IC HUB

What makes the perfect internal comms team?

October 13, 2016

There are a lot of conflicting views on perfection. For some, it’s the only standard worth pursuing. For others, it’s an unattainable myth. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

We all know there’s no such thing as a perfect person, so it follows that there can be no such thing as a perfect team. However, you can have a team that’s perfect for your needs.

According to Mark Gilroy, joint MD of team performance specialists TMS Development International, the key to creating a group that’s perfect for your IC requirements is diversity; not in the traditional sense of gender or ethnicity, but diversity of thinking.

“If managers seek to recruit in their own image, teams can end up with biases in the way they think, act and make decisions,” he explains.

“Left unchecked, this can often lead teams down the wrong path.”

A useful approach for assessing what personality types are present or needed in a group is the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile, which measures team members’ role preferences in the following areas:

The Margerison McCann wheel:   Reproduced by kind permission of TMS Development International Ltd.
The Margerison McCann wheel:
Reproduced by kind permission of TMS Development International Ltd.

1. Reporter/Adviser – Enjoys giving and gathering information
2. Creator/Innovator – Likes to come up with new ideas and different approaches to tasks
3. Explorer/Promoter – Enjoys exploring possibilities and seeking new opportunities
4. Assessor/Developer – Prefers analysing new opportunities and making them work
5. Thruster/Organizer – Likes pushing forward and getting results
6. Concluder/Producer – Prefers to work in a systematic way to produce outputs
7. Controller/Inspector – Enjoys focusing on the detailed and controlling aspects of work
8. Upholder/Maintainer – Likes to uphold standards and values in their team

This doesn’t mean every IC team requires eight different people however, as individuals may exhibit multiple abilities and preferences.

To spot where greater diversity is needed within your team, it’s important to reflect on what you have already.

Mark explained: “It’s a common misconception that the important thing within a high-performing team is to have ‘one of each’.

Mark Gilroy
Mark Gilroy

“Our research shows this isn’t the case, providing there are two key ingredients.

“The first is self-awareness. We work with a lot of teams that have preferences concentrated in one area of the model.

“A typical reaction is to think they have to recruit, but it’s more about shifting mindset.

“The second ingredient is deciding what to do to try and consciously balance our behaviours. That’s about setting an intention to make sure that critical types of work are covered.

“For a team that is unbalanced, as long as they’re aware of it, they can take conscious steps to bring balance. They can still be high-performing.”

Top tips for creating your perfect IC team

• Organisations with up to 1,000 employees should have at least one dedicated IC member, with another being added for each additional 1,000 employees.

• Regardless of its size, your IC team should have a leader who reports to the CEO. This person should be separate from other comms-related functions, like PR.

• All members must have a clear and consistent understanding of the team’s purpose and how they’ll achieve it (i.e. what business objectives they’re supporting, how they’re doing this and how successful they’re being).

“It’s a common misconception that the important thing within a high-performing team is to have ‘one of each’."