Case Study - Developing team effectiveness

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WaterAid is a charity with a mission to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. In May 2010, the AoEC coaching team began to work with WaterAid’s International Programmes Department senior management team, who have responsibility for Asia and Africa. They were beginning to agree an operational plan in support of the global strategy. Their commitment was to invest £112 million by 2013 to support 11.5 million people globally. As a result of this ambitious plan, the team commenced a major review of its regional operating approach, structure and processes. This involved a lengthy period of uncertainty and the development of plans that would impact the organisation throughout the regions.

At the beginning of the work, two of the eight members of the team announced that they were leaving; one almost immediately and whose function was not being replaced and one of the regional heads who resigned with the intention of returning to Africa some 9 months later and whose position would be filled. The team included people of five different nationalities.

The client team members were based in London, with the exception of the regional head for West Africa who was based in Ghana. The team all travel extensively therefore their ‘meetings’ typically take place over the phone, with at least one or two people working in different time zones. They come together in person on average once every two months for a few days, depending on travel commitments.

The team were about to begin a critical piece of work for the organisation, so it was a good time to look at how they might build on their achievements to date and become a more effective, high performing team. In addition, the team had been attending an internal Leadership Programme and were keen to integrate the learning from that.