Predict new team dynamics


Learning goals for this activity

– Understand why predicting new team dynamics is important to talent optimization.
– Be able to list and describe the three steps of predicting new team dynamics.
– Explain how people data can be used to compare a candidate to an existing team.
– Describe some changes that may be introduced when a new person is added to a team.

Predicting new team dynamics includes evaluating potential changes to group dynamics if you were to hire a given candidate. This activity will allow you to anticipate issues proactively as part of the selection process.

Why predicting new team dynamics is important to talent optimization

When evaluating candidates during the interview process, it’s important to understand how their addition to the team may change and impact the overall dynamics of the group. If you hire a candidate without first using people data to evaluate team fit, it can lead to big problems: team dynamics that are marked by conflict or teams that can’t accomplish strategic goals. Many organizations don’t have the data they need to make smart team building decisions. Instead, they assemble teams based on resumes and gut feel. This leads to unbalanced teams and high-performing employees who become disengaged when forced to work alongside lower performers.

Key steps of this activity include:

  1. Understand how a candidate compares to existing team members.
  2. Predict changes to current team dynamics.

1. Understand how a candidate compares to existing team members.

Most companies evaluate candidates based on the apparent fit between their knowledge, skills, and abilities relative to the work they’re being asked to perform. A talent optimization approach also includes taking a data-driven look at how a given candidate compares to existing team members they would work with.

In some cases, a candidate may have a behavioral style that’s similar to that of existing team members. For example, a team of sales professionals may all be outgoing, customer-centric, and proactive. A new sales professional may also have this same behavioral profile.

But what if the profile of the candidate was radically different from those of the existing team members? This could be the case if that new sales team member was a sales operations professional. This person may be more reserved and process-oriented than the rest of the team.

2. Predict changes to current team dynamics.

Adding a new team member creates a new team. As a result, you may see significant changes in how work assignments are divided, how processes unfold, and how communication flows through the team. In addition, you may see changes to other fundamental team dynamics including how teams make decisions and take action.

For example, an existing team may operate from a position of respect. The team’s communication emphasizes pleasant yet professional interactions. Team members have strong points of view, but they still respect and acknowledge others’ perspectives. How would this team dynamic change if a candidate with a very assertive and direct communication style were added to the team? You can’t make an informed hiring decision without taking this into consideration.