measure and continuously address gaps within the organisation. It is key to treat any concerns as risks before they become issues and you can use PCS to evidence the bid teams’ methodology.

Ambiguity kills collaborative working. Teams that do not have respect for shared goals, clearly defined roles and unaligned processes never reach high performance.  Because we increasingly work in an environment where goals rapidly shift, roles change and processes wither, the necessity to have a team climate that has high degrees of resilience, connection and adaptability is underlined by the need for a collaborative working climate.

To mobilise and evolve a high-performance team we need to benchmark and continuously measure progress and barriers.  Team performance, the biggest risk and last sustainable competitive advantage, is normally the only area in business we neglect to measure and develop because it has been too hard to. Or, it used to be.

How PCS can be beneficial for creating a collaborative climate:

Understanding team dynamics, using the six PCS segments, enables you to formally measure climate and can serve as a baseline allowing for early gaps to be identified within team collaboration.  These gaps can be closed by developing plans suited to the teams via organic development or external facilitation.  It is recommended to remeasure a team’s climate at least every six months for a static team and more frequently for a team that is rapidly expanding or contracting.

While using the tool, a high score in each segment and a balance across all six will represent a high climate score.  The model breaks down each segment into three component focus areas with data available to analyse at individual question-level – 54 in total.  Additionally, the team’s score is compared to that of the leader to ensure alignment.

Developing high performing teams, takes time, investment and an understanding of the corporate objectives you are trying to reach, it is ever evolving with your business and the world around it. The introduction of a scientific and rigorous process will reduce the risk of non-performance and aid team collaboration.

About the writers:

Paul Fox has worked as a Construction Industry Executive Coach for the last 20 years. He remains at the forefront of thought leadership on relationship management and collaboration, working with individuals, projects and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle. Chris Milliner is a Director at PCS, with over 25 years of Team Management and Change Consulting experience. To find out more about PCS and its ability to empower teams and leadership professionals to improve performance, visit or follow on Twitter @perfclimatesys.  To find out more about Paul visit or follow on Twitter @fox_paul

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.