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Team Diagnostic

What is it?

The Team Diagnostic is an online survey, completed by all team members including the leader, which diagnoses team effectiveness.

The criteria for team effectiveness are seen to be the following:

1. The productive output of the team, i.e. their service, product, decision, meets or exceeds the standards of quantity, quality and timeliness of the team’s client.

2. The team members become increasingly competent in working together as a team.

3. The team members’ personal growth and well-being are fostered by the team experiences.

What challenges, problems and opportunities does the Team Diagnostic Survey address?

  • Your team is not functioning properly. You are hearing there are conflicts in the team, the product is not being produced in time, or clients are complaining about the quality.
  • The team has thoughts and aspirations about improving the team work. They have done outdoor team building activities and it didn’t bring about the improvements hoped for.

How does it work?

  • The team members fill out the online survey which takes about 30 minutes.
  • Once all team members have done so, the report is generated by the system, and sent to the team leader and/or the team coach.
  • The report is sent to all team members who meet to discuss the findings and generate ways of improving their effectiveness.

How does the Team Diagnostic Survey process work?

The Team Diagnostic Survey gives you the team’s aggregate feedback on the enabling conditions for team performance. The five conditions are:
1. Real team
Is the team a real group that has one or more group tasks to perform, with production responsibility? Real teams are bounded, interdependent and stable

2. Clear, engaging direction
A good direction for a team is simultaneously challenging, clear and consequential. Direction should focus on the end results, and less on the means. It should energize the team members. It should be challenging but within the team’s reach. It should be clear to engage all the resources and allow for some personal shades of meaning. It should be oriented to the main purpose and be meaningful for the team members
3. Enabling structure

There are three key structural features: The task is a whole and meaningful piece of work for which members share responsibility and accountability. They receive regular feedback on their task.

The team should be as small as possible (4-5 people) given the work to be accomplished and include members with skills in both the task and interpersonal domain.

There should be clear core norms of conduct so that members don’t spend excessive time discussing acceptable or unacceptable behaviors

4. Supportive organizational context

Teams need special resources and systems to support. The reward system should provide recognition for excellent team performance.

The educational system should provide technical or educational assistance for members to learn the skills required, and should include collaborative learning skills.

The information system should provide the team with the data and projections they need to carry out their work

5. Available, supportive coaching
Leaders can do much to promote team effectiveness by helping team members learn how to work interdependently, and by providing help for effort, for sharing and evaluating knowledge and skill, and for applying appropriate performance strategies


What is interesting and different about it ?

  • It is not based on personalities of either the leader or the team members. It looks at the functions of leaders and team members, what they should do.
  • It is evidence-based for those who want to see statistical evidence of the importance of conditions or criteria.
  • The researchers do not claim to have found causal explanations because there are too many variables to make such claims.
  • The researchers say you have a better chance of achieving high performance by implementing the five conditions, than by not implementing them.

What’s in it for you and your organization?

  • You will receive an aggregated report of your team’s feedback with comparisons with Swiss or American data.
  • You get clear indications of which conditions need to be implemented or improved, so that you can take action.
  • You can do it on-line free of charge.
  • You can create a benchmark for your team, and rate yourselves again after a period of time.
  • You can work with an experienced team coach to facilitate the process.

What kind of services do we offer your organization?

Initial presentation and discussion

We can meet with you to present the team effectiveness principles and actions that are recommended, as well as what the team report looks like, and whether it would be an appropriate tool for you to use for your team.

A two-hour debriefing session with the team leader

We can go through the team survey report with you and debrief the team’s aggregate results, and talk you through some of the actions that we recommend for improvements.

Team debrief session

A half-day workshop to present the team with the report, which conditions could be improved, and to get the team ready for implementing improvements.

Team coaching

An ongoing coaching relationship with the whole team to assist in your team effectiveness.

Why work with us?

Kate Lindley Scheidegger has used the tool to diagnose and develop her own team, and has a wealth of experience working with teams to improve their performance. Some of the tools she uses are work process analysis, future search conferences, appreciative inquiry and team coaching.

Who invented the TDS

The Team Diagnostic Survey was created by J. Richard Hackman and Ruth Wageman.

It has been translated into French and is being tested in Switzerland by Professor Franziska Tschan Semmer of the University of Neuchâtel.

Links to other websites:




Leading teams: Setting the stage for great performances, J. Richard Hackman, 2002, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation

Making the team: a guide for managers, 3rd edition, Leigh L. Thompson, 2008, Pearson Prentice Hall