Creating generative teams -
The Star Model

This insight piece was written as an introduction and accompaniment to a session given as part of a workshop on the theme of 'how can we adjust our organisational practices to better serve the common interests wealth and wellbeing?' which is a key focus of enquiry within the CSF and an area of developing expertise within the community. (Contact us if you would like to know more or get involved.)

 Teams and collaboration have the potential to accomplish much more than any one individual. The start up of collaboration can be full of energy as team members sort out individual expectations and form a direction that is for the benefit of all. Over time, however, every team encounters challenges. These challenges can either help the team focus and work together, or they can threaten the working relationships that support the work of the team.

This paper identifies four areas to help teams recognize and resolve their issues, so that they can work most productively together. It is based on the STAR Model, designed and developed by Brenda Zimmerman. The STAR defines the four features of a generative team that allow it to work effectively toward common goals.

In the first instance, the STAR model identifies, for teams or collaborators, areas to strengthen its capacity as a generative team.

S—Similarities and differences. This aspect of the STAR provides the diversity and creativity required for the work of the team. Human systems dynamics depend on similarities and differences as they form the patterns that emerge and change over time.

T—Talking and listening. This point of the STAR establishes the interactions that support relationships across lines of difference that are necessary to the work. Talking and listening form the exchanges that allow for individual and group transformation in human systems dynamics.

A—Authentic work. This facet of the STAR provides the satisfaction and progress of defining and completing concrete and useful tasks. The work of a group forms one kind of container to hold the individuals together as they form shared meaning and action in complex human system dynamics.

R—Reason for coming together. This point of the STAR provides the "glue" that brings a team together and holds it in the relationship that allows productive work. A shared reason for coming together is a second kind of container that holds a group together as they find shared patterns of meaning and action.

Available to those who are interested in the STAR model is an assessment tool and supporting handbook with many models and methods to increase any point of the STAR.

Author:  the late Sally Gritten, ex President – Human Systems Dynamics Institute (UK)

For more on the Star model and downloadable resources click here 

'Human Systems Dynamics is one of the approaches from the stable of complexity approaches which can provide really valuable insight in organising in ways that help 'build a world where all can flourish'.  I would recommend the 3 week practitioner training programme run by the HSDI to anyone interested in learning more. The ideas are being employed in the design of the forum and also addressed in workshops and training such as  'Life Enhancing Leadership' programme.' Esther Ridsdale