How TetraMap Catalyses Team

By TetraMap_Admin - March 5, 2024

Hackman Model GraphicWritten by TetraMap Facilitator Ian Blackwell


I am an executive coach working for a large multi-national pharmaceutical company based in the UK. My role is to coach, lead and facilitate Team Effectiveness (TE) across several high profile leadership teams as well as executional teams including aseptic ways of working.

This blog has been written to illustrate some of the key parts of the TE process and the positive impact that TetraMap has had.

This is the Hackman Model, it is a TE process that is used to build and develop teams starting with the essential conditions of Real Team, Compelling Direction and Team Structure followed by building in the enabling conditions of Supportive Organisational Context and Team Coaching. Each section has criteria to follow that creates clarity, focus and engagement for team development to take place.

Team size is typically 10-15 people, with a leader, a sponsor and a TE facilitator. Several psychometric tools are also often used as part of the process such as GC Index and Insights Discovery. Managing and understanding self being a key part of the process here! This is where TetraMap has had such a profound impact on the TE process.

How has TetraMap helped catalyse Team Effectiveness (TE)?

Puzzle HandsI have found TetraMap to be a complete game-changer! It has been and is, a catalyst of change for Team Effectiveness!

Why, What, How?
The metaphor of nature is so relatable to everyone it really means that TetraMap, unlike any other similar process, is, what we call, a sticky process! People just get it! Its simplicity and association with Nature makes it all the more acceptable and engaging. With respect, you do not need to be an intellectual to understand it. It is a very simple metaphor and so incredibly powerful just like Nature!

A Sticky Process So What?

Very often following a workshop it is typical for an individual and/or the team to start to use their newfound knowledge that very same day and continue to reference the elements thereafter and hence a “sticky process ”. To truly understand where someone is coming from and that their intent (that can be an irritation) is not personal, is a paradigm shift of the highest order for many! Suddenly, there is acceptance of ourselves and others, that makes for working together much both energising and important.

“No one is as smart as all of us”

For me, the difference with TetraMap is the behaviour one observes of ownership, commitment and responsibility to mobilise the team’s ways of working & future compelling direction.

“Turning Irritations into Insights”

Buckminster Fuller QuoteWhat a paradigm shift this is! One of my favourite exercises and one that very often starts to create rapport (and how important from a facilitation point of view) with the team, is the “Nature at Work” picture cards exercise. Attendees are asked to pick a card that reflects their own nature and the nature of the team. Wow! The insight that one can have from the different perspectives around the room is very powerful, how they feel, their pride, their honour, etc.

From this moment on, the environment in the room has changed to such a point, that individuals feel that they have a voice i.e. Psychologically Safe. People are starting to understand a little more of where each other is coming from.

The 2nd metaphor is introduced by the Tetrahedron via another fun exercise that helps to demonstrate the importance of difference in a team.

“……tetrahedrons are nature’s building blocks”
Richard Buckminster Fuller

Team Performance CurveBuilding on the climate in the room that has already been created, there is respect, curiosity and the desire to explore and learn about ourselves and each other.

We have created a Learning Environment I have learned to simply “Trust the process”. This is the game-changing part of TetraMap that I have not seen or witnessed before and at this stage, the elements have not even been brought to life!




Diversity is the Key to creating a High Performing Team

  • How often do we hear about the importance of Diversity and Inclusivity in today’s society? TetraMap majors this!
  • The more diverse a team, the stronger it is likely to be. It is about having a respectful understanding and appreciation of the difference that each person brings, and their value-added contribution that TetraMap does so incredibly well.
  • The connections with nature along with the Tetrahedron are very simple yet they are powerful metaphors.
  • The team are ready to embrace personal change and development, TetraMap is a great process to unlock this vital step.
  • Interestingly, the new habit/development for individuals to practice and develop even greater self-awareness is now borne from understanding and using their least preferred element, “In Your Lowest Preference” exercise it allows you to walk in the shoes of those that are most different to you. This exercise introduces differences and is very often quite uncomfortable for a short period of time.
  • It focuses on how I need to communicate, influence & work with individuals that are very different to me.
  • In my experience, this is when we start to approach both real and high-performing teamwork.
  • It is when individuals have respect and humility for both themselves and the team, TetraMap catalyses this behaviour.


Hi Ian,

I just wanted to send a quick email to thank you for facilitating the Tetramap session today.

We all thoroughly enjoyed this interactive, engaging morning and it helped me personally understand each other’s personalities in my team in a lot more depth. I thought I already knew the behaviours of different individuals in my team, however the Elements have really brought purpose and fruition to the importance of having all these behaviours in a team in order to succeed, but have also learnt things I was only probably subconsciously aware of before the session.

I look forward to thinking about and putting alternative ways of communicating into practise to strengthen ways of working both within the team and networking outside of the team also.

This type of training would really benefit all teams on site and it would be good to expose it to as many people as possible.

Hi Ian,

The energy in the room was amazing. The way you coached folk to speak openly and share theirthoughts was very clever Ian. Everyone’s’ voice was heard and I think you made everyone feel very valued.

I have learnt more about the underlying values/beliefs of my team members, that we are all different but that we all share elements of the 4 elements, and that a combination of folk in a team is very powerful. I particularly found that the bit about how to communicate more effectively contained some tangible things I can consider and implement in order to be a better and more effective leader. I enjoyed observing you ‘getting the measure of us’ very quickly, I can see that you quickly worked each person out and then were able to coach us differently in the open conversations.

I agree that this session would be good to promote and exploit across more teams, as well as the specific tetra map learnings I think teams like the chance to get away from the shop floor and do something together.

Many thanks for your time and passion this morning, I very much appreciate it.



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