Team Development

The Theory

If you meet ten people in the street, would you treat each one exactly the same way and interact with them in the same manner? Why then, do I hear so much of “I treat everyone the same way” when delivering Team Development programmes?

Elliott Jaques proposed that an organisation should be requisitely structured so that managerial roles, task complexity of each level and an individual’s capability are aligned. In summarising his Stratified Systems Theory, Jaques points to “four major sets of factors [that are] in relation to each other:

“…(1) the capability [PC] of the individual, in terms of modes, mature throughout life at a series of higher and higher levels of capability…(2) a series of higher and higher levels of inherent complexity in work which corresponds to the levels of capability [PC}in individuals…(3) a series of higher and higher levels of organizational structure which reflects both levels of work complexity and of individual capability…(4) a wide range of processes, including managerial leadership practices, to be applied with accountability and consistency” (1996:12).

Role Complexity – Elliott Jaques 

According to Jaques, role complexity is defined as the level of difficulty of the required tasks. The complexity in a task lies not in the goal but in what you have to do in order to get there. Complexity may be defined in terms of the number of variables that have to be dealt with in a given time in a situation, the clarity and precision with which they can be identified, and their rate of change… As complexity is reduced, tasks can be delegated to lower strata.

In other words, what decisions are you making at your level within the organisation that cannot be made by the person below you? And what are you doing to support that person to make decisions that cannot be made by their subordinates?

This is How We Approach It – Role First

What is the role complexity, using the above criteria? How many people are actively operating at this level of your organisation right now, and what role overlap is there? What commonalities of decision-making do they share?


Then, The Person

Using the Thinking Quotient™, we measure how complexly the people within the role think. What are they cognitively capable of right now?

How do they compare?

Does the role require more than the occupier is capable of being? Is the person more than capable of performing within the role?


What’s Next?

The point of the process is to address the major learning needs within your organisation hierarchy. The benefits of this as a team building exercise and the opportunity that this type of format analysis gives to address those learning needs can be measured and replicated over time. With that in mind, if there is a significant development opportunity for the employee(s) within the role(s) and the organisation deems there is sufficient value-add in developing them Vertically, we would then run a bespoke Four Leaders Programme, in order to grow their thinking over twelve months.

This would include 12 days of formal programme, as well as 11 days of individual Mentoring sandwiched between the programme days. This is not a training event. It is a collaborative dialogue with unique outcomes.

Get in touch today if you feel your organisation would benefit from having proper role alignment.