The GRPI Model
Increasing Team Effectiveness
Team conflict and ineffectiveness often have the same root causes: unclear goals, misunderstood roles, undefined processes, and poor relationships.
By taking time to clarify and address each of these areas, you can help a new team get off to a strong start, and you can quickly address problems that crop up along the way. In this article, we look at the GRPI Model, a simple framework that helps you do this.
About the Model
Richard Beckhard, one of the founders of organizational development, introduced the GRPI Model in the early 1970s. The acronym stands for:
- Interactions/Interpersonal Relationships.
When you address each of these elements, you can clarify your team's purpose, set priorities, increase efficiency, and identify and prevent potential problems. You can also use GRPI as a diagnostic checklist to help people who aren't operating at their best, as well as to "fine tune" your team, so that people work together more effectively.
Each of the GRPI Model's four letters are listed in the order of their importance in the team. So, for example, when people are unclear about their goals, they will be confused about the role that they play within the group. This, in turn, means that they can't follow processes effectively to accomplish their tasks, which has a negative impact on their interactions and relationships, because they can't work with others effectively.
The GRPI Model can be used when writing a team charter. These are drawn up when a group is formed to define its purpose, how it will work, and what its expected outcomes are.
You can also use GRPI alongside the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing model, to make sure that everyone is focused on the right things from the start. Address each element during a team's Forming stage, and you will likely reach peak performance sooner.
How to Apply the GRPI Model
Follow the steps below to use the GRPI Model with your team.
Step 1: Identify Goals
The first step in GRPI is to clarify goals. These crystallize your team's purpose, and create a shared identity among its members.
Your team needs to understand and commit to the goals that you set. Without common, agreed-upon objectives, people have little chance of making an impact or fulfilling their purpose.
Check that your team charter defines your group's goals clearly, along with the ultimate outcomes that you are all trying to achieve. And make sure that the objectives within it are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) so that they keep everyone on track.
Then identify Key Performance Indicators that will help you measure progress towards your goals. These are quantifiable metrics that reflect how well an organization is meeting its stated objectives. Ensure that your team members understand which KPIs apply to them, and why they are important.
Step 2: Clarify Roles
Your next step is to clarify each person's role. When roles are clear, team members understand who is responsible for each task, what their level of authority is, and who has the final say on decisions. This eliminates any possibility of confusion and helps avoid power struggles.
Make sure that your team members know what they're accountable for. Include this in your team charter, and ensure that everyone has read and understood it.
It is also useful to understand the different types of roles that people naturally fall into when they work within a group. Our articles on Belbin's Team Roles and Benne and Sheats's Group Roles will help you recognize these tendencies, so that you make use of people's strengths and avoid asking them to do things they are not naturally good at.
Step 3: Map Processes
Processes play an important part in how your team members work together, share information and make decisions. This is why it's so vital to define them for essential routine activities.
Start by looking at what the group does. For example, how does the team do its main tasks, communicate, and stay abreast of progress? How does it solve problems? Resolve conflict? Make decisions? Map out key processes using a Flow Chart or Swim Lane Diagram.
Next, analyze the steps in each process. If you find that any are unwieldy or inefficient, our article on Improving Business Processes can help you streamline and improve them.
Step 4: Strengthen Interactions/Interpersonal Relationships
This last element in the GRPI Model encourages you to look at your team's relationships. Do members trust one another? Is conflict healthy and productive, or damaging?
To strengthen relationships, start by building trust. To do this, create situations that allow everyone to open up and relax. This might mean socializing after work, or organizing team activities that enable people to get to know one another.
Make sure that you lead by example. Teams depend on strong leadership, and it's up to you to show your team how you'd like them to behave. Keep your word and commitments, communicate with everyone openly, work with integrity, and accept responsibility for your mistakes: it's easy for your team members to follow your lead if they look up to you.
Richard Beckhard developed the GRPI Model in the early 1970s. It provides a simple framework that you can use to prevent common dysfunctions and help your team perform effectively. GRPI stands for:
- Interactions/Interpersonal Relationships.
To apply the model, first make sure that your team's goals are clear. Clarify everyone's roles and responsibilities, and map out the processes that you all use to communicate and make decisions. Last, strengthen relationships by building trust and leading by example.