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Great teamwork is demonstrated when individuals contribute to their fullest capacity within an environment that truly emphasizes cooperation and mutual accountability. Using a four-part model called T.E.A.M and a set of tools customized to fit your team's unique situation, the Team RIDERS Workshop helps your team create that kind of environment.

Watch Brian Banmiller's report on the Team Riders program.

On the best teams, everybody leads
It is no longer sufficient for the "designated" leader to carry the full leadership load. The fast, flexible and highly creative organizations that define 21st century businesses rely heavily on each individual's accountability for the success of the team and organization. Whether working with external or internal customers, developing new marketing or business plans, or creating cutting-edge technology, employees who feel ownership and motivation demonstrate an enormous capacity to contribute to a company's success. Everyone on a team must have the confidence, competence, caring, and commitment to assume the mantle of "leadership" in her/his area. When these individual qualities combine within a team environment of mutual accountability and group decision-making, the effect is extraordinary. Our Team Model helps to create an environment in which individual skills, motivation, and resources to lead and cooperate are abundant.

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The T.E.A.M. model
The Team RIDERS workshop model of team development is based upon years of research and practice with teams. It includes attention to four elements of superior teamwork: Target (T), Environment (E), Accountability (A), Methods (M). Within each of these areas both the individuals on a team and the entire team as a unit must "sign up" to ensure that all four elements are nurtured. The formal and informal leaders of the team take responsibility for T.E.A.M. When this occurs, extraordinary achievements and a caring, committed work environment result.

T: TARGET. It's essential to have a target for which the team is aiming. It may be a broad vision or a more specific and focused bulls-eye or goal. It provides the overall focus and direction -- and common purpose -- that everyone on the team is striving to accomplish.

E: ENVIRONMENT. A team's culture or environment must contain open communication, mutual respect, direct feedback, integrity in one's work, caring for others, and participation in decision-making. The team's values shape behaviors that it uses internally and in all important interactions with others.

A: ACCOUNTABILITY. Clarity around roles and responsibilities ensures that members can do their best work without unnecessary duplication, "turf-wars" or gaps in service. Many teams experience problems that can be traced back to the lack of clarity or commitment in individual roles and responsibilities. Team members who know what to do and how they are interdependent will often be the most mutually accountable to one another as well.

M: METHODS. The team that has discussed and decided its methods or procedures for how to operate as a team can do its work in the most efficient way. Many teams skip this step of determining their methods of operation, jumping immediately to achieving the target. Without attention to methods--such as how the team will decide, for example--many simple processes become mired in confusion or too-quick decisions that serve only to fracture the team's operations.

Your team is unique: RIDERS recognizes that
Each team has its strengths and weaknesses. You may already have a team that practices the four characteristics of the TEAM model. Or, your team may be quite strong in one or two areas but not all four. Our method of consulting and training is to begin with "where you are" and provide what you need. We will...

• Assess the current state of your team
• Customize the RIDERS workshop to focus on your team's needs
• Develop an action plan during the workshop that you continue to implement in the workplace
• Reinvigorate your team with follow-up after the workshop

Taking the Team RIDERs challenge
Growth does not emerge from doing what we have always done. It occurs when an individual or team either chooses or is chosen to participate in some new, challenging event.

Instead of training in the sedentary situation of a classroom, Team RIDERS provides an environment where each person has a chance to practice challenging horseback and ranch-related activities. By having to react in this new situation, individuals within the team cannot rely on attitudes or behaviors well-honed in the office. Everyday office behaviors, "turf wars," or status groups drop away as team members fully engage with each other. They "relearn" how to communicate and cooperate with the other individuals on the team and develop a whole new appreciation for one another's strengths and growth areas.

By removing people from their "comfort zones," Team RIDERS can accelerate the learning curve, creating a new "zone" or context in which people learn. With the level playing field stemming from the new tasks to be accomplished, each participant in RIDERS can take the opportunity to test his or her ability to lead, to follow, and/or to ask for help. Each participant reveals something familiar to others on the team as well as something unknown to them. The insights about oneself and about teammates are extensive. And, as Warren Bennis, one of the premier experts on leadership explains, these kinds of challenges and revelations are not only helpful, they're essential!
"As we see it," write Bennis and co-author Joan Goldsmith in Learning to Lead, "active, risky, self-conscious, and committed learning is required in order to become the leaders demanded by today's complex and crisis-oriented environment."

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