Team Development for a Real Project Team

CombiWith Corporation is a subsidiary of the Combi Group, a major Japanese manufacturer of baby products. The company produces a wide range of baby goods and infant care products.


In 2011, CombiWith launched their ‘Maintenance Project’ initiative. This created new business opportunities in cleaning, repairing and exchanging products. The project was identified as having real growth potential for their business, but concerns emerged about lack of shared vision, focus and motivation levels.

The Project Champions identified several conditions for a successful outcome for the project team:

  • To have a balanced overview and input from many different departments
  • To look at the issues from many different angles
  • To share a common purpose and work to create a sense of unity
  • To gain recognition and respect for the Maintenance Project throughout the company.


Impact Japan designed and delivered a four-phase team development programme for the project team. The programme took five months and focussed on real business consultation.

Phase 1: Impact took the project team offsite to focus on building team relationships. Through a blend of theoretical inputs, practical activities and facilitated dialogue, they agreed and created a team action plan based on this output.

Phase 2: Using Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Impact worked with the project team to highlight their real business situation. The team identified areas that were preventing them from being a high performing team, and looked at what roles and commitments they could make as individuals. Participants were able to see more clearly how they could actually contribute to the project.

Phase 3: This centred around facilitated discussions on the real business issues. Participants looked closely at their actual goals and plans, and created an action plan to improve the quality of research of hypothetical values and facts. The output was more focussed on practical work, and what is actually happening on a day-to-day basis.

Phase 4: The project team participants reflected on successes from the previous six months and looked at ongoing plans.

Programme Benefits

This programme made progress in team development in the following areas:
•    Clarified members roles and responsibilities
•    Self-awareness of individual roles within the team and overall team environment
•    Set specific goals and action plans
•    Re-evaluate and test products
•    Research and preparation made for the presentation to CombiWith Executives

Such is the success of the programme, CombiWith aim to continue developing this team and growing the project so that eventually their ‘Maintenance Project’ will be a pillar of their business.


‘The programme clarified many issues. For example, there were big differences in the levels of the awareness of the project’s importance – eg the attitude towards the project and the final goal. This gap stemmed from the relationship between top management and the project leader, and the relationships between project leader and team members.

Since the ‘Maintenance Project’ meetings were held only once a month, it was very difficult to get the whole team thinking at the same level and with the same amount of commitment. As the Impact programme progressed, there were noticeable changes to the project team. At the beginning, the goals and objectives lacked clear targets, structure and benchmarks. As the phases were completed, the business meetings progressed, members started to take on roles and responsibilities for which they were best suited and where they had a strong interest. We believe that this is the result of the Impact facilitator repeatedly getting people to think about: 1) the value of the project 2) setting common goals and objectives 3) agreeing their own roles and 4) having members strengthen their relationships within the team.'

Muneharu Ishibashi
Yoshiharu Nakane