Leaders and sponsors play an important role in the ongoing development of unit-based teams. If you are a leader or sponsor, the more you understand about where your teams are in the developmental process—and what they need to move to the next level—the more effective you can be in supporting their forward momentum.
Using the guidelines on this page, work with your co-sponsors to identify team status, strategize ways to help move your teams move forward and develop a plan for long-term sustainability.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself are:
- Where are your teams in the developmental process?
- Who is developing and who isn't?
- Why aren't they developing?
- What do they need?
- How can you and your co-sponsors support their evolution to the next level?
Teams can assess themselves monthly and see where they are. They must meet all the criteria in one phase before they can move to the next phase.
Sponsors are responsible for tracking team status. The Development and Assessment scale gives sponsors valuable information that they can use to reward teams that are making progress and support those that are not moving forward at a desired rate.
There are five stages to UBT development:
- Level 1: Pre-team climate. Unit is learning what a unit-based team is and how they work work.
- Level 2: Foundational. Team is establishing structures and beginning to function as a UBT.
- Level 3: Transitional. Team is demonstrating progress on engagement and making improvement.
- Level 4: Operational. Team has joint leadership, engagement of team members and improved performance.
- Level 5: High-Performing. Team is fully successful and collaborating to improve and sustain performance against targets.
Assessing Your Unit-Based Team
Understanding the key characteristics of the different stages of UBT development will allow you to accurately assess what stage your team is at. Teams need achieve certain attributes in several dimensions in order to advance to the next level.
Level 1: Pre-team climate
- Sponsorship: Sponsors are identified and introduced to team.
- Leadership: Team coleads are identified or process of identification is under way.
- Training: Co-lead training scheduled or completed.
- Team process: Traditional; not much change evident. Team meetings scheduled and/or first meeting completed.
- Team member engagement: Minimal.
- Use of tools: Not in use.
- Goals and performance: Team does not have goals yet.
Level 2: Foundational UBT
- Sponsorship: Sponsors trained. Charter completed.
- Leadership: Co-leads have developed a solid working relationship and are jointly planning the development of the team.
- Training: Team member training (e.g., UBT Orientation, RIM+) scheduled or completed.
- Team process: Staff meetings operating as UBT meetings (no parallel structure). Co-leads jointly planning and leading meetings.
- Team member engagement: Team members understand partnership processes.
- Use of tools: Team members receive training in RIM, etc.
- Goals and performance: Co-leads discuss and present data and unit goals to teams.
Level 3: Transitional UBT
- Sponsorship: Sponsors regularly communicating with co-leads.
- Leadership: Co-leads are seen by team members as jointly leading the team.
- Training: Advanced training (e.g., business literacy, coaching skills, metrics) scheduled or completed.
- Team process: Team meetings are outcome-based; team members are participating actively in meetings and contributing to team progress and decision making. Co-leads moving from direction to facilitation.
- Team member engagement: Team members understand key performance metrics. At least half of team members can articulate what the team is improving and what their contribution is.
- Use of tools: Team is able to use RIM and has completed two testing cycles.
- Goals and performance: Team has set performance targets, and targets are aligned with unit, department and regional priorities.
Level 4: Operational UBT
- Sponsorship: Sponsors visibly support teams. Minimal outside support needed.
- Leadership: Co-leads are held jointly accountable for performance by sponsors and executive leadership.
- Training: Advanced training (e.g., Breakthrough Conversations, Facilitative Leadership, etc.). Focus area-specific training (e.g., patient safety or improvement tools to address human error-related issues).
- Team process: Co-leads jointly facilitate team meetings using outcomefocused agendas, effective meeting skills and strategies to engage all team members in discussion and decision making. Team makes use of daily huddles to reflect on tests and changes made. Team collects own data and reviews to see whether changes are helping improve performance.
- Team member engagement: Unit performance data are discussed regularly. Large majority of team members are able to articulate what the team is improving and their contribution.
- Use of tools: Team has completed three or more testing cycles, making more robust changes (e.g., workflow improvement rather than training).
- Goals and performance: Team has achieved at least one target on a key performance metric.
Level 5: High-performing UBT
- Sponsorship: Sponsors holding teams accountable for performance and reporting results to senior leadership.
- Leadership: Team beginning to operate as a "self-managed team," with most day-to-day decisions made by team members.
- Training: Focus area-specific training. dvanced performance improvement training (e.g., deeper data analysis, control charts, improvement methods via operational manager training).
- Team process: Team beginning to move from joint management to self-management, with most day-to-day decisions made by team members. Unit culture allows team to respond to changes quickly. Team can move from first local project to next improvement project and can apply more robust changes. Team measures progress using annotated run charts.
- Team member engagement: Team members able to connect unit performance to broader strategic goals of company. Full transparency of information. Team is working on questions of staffing, scheduling, financial improvement.
- Use of tools: Team using advanced performance improvement training (e.g., operations manager training). Team can move from initial project to next improvement effort, applying deeper data and improvement methods.
- Goals and performance: Team is achieving targets and sustaining performance on multiple measures.
For an easy-to-print version of the information on this page, download the Path to Performance tool.