Formalizing Team Processes
The following questions are designed to guide members in evaluating their current team processes. Based on the number of affirmative responses, each member will fall into one of the categories on the opposite page. These categories can be used to identify tactics particularly well suited to member circumstances. Note: questions should be answered from the perspective of the BIT Chair.
1. Does a formal policy statement or procedure manual establish the authority of the BIT, detail the team’s membership, and outline its decision-making process?
2. Are BIT duties included in members’ job descriptions?
3. Does a formal document (e.g., policy statement, team members’ job descriptions) describe each member’s responsibilities on the BIT?
4. Do BIT members receive periodic trainings on team procedures, legal and policy updates, and case-evaluation protocols?
5. Does the team use external resources, such as professional associations, webconferences, publications, and regional partnerships, to supplement periodic trainings?
6. Do you evaluate team success through a performance audit?
7. After conducting performance audits, do you use the results to revise BIT protocols and improve team performance?
8. During school breaks, do you hold retreats at which your team may reflect on its strengths and weaknesses?
Number of Yes Responses
0-2 Not Formalized:The team lacks the infrastructure necessary for formal recognition and consistent operation across multiple years.
The Forum recommends that teams in this category immediately implement a Procedures Manual to formalize operations and increase team visibility on campus.
3-4 Minimally Formalized: The group operates with some basic infrastructure, such as a procedures manual, but does not write membership, time allocation, or duties into individual team members’ job descriptions.
The Forum suggests that institutions in this category formalize membership on the team through Role Definitions, which provide recognition and awareness regarding members’ duties.
5-6 Moderately Formalized: The team possesses a well-developed policy infrastructure, including a procedures manual and role definitions for members. However, the group lacks a regular plan for professional development and training, which is necessary to refine their work.
The Forum urges teams in this category to introduce Training Models to develop team members’ ability to effectively evaluate and respond to student cases.
7-8 Highly Formalized: The group has a robust infrastructure that encompasses a procedures manual as well as ongoing training opportunities to continuously improve team dynamics and individual expertise. While the team conducts periodic reflection exercises, it may lack a formal model for reviewing its performance and identifying weak spots.
The Forum encourages institutions in this category to implement a Performance Audit to identify strengths and diagnose weaknesses, focusing the group’s time on improving the most critical aspects of the BIT process.
In exploring team processes and efficiency, the Forum’s work highlighted a surprising dearth of written guidelines and procedures. Interviewees stressed how not having this information creates inefficiencies in case assignment and management. It also creates potential complications when back-up committee members fill in and with team member transitions.
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Practice #6: Procedures Manual