Richard Beckhard first introduced the GRPI model in 1972. GRPI stands for Goals, Roles, Processes and Interpersonal Relationships which are the four critical and interrelated aspects of teamwork. The GRPI is a four-step project planning tool to help team leaders ensure productivity, efficiency and quality. The model for team organization known as GRPI began in the field of social science and has since been adopted into Six Sigma’s change acceleration process (CAP) tool kit.
A goal lays the foundation for good teamwork by establishing the core mission of a team and framing its purpose. Just like flock of geese, which fly together in same direction forming v or single line; have clear set of goals. Similarly, goals sets direction for a team, helps them define where they want to be and unite each individual effort in getting there. Without a common goal which is clear, shared and agreed, any impact on the team would be limited. A fine Goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound (SMART).
A role statement clearly defines each team member’s authority, responsibility and tasks that need to be aligned in order to support the defined goal. To enable the team to function:
- Each team member should have a clear picture of who is doing what, who is responsible for what, and should know the extent of their authority
- Each team member needs to understand, agree and be satisfied with their roles and responsibilities
- Each team member is also accountable individually and collectively
Henceforth, it is crucial that team members have cooperative vision towards achieving the goals. Transparency among team member’s roles enables them to effectively accomplish the goals. This is the foundation of a clear process in addressing, clarifying and resolving issues.
Processes in organizations are a governance tool to overcome inefficiencies in the areas of decision-making, control, coordination and communication (Wong, 2009). Setting standardized processes will effectively support the team’s goals, as also defining processes during the forming phase by determining the interactions within a team. Successful teams have:
- Clear and frequent communication
- Constructive ways of dealing openly with inevitable conflict
- As well as elegant processes for group decision making.
The Interpersonal section of the GRPI model is about establishing trust, open communication and feedback in order to support a sound working environment. It encourages creative and diverse contributions from all members, however discourages groupthink. Successful relations are built by understanding strengths of team members and treating each other as people. Improving interpersonal relationships can be developed by simple gestures like smiling at someone to listening carefully, asking advice, passing on compliments etc. Negative behaviors like threats or disrespect can immediately affect the relationships
To summarize, a GRPI model is simple framework for any project to facilitate team’s success. It should be incorporated while developing a new team and planning the first steps or revisit if a team starts to flounder. GRPI can be initiated in any phase of a project but for optimal use should be deployed in the Define phase of a DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) project, and further can be modified and updated while needed as the project progresses. It eases the process of establishing and prioritizing the core mission of a team and framing it into a clear action plan. Solutions can be found, by setting priorities and identifying problems at the right level.
GRPI helps ensure that a project team is productive, minimizing ramp-up time and rework. Team members might lose focus or be unproductive if goals are not clearly defined. People hesitate to exercise their roles and responsibilities if there is some ambiguity. This exhibits poor leadership qualities and weakens the collaboration among the members. All of these results in poor communication among team members effecting productiveness of a project. Therefore, it is crucial to establish absolute clarity at each level. Project is most productive to take the model in order: effective goals first, then roles, then process and, finally interpersonal relationships.