Developing Team Effectiveness

I had just begun working with a pathology company who was having problems meeting the agreed turnaround times with their external customers, 2 major hospitals in the area (one public and one private).   The company had set KPIs for each department with regards to certain tests and the time in which they were required to be reported to the hospitals. It was evident that these turnaround times were consistently not being met, and not only were the hospitals generating complaints, there was a monetary penalty for the organisation. The company was made up of many different sites in different cities; however this was the only one that was having these issues. It was also the biggest, and produced the most work. There was a team put together to investigate the reasons for the delay in final results, and to come up with solutions to the problems, however this team had been meeting for some time without any success. I was asked to lead this Workflow team and was given 3 months to improve the current team dynamic to create a group of people who would effectively work together. The team was made up of a representative from each of the areas that participate in the production (Collection, Reception, Couriers, and each of the 8 scientific departments). One member of this team was new to the organisation, however the rest of the team had worked for the company for some time. There was also a member of the team that was not situated at the site having the problems.
When I attended the first meeting two things became very obvious immediately:
  1. There was no leader in this team. No one was keeping the discussion positive or on track, which meant that many of the meetings had descended into yelling matches, with each person defending their turf. There were no records, and no actions coming out of the meetings.
  2. The team was lacking a person to produce the statistics to prove or disprove the things being said. Many of the team members were...