Team/group development

A group/team development dialogue (GDD/TDD) is a dialogue which focuses on the future and the development of a group/team. The purpose is to reach a mutual understanding of the shared task or area of responsibility.

The development dialogue is particularly useful as:

  • preparation and lead-up to or follow-up on the individual SDDs
  • a way of conducting ‘topic-specific’ team meetings
  • a tool to establish mutual understanding in connection with restructuring, new teams, project launch etc.

This page helps you get started on the group/team development dialogues (GDD/TDD). More information is available in the GDD/TDD material which offers a step-by-step description of how to conduct a GDD/TDD including suggestions for questions and catalogue of methods.

What should you do?

Step 1 - How to prepare

Purpose and outcome:

As the manager, you are responsible for the dialogue process and for dialogue management. Consider these questions before you start planning the dialogue:

   1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
   2. What should the outcome be?

Structure, topics and questions

If the members of the group are not used to dialogues or reflecting on different topics in groups, it may be a good idea to focus on dialogue management and a clear structure. You should consider the following:

  • Group size and composition – We recommend that a group consists of 4-6 people which will make it possible to have enough time to reach results
  • Should the group be involved in the planning and have roles/tasks during the dialogue?
  • The physical framework (such as the room, refreshments etc.) plays a significant role in making the dialogue a success
  • Select a few relevant topics
  • Make max. 4-5 questions for a GDD lasting 1.5 to 2 hours.

This form provides an overview of the things you need to prepare before the dialogue:

Step 2 - How to manage the dialogue

Ground rules and frameworks are defined

Before you start the dialogue, make sure that the framework of the dialogue is outlined clearly (topics, time allocation etc). Allocate 10 to 15 minutes for you to outline the framework and make sure that you express yourself clearly. Use the form below and the IDOART model (page 9), if relevant, to set the right framework for the dialogue.

As an introduction to the dialogue, specify some clear and simple ground rules. That will help ensure that everyone feels safe and wants to participate in the dialogue. A typical set of rules for a GDD/TDD could be:

  • Participants take turns to talk/listen
  • An appreciative focus
  • Focus on work
  • Possible to take a ”time-out”
  • Confidentiality (and specify want is meant by confidentiality)

Use a positive approach

In order to ensure a good and constructive group dialogue, it is recommended to use a positive approach to conduct the dialogue. This does not mean that you should only focus on the positive experiences. It is important to talk about errors and deviations in a constructive way, for example by focusing on what it is you want to be different.

Step 3 - Evaluation, agreement form and follow-up

Summary of agreements

At the end of the dialogue, you can discuss how to move forward in a good way. For example, you can discuss:

  • Have any important agreements about development areas been made? Should they be written down in an agreement form?
  • Who is responsible for follow-up - and when?
  • How will it be possible to see that you have achieved the results you agreed on?

Evaluation of the dialogue 

At the end of the dialogue, it is a very good idea to evaluate the dialogue. For example, you can discuss:

  • What was it like for the group to participate?
  • What did each group member get out of the dialogue?
  • What did you as a group get out of the dialogue?
  • What worked well and what needs to be improved/changed?