What Is Team Embedded Development?

This week, I would like to introduce an important peer development concept that leaders can use to grow their teams. This is Team Embedded Development, an approach to learning and improved performance in which team members help each other move forward.

What is Team Embedded Development?

Team Embedded Development (TED) is not (initially) about the development of a team, surprisingly enough.

Rather, it’s about the development of individuals. With TED, the team or group is a vehicle for this individual development; in this context, team members stimulate and monitor each other’s development.

As a secondary effect, TED often leads to the development of the team as a whole.

So how does it work?

Conditions and Steps for TED

For Team Embedded Development to be successfully implemented, there are some important considerations to bear in mind.

A Boundary Condition for TED:

Teams should not be in conflict. If they are – they will not benefit from a TED approach. If a team is in conflict, a process intervention will be necessary before TED can be applied.

Steps Involved in TED:

  1. A workshop in which team members give each other feedback and identify each other’s strengths and development points (e.g. using the technique: keep doing, do more, do less, don’t do more). These are visualized on a personal development board.
  2. Priority development points are identified and on this basis, all kinds of cross-references are made between team members. They will help each other to develop the learning points or maximize the strengths. All kinds of very divergent development points can be dealt with here.
  3. To help maintain a the common thread throughout different development points, content input can be provided by an external consultant.
  4. The team and its members are responsible for the learning process and its results, but can be supported where necessary. For example, on how to guide each other effectively, how to find the right development actions, give feedback, and so forth.
  5. Every now and then the team plans a short workshop, during which the development of each individual is discussed and adjusted (based on the personal development board). This session may or may not be supervised by an external consultant (this is recommended the first time).

At Time To Grow Global, we provide specialized tools to help support TED implementation. These include:
– Teamscans;
– Teambuilding Sessions;
– Personal Development Boards; and
– Process Guidance for Individual and Team Learning.

Pros and Cons of TED

Like any coaching, learning, and development framework, TED has advantages and disadvantages…


– TED kills 2 birds with one stone – it develops both teams and individuals;
– Team members keep each other sharp, coach each other, and remind each other to continue moving forward;
– With TED, learning is directly link to practice;
– The responsibility for learning and development lies with the team and its individual members;
– Development is focused on the needs of the individuals and their team at that specific moment;
– TED creates a strong common frame of reference; and
– It has a big spin-off – a team learns to learn and its members can in turn get back to work with their own team.

Possible Disadvantages:
– TED comes with the possible risk of groupthink if a team is too blindly staring at itself. This is why follow-up and external input are important, and why it’s useful for team members to follow certain training courses separately; and
– In the first instance, safety in a team may be too limited.

Have you been involved in Team Embedded Development before? Are you keen to implement this learning approach in your company or project team? Let me know your ideas by email, I would love to hear your comments: marc[at]compassiontolead.net.