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Team Status Updates and Human Process Interactions

Catherine Mercer Bing’s new book, Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, contains many real-world examples of teams she has worked with and helped to understand and avoid situations that detract from team effectiveness.

Following is an example of a team whose members do not communicate with each other outside the regular team meetings.

The Limitation of Status Updates

It is important to pay attention to the status updates that take place during regular team meetings. Often, status updates do not give information about the relationships between team members or the quality of the interactions among/between team members (i.e., the human process interactions on teams). Instead, status updates focus on tasks and outcomes.

Yet measuring how well team members are interacting is important. All sorts of behaviors (even really little things) can seriously erode trust and respect among team members.

Below is an example of a team that could benefit from having its team members’ interactions with each other assessed.

A Team in Trouble...

A team has been working together for four months. They have regular status update meetings via conference calls.  Nevertheless, because the team members are in different locations, evaluating how well the team members are working together is a challenge.

Impact on the Team

It seems that the team members are not interacting with each other outside the regular team meetings. There seems to be overlap in what members of the team are doing. There is conflict and frustration over the fact that work is being duplicated.

What Can Be Done for this Team?

The team leader, Jamal, is considering an intervention. Jamal decides to measure human process interactions on his team to identify what is going well as well as what needs work.

  • What aspects of human process interactions should an assessment cover?
  • What factors (including cultural factors) might hinder the members on Jamal’s team from interacting with each other outside the regular team meetings?


Stay tuned for more excerpts from Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, a new book on teams by Catherine Mercer Bing.  Future blogs will provide examples of team issues and ask readers to comment on what is happening and to discuss possible mitigations.  We hope you join the group of readers/responders.

Click here to order your copy. Enter promo code OneTeam to receive 20% off from Technics Publications website,

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