My perfect team? I haven’t got a Scooby-Doo!…

Scooby Doo Team Wheel

My kids were watching a certain cartoon on TV the other night and, I wondered if the inhabitants of the Mystery Machine might actually be a near-perfect team?

What might Belbin Team Role Theory have to say about our ghost chasing, haunted house exploring, villain catching crew?
Let me offer some of my Scooby thoughts;

Size – according to Belbin Team Role Theory, the optimum team size is between 4 and 6 people. Check.
Behavioral Selection – the perfect team mix would have strong examples of all 9 Belbin Team Roles represented amongst the team members. I’d suggest the following team profile for our leading characters;

Talk about an unorthodox specialist – he’s a talking dog that has done nothing but creatively solve mysteries for c 50 years!
Plant – Creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Generates ideas and solves difficult problems. Specialist – Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated. Provides knowledge and skills in rare supply.

Shaggy Rodgers
Trusting, loyal team servant…(Hey, Scooby, old pal)… I’d say he not only averts friction but runs a mile from it at every opportunity. Always making Scooby snacks for his canine companion.
Team Worker – Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens and averts friction,

Fred Jones
The leader of the gang…the voice of authority with a very grounded and practical approach. Puts plans into action and fixes the van when it breaks down.
Shaper – Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles. Implementer – Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.

Daphne Blake
Outgoing, charming and communicative, with an eye on the bigger picture objectives.
Resource Investigator – Outgoing, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities and develops contacts Co-ordinator – Mature, confident, identifies talent. Clarifies goals. Delegates effectively

Velma Dinkley
The analytical and detail expert…full of left-brain logic, with an underlying hint of OCD thrown in for good measure. Creates a strategic plan for the team.
Monitor Evaluator – Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all options and judges accurately. Completer Finisher – Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors. Polishes and perfects.
So, assuming we have their behavioral profiles correct, I think their team role profile looks very well balanced and complete.
But what about team performance?

Playing to strengths – they do this with aplomb as each team member has a critical part to play in the team and they all play to their respective strengths and manage their weaknesses.

Engagement – communication is regular, open and honest, with feedback and support provided between all the team members.

Staff Retention – the team has worked very well together, without any change, for almost 50 years apart from a short-term addition to the team, Scrappy-Doo. I’d argue that the team dynamic was possibly adversely affected by the introduction of Scooby’s nephew, the super pup. So, moving him on from the team was perhaps no bad thing…

Delivering against team objectives – my 5 minutes of googling indicated that Scooby and his pals have featured in 478 TV shows, films, DVDs, plays and video games. To the best of my knowledge, they have a 100% success rate of delivering against their key objective – catching the villain.
(If you know of any episodes where they failed, let me know and I’ll adjust my calculations…)

That’s a high performing, successful team by any measure.

What lessons can we take learn from this?

Effective team selection, achieving the right mix of behavioral strengths, maintaining engagement and open communication, true collaboration, focusing on the key objective at hand at and working hard / playing hard together as a team…can deliver amazing results.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any examples of great teamwork in action – in a cartoon or real life.

Always happy to chat with anyone on a no-obligation basis that may be interested in improving their own team/organisation or learning more about Belbin Team Roles. We can even provide the tea/coffee and Scooby snacks…and I promise there will be no meddling kids to mess up the plan…

Campbell Urquhart
Managing Director

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