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Building a team in Thailand: team roles

Submitted by on Tuesday, 12 July 2011No Comment

We’ve already seen here how important it is to understand different problem-solving styles when building a team in Thailand.

Given that building a strong team is essential for management success, why do so many teams fail, or, more often, wallow in aimless mediocrity, never able quite being able to fulfil their potential?

This has long been a subject of interest for us here at Talent Technologies, and, with the benefit of the most modern scientific techniques (including MRI and PET scanning technology) as well as observations drawn from hundreds of work teams, we believe that we have identified some key factors that lead to high-performing teams.

Understanding constituent problem-solving styles is one, knowing colleagues’ strengths and playing to them is another. In this post, we will look more closely at the importance of roles.

What Roles are – and are not

Roles are confusing things that seem always to change. They form the theme for our minds as to how we work, like a template when we build a model from a kit.

It’s for this reason that understanding roles is really important for team members.

Before we begin, let’s (at least) be clear on what roles are not. Roles are not responsibilities, which are the individual set of tasks that we need to perform on a job or as part of a team. Those responsibilities, however, can easily become part of a different role.

Here’s the problem, then. Roles come in all different shapes and sizes, often develop into expectations (either ours or those of others) and, probably most difficult of all, are rarely talked about because there is a lack of vocabulary to do so.

Think about that last point – there is no vocabulary to do so. Imagine for one moment building a model toy from a kit where all the parts do not have a name – that is the same as asking group members to come together and form a team without having any vocabulary.

Now, are we surprised if most teams are subsequently dysfunctional?

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Ladies and gentlemen… the Vocabulary!

Communication between individuals happens on all sorts of different planes. However, sometimes it helps to be able to articulate not only what teams are aiming to achieve, but also how to achieve it.

Those of you familiar with Six Sigma may know of the GRPI framework. GRPI is an acronym for:

G – Goals

R – Roles

P – Process

I – Interpersonal

This is a start. On the ‘R’ letter, we will look at the often-confusing ‘Role’ element.

Team roles


Building a team in ThailandPlease look at the image attached (also downloadable here in pdf format).

Each team may have as many as 7 roles that lead to the execution of responsibilities. Usually, though, teams tend to reduce to fewer and fewer of these roles as individuals gravitate towards the convenience the comfort zone of working with familiar types brings as opposed to the dynamism of having different types on a team.

This is a mistake. As Stephen Covey has said, Strong teams are not about similarities, but differences.

How diverse is your team? If your team does not have at least three of the following, the chances are, it is not performing effectively over time?

And how clear are the roles? If these roles are unclear then disengagement could be setting in…

The Creator is always looking to innovate with new ideas, new products, new processes. He or she works typically ‘out of the box’. The Creator’s value is not always in contributing all the time, nor in being ‘right’ all the time, but in occasionally making highly valuable discoveries, or ‘strategic game changers’.

The Explorer or Experimenter works within a scope to improve products and processes. Like the Creator, the Explorer will be happy making mistakes, understanding these to be part of a development process.




The Driver is not fazed by pushback or failure and excels at pushing through a project to completion. The Driver will often collaborate with all the team members in order to achieve the team’s goals.

The Facilitator finds himself or herself most valued in larger teams or organisations. The facilitator will often take a plan formulated by the Experimenter or Driver, and by working with all people in the team, achieve alignment on it.

The Organiser really comes to the fore in larger teams and organisations. The organiser collaborates with team members to ensure that schedules and processes align and that the ‘nitty gritty’ is executed on.

The Completer or Processor is a more functional role. Completers work well with fixed, repeatable tasks and like to make sure these are executed on consistently and without variability.

The Evaluator takes a ‘structured’ view of an existing business unit or team and checks to ensure that everything is as it ‘should’ be. The Evaluator will often be a Quality Controller or sometimes a consultant, grounding the team in fixed processes.

Which type are you?


Individuals sometimes have more than one of these ‘natural roles’.

If you would like to find out your role and how to put it to work most effectively as part of the team, then why not discover the difference Talent Factor can make to your team?

For full programme details, simply send us a message using the link below.


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Talent Technologies :: Producing Change


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