Archive for June, 2012

10 tips for building and developing a team

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

What is a team?

A team is what a group of people can become when it has a clear sense of purpose. A performing team has a clear synergistic output – in other words the output is greater than the sum of the parts (contribution by each individual). A good , local Cambridge, example can be found with rowers. Rowers will tend to be part of a club (the group) and then many will row with others in eights or fours. These individuals have to have a clear sense of purpose and work together or the boat will be unlikely to balance, go very quickly or go straight! The crews need to work as teams.

Cambridge Bumps Rowing Race

If you have been in a performing team, you will know what this feels like.  It is very special and you want the dynamic to continue!

10 Top Tips


1. Clarity of purpose

Ensure that you are clear as to the purpose or purposes of the team. Make sure that you have SMART objectives that are prioritised

2. Select members carefully

Identify what skills you need and ensure that you can either secure these or train selected individuals in them. Attitude is important. The mantra ‘recruit for attitude, train for skill’ can apply in some team development situations. Team size is important. Teams of more than 10 people tend to be difficult to manage effectively and those with less than 5 need to be carefully structured to recognise the need for individuals to play more than 1 or 2 roles.

3. Aim for a mix of team role preferences

You are aiming for balance here. Use the Belbin test or similar to identify your and other members preferred team roles. Seek to avoid gaps and having too many members with the same preferred styles.

4. Decide on leadership and management styles required

Who will lead the team? Will this responsibility be with one individual, shared or rotating? What style does the team purpose need? Project teams, for example, often need a style towards the autocratic end of the continuum to ensure deliverables are achieved. Other teams may need a more participative style.

5. Communicate the purpose(s) to the team members and other identified stakeholders

A team needs a sense of purpose so make sure it is effectively communicated. Collaboration with other functions and teams is also an important consideration so ensure that other stakeholders are clear on the purpose too.

6. Manage team development proactively

Don’t wait for it to happen. Recognise the steps involved and manage the completion of the early stages actively to ensure that they happen in a short time frame. To perform, teams need to go through the following stages1:-


  • Forming

At the start of a new group, individuals are unclear about their roles and each other. Team building activities can accelerate the process.

  • Storming

A turbulent period for a group. Leadership and/ or objectives may be challenged. The group may change in shape both in the roles being played by individuals and membership. Actively managing these elements can, again, speed up the process.

  • Norming

At this stage, individuals in the group start to settle down. There is more shared understanding of purpose and each other and procedures can be agreed. Gaps in skills and resources should now become apparent. Addressing these, from a management perspective, can enable the group to move to the next stage.

  • Performing

This is where the group has really become a ‘team’ and is now ready and capable of delivering against a set of targeted objectives. Tip number 7 is now the priority.

7. Use John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership approach

Recognise the need to manage the team, the individual and the task for an effective outcome or set of outcomes. Ignoring any one of the three will mean that performance will suffer in some way.

8. Measure progress and reward success

Tom Peters summed this one up “What gets measured gets done, what gets rewarded gets done”.

9. Motivate the team

Be the team that others want to be a part of! Recognise achievements and celebrate successes both within the team and outside with the wider stakeholders.

10. Nurture the team

Remember to apply the key elements of management to all team activities. Ensure that you:-

  • Provide direction
  • Plan
  • Motivate
  • Coordinate team, individual and task activities
  • Control to ensure delivery on all levels



  1. Team development stages – Dr Bruce Tuckman 1965


Bax Interaction adds a new dimension to its services

Thursday, June 14th, 2012


The Cambridge based marketing research, strategy and training consultancy Bax Interaction Limited, has added a new dimension to its services and a new member to its team.

The company, which has an impressive track record of improving marketing effectiveness for its clients, has welcomed Chartered Marketer Pippa Corbett as Marketing Projects Director.  Pippa, an experienced marketer with a strong background in the professional services, not for profit, technology and fresh produce sectors, joins the Bax Interaction team to strengthen the strategic marketing audit, analysis and marketing planning service and to bring a new dimension of ‘managing marketing projects’ to the mix.

With extensive local and market knowledge, Bax Interaction brings specialist expertise to assist organisations in the East Anglia area with marketing audits and research through to strategy planning, training and mentoring and the implementation of identified marketing tactics.

Says Managing Director Steve Bax, “We are delighted to welcome Pippa who brings extensive experience of the marketing audit process, implementation of strategic marketing plans and managing marketing projects to the team. With this added dimension, we can offer a unique service from tailored research and analysis of your target market, strategy realignment and development of your marketing planning and training and development of your core marketing personnel.  As a team we have the capacity and capability to ensure your marketing is working effectively”.

It doesn’t just stop there though.   At Bax Interaction, the team stays involved to ensure marketing works by helping clients to source and manage communications providers, mentoring marketing team members to ensure they are fully bought in and understanding of their roles and regular plan measurement and review sessions to ensure that the objectives are achieved.

Pippa Corbett joins Bax Interaction as Marketing Projects Director


Does market research pay in today’s economic climate?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012



“Good quality market research pays today more than ever before” says market research expert Steve Bax, MD of Bax Interaction.

“With more and more businesses vying for market share in tough economic times, good market research can make the difference in positioning your business as a brand leader, understanding customers to give you the edge, creating a USP or identifying an opportunity. But many businesses do not realise the money that they are wasting when putting out sub-standard and ill-thought-through questionnaires.”

To tackle the problem head on, Steve’s Cambridge based marketing research, strategy and training consultancy has launched a brand new questionnaire improvement service called the Quest that can enable marketers to double the response rates on existing questionnaires or surveys.

Bax Interaction offers their skills and expertise, both as practitioners and teachers of marketing research, to marketers to enable them to improve the design, layout and methodology of their questionnaires to dramatically improve response rates and data quality.

Steve Bax, MD, continued “The bottom line is that using a poorly designed questionnaire is a waste of time for everyone involved. For example, ambiguous or double barrelled questions not only put off the respondent but cannot possibly provide clear answers for the organisation asking them. This creates a vicious circle where the organisation involved concludes that research does not deliver the answers they need and respondents get frustrated with the process and stop participating.”


The Quest service provides organisations with a fast, low cost, professional evaluation of a draft or existing questionnaire in the form of an actionable, diagnostic report.  The report covers all key aspects of questionnaire based research, and recommends actionable improvements to be made to the questionnaire itself as well as to the delivery method and approach to be used. This means that the survey process can be significantly improved and better decisions can be made as a result of the responses gained.

Accessing the Quest service could not be easier. A brief enquiry by email to Bax Interaction will trigger a call from them to gather the key details they need. A diagnostic report with clear recommendations will be sent back via email within 2 working days.

The Quest service is delivered by Josephine and Steve from the Bax Team


The service costs from just £150 + VAT ( for up to 10 questions)  – a small price to pay for actionable advice, when you need it, that is guaranteed to directly improve questionnaire effectiveness.

As an introductory offer Bax Interaction is offering the first 5 organisations who contact them before the end of July 2012 a free Quest report in return for a testimonial on how it has worked for them….*