Tailored Briefs®

 A newsletter from Taylor Training & Development® Winter 2003



In This Issue


Shorter Board Meetings


The Procrastinator in You


Work Group Behavior


Grab Bag o’ Goodies


Remember Me Well

To make a lasting positive impression all you have to do is listen to your mother…

1.  Smile

2.  Keep your shoulders back

3.  Stand still

4.  Smile (yeah, it’s that important)

When you smile, you will actually begin to feel better. People will also perceive you as being nicer, smarter, and more attractive. And really, couldn’t we all use a little more of that?

Smile brightly; smile often!


Shorter Board Meetings

Board meetings can feel like they go on forever. And when they do finally end, you’re wondering, “What was the point?”

To have shorter, more effective meetings, ask anyone making a report to have a written copy of their report AND a 30-second oral statement of the most salient points. See how much more gets done in a shorter amount of time.


The Procrastinator in You

At any given time, ask yourself Lakein’s question: “What is the best use of my time right now?”

Start by asking yourself the question when you find yourself obviously procrastinating. Move on to asking BEFORE you start any activity.

Before you know it, you will find yourself procrastinating less and less. And when you do procrastinate, you will start to ask yourself, “Why?”

But that’s another article…

Who is Lakein?


Grab bag o’ goodies

v  When giving someone a business card, hand them two and explain that the second is for them to pass on when they come across someone else who could use your services.

v  Wear your nametag on the right side to make it easy for new contacts to read your name as they shake your RIGHT hand.


Contact Us

Taylor Training & Development
627 Boyer Road
Cheltenham, PA 19012
Phone: 215-663-1296
Fax: 215-663-1297
Email: solutions@taylortraining.com
URL: http://www.taylortraining.com


Taylor Training & Development would like to thank Issue Editors, Lori Timm de Villasmil of inlingua Venezuela, and Jonna Naylor of the Mt. Airy Learning Tree (MALT), for their hard work. Click here for more information about inlingua. For more information about MALT, click here.

Unless otherwise specified, all articles written by Taylor Training & Development consultants.

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© Copyright 2003 Danielle D. Taylor / Taylor Training & Development.
All rights reserved. Please contact us if you are interested in content partnerships or reprint information.


We are committed to providing organizations, and the individuals within organizations, with the knowledge, skills and values
needed to maximize their potential and actualize their goals.

We accomplish this through
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© Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved


Thaw out your icebreakers

Too many people are looking for icebreakers for their trainings or meetings. Like an urban legend, facilitators “know” there has to be an icebreaker ten minutes into the event. But like most urban legends the origins of this myth have become lost and no one knows why they must have an icebreaker, only that they must have one. 

Before you start looking for an icebreaker for your next program, ask yourself three questions:

Who is my audience?
What is my objective?
What is my approach?


With the first question, think in terms of how comfortable these people are going to be with each other. Has intimacy and trust been established or are they complete strangers? If they are strangers then you might want to use this time to allow them to get to know one another.


Objective refers to knowing what you want to do first. Do you want to get to know them, do you want them to get to know one another, or do you want to convey the content of the event? Fortunately, there are a lot of exercises out there that allow you to do any combination of the three. The important thing is for you to clearly know ahead of time just what your objective is.


Your approach is the tone of the event. Do you want to have old-fashioned, light-hearted fun or do you need a formal exercise appropriately reflective of the tone of the event? The answers to this, as well as the earlier questions, will exponentially shorten your search for the right opening exercises.

Now, go to your “icebreaker” collection and on each, note the audience, objective and approach so the next time you need an icebreaker, it will already be thawed.


Management Development

Understanding work group behavior

The most important thing to remember in managing an effective team is that teams are developing organisms. They go through stages of development the same way plants and animals do.

Wheelan’s Integrated Model of group development combines the predominant research on the evolution of groups. In this model, groups progress from immaturity to maturity in four stages.

The first stage is similar to that of a toddler or young child. Members of a work group in this stage are unsure of themselves, the group and the structure. Groups in this stage need direction and guidance. Establishing a routine will help the members gain security in their roles and enable them to move to the next stage.

Groups in the second stage of development are often easy to recognize: there are a lot of disagreements; subgroups and cliques have emerged; some of the members hate the leader. The leader becomes frustrated with the team at this point because no matter what she tries to do, it is wrong. Stage two can be compared to the teenage years.

The goal for the leader of a group in this stage of development is to get the members on the same page. This is where conflict resolution skills come into play the most. The leader also needs to let go of the notion that only their idea or “page” is the one the group should be on.

Now is the time to give the member a larger role in writing the page. This is NOT the time to abdicate authority or withdraw completely. It is simply the time to give members a chair at the table; their first chance to participate in charting the course or direction of the group.

A group that survives stage two and matures into stage three has realized, to accomplish the task, they have to give equal weight to how they do the work and to what the work entails. During this stage roles are fine-tuned and positive coalitions and partnerships are formed. As they master this, the group now seamlessly moves on to stage four.

Groups in stage four are great to see. They focus a proportionate amount of time carrying out the work, the task, as figuring out how to carry out the work, the process. Groups in the fourth stage of development are characterized by an independence from the leader. The leader at this point delegates to the team. They have the authority to make decisions on their own. Of course, they have the maturity at this point to effectively wield that power.

The group-leader relationship now resembles that of the adult child - older parent relationship. The leader is consulted, as needed, for feedback and clarification of the parameters of the responsibility, but the decisions rest in the hands of the group.

Understanding the stages groups move through and their needs in a given stage will help you achieve an effective team. Armed with this knowledge, look at your team and ask yourself two questions:

1.       In what stage of development is my group currently?

2.       How can I best meet the needs of my group in that stage?

Who is Wheelan?

Thirsting for More?


For more information about groups and their behavior check out the resource library of the Taylor Training & Development website. There you can find links to other great sites, and articles on the subject. There is also a list of books for further research.


If you would like to accurately assess the group effectiveness and productivity of your team, contact us by e-mail or by phone. We look forward to an opportunity to serve you.