FAQs: TGI Teamability™


What is Teamability?
Over 25 years ago, two behavioral scientists (Dr. Janice Presser & Dr. Jack Gerber) decided to collaborate in pursuing this question: 'What happens when people team together, and can it be measured?' The result was TGI Teamability™. This technology incorporates three metrics that have not been available through any other form of assessment:
  • Role: a person's predisposition to serving specific organizational needs
  • Coherence: a positive orientation towards working with others to achieve common goals
  • Teaming Characteristics: a wide range of variables that influence team relationships and performance
When we work with other people, the keys to success are deeply embedded in how well we 'team' with them. This overall interdependency and inter‐reliance can be described as human infrastructure. Teamability provides the information that is essential for creating a Coherent Human Infrastructure (CHI).

How long has Teamability been in use?
All in all, for over 10 years. TGI Teamability is the capstone of three cycles of research, development, and commercial use, beginning in 1988 with the Executive Behavior Assessment (EBA). As the name implies, this assessment focused on leadership behaviors. A second iteration, the Enhanced EBA, was launched in 1998. Subsequent work verified that the behaviors being measured are found in teams at any level of an organization, leading to the development, revalidation, and launch of teamability as an online assessment in late 2009.

What is the value proposition of teamability, and what differentiates it from the many other assessment tools currently available?
Imagine what would happen in your organization if there were a reliable way to ensure that each person, on every team, was the right 'fit': not just for their job responsibilities, but also for the mission of the team? And what if this 'new way to know' could provide a simple, straightforward way to analyze teams and make the right adjustments to optimize team performance?

TGI Teamability utilizes proprietary technology that simulates and measures a person's approach to team interaction. Prior to Teamability, the focus of assessment has been on measuring individual characteristics. Teamability measures teaming characteristics.

Teamability produces metrics of team behavior that have not been obtainable by any other means, making it a valuable complement to other forms of assessment. Teamability users are able to screen and select first for positive teaming ('Coherence'), for fit to job requirements ('Role') and specific match (or lack thereof) to functional area or culture ('Teaming Characteristics'). Then, having assurance that all 'finalist' candidates are top quality team players, teamability users then compare the knowledge, skill, experience and other factors to determine their final 'best of the best' choice.

Teamability is more than an assessment tool. It is also the cornerstone of Coherent Human Infrastructure management, also originated at TGI. 'CHI' is a holistic approach that can be readily implemented in any organization, fully complementing existing business structures and processes.

Just as a Coherent person can be counted upon to be a good team player, members of a team with a high level of Coherence will encourage and enable each other to use their strengths synergistically for the good of the team, and will understand and appreciate the need to fill in for each other's weaknesses. In the Coherent Human Infrastructure (CHI) model, people are not viewed as having 'gaps', but rather, as interdependent 'works in progress'.

Different people embody different Roles, and a given Role will be more or less well suited to certain types of job responsibilities. Likewise, different teams perform different types of work activity for which specific Roles may be more or less well suited. The CHI Indicators provide a reliable, replicable means for constructing teams that are both Coherent and well matched (by Role) to the team's functional mission.

The relevance of CHI principles to Leadership Development cannot be underestimated, because even Coherent people will under‐perform if their job responsibilities are a non-fit to their Role. There is no one perfect Role for a specific set of job responsibilities, but only a small range of Roles may be appropriate.

Are teamability results compared against a database?
Not exactly. Unlike personality traits measurement, which is dependent upon quantitative data, Teamability is a qualitative assessment that is validated against actual workplace behavior. Teamability results are generated by an interlocking series of behavioral simulators that interpret responses to team activity scenarios. This unique approach allows the richness of predicted behavior to be described in detail.

What is the turn-around time?
Upon completion of the assessment, the report is instantly available.

What types of reports can be generated and how are the results displayed? How easily?
There are Teamability Reports for management decision-making (M-D) and self-coaching (S-D). They are written in plain language and do not require interpretation.

Are there alternative sources of teamability?
Teamability is based on highly sophisticated proprietary technology. All Teamability results—no matter where or when the test was taken—come from the Teamability reports engine (behavioral simulators and reports generator).

Has the assessment been successfully defended against bias and discrimination?
Not yet. During the nine years in which Teamability has been in commercial use (initially as a paper‐based assessment) no claims of bias or discrimination have ever been filed, so there has never been a situation that required a defense against such claims.

Has the tool been validated as unbiased?
Yes. Throughout all three iterations of its development, Teamability results were examined for evidence of bias (age, race, gender, nationality, culture), and no indication of bias was found. As noted above, no claims of bias have ever been filed, but a detailed examination of the job‐assessment landscape had this to say:

"Personality Tests in Jeopardy: An Evaluation of the Seventh Circuit's Decision in Karraker v. Rent-A-Center and its Implications on the Future Use of Personality Tests in Preemployment Screening" by Jennifer Gonzales-Frisbie, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law, Fall 2006): In comparing The Gabriel Institute's Role-based Assessment™ to ordinary personality and personality/IQ testing, the report states:

"The Role-Based Assessment provides an alternative method of pre-employment screening that does not carry the same risk of violating the ADA*." (p 202)

Comparing the risks of other forms of testing to Teamability:

"Measuring people by what amount of a trait they encompass does not tell you much about who they are and how they work... The problem with other assessments and tests is that they focus on what a subject does not have rather than on what a subject does have... In short, the Role-Based Assessment works to get people into jobs and not into litigation." (p. 204)

"Employers throughout the country should be wary of using personality tests and should evaluate them carefully to confirm that they are used in compliance with the law. Given how unsettled the issue is in the courts, the negative precedent that now stands, and the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of the tests, employers should consider other methods of pre-employment screening. The Role-Based Assessment proves to be a viable alternative. Its technique has not only proven to be successful in the employment process but also in being in compliance with the ADA." (p. 205)
*note: ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act

Using Teamability

How is Teamability accessed? Is it web based?
People who are taking a TGI Teamability access it via standard Web browsers.

How long, from start to finish, does it take on average to complete the Teamability experience?
Teamability is not a timed test, and users may log out and return later. However, job candidates usually do complete the assessment in one 'sitting', and most people who stay online for the duration of their experience will complete it within 45 to 60 minutes.

For the person having an experience, the process is simple. They receive an automatically generated email containing a username and password. A link in the email will take them to the TGI Portal system where they will create their own password and enter the assessment.

How easy/difficult is it to interpret the results of Teamability?
Results are presented in clear, simple, straightforward text reports, typically 6 to 8 pages long. Managers and Executives can easily understand and derive value from a report without the assistance of a consultant or analyst.

Are coaching suggestions included with the reports generated?
Yes. Teamability reports contain material that is very useful for both individual and team coaching, and also for self‐development, motivation, and management decision‐making.

The Management‐directed report (MD‐1) is a concise overview of Coherence, Role, and Teaming Characteristics, including management and coaching recommendations as well as cautionary comments—if any are present. MD‐1 reports are generally not provided to the individual.

The Self‐directed report (SD‐1) is designed to benefit the assessment‐taker, providing a positive experience that enhances the value of working on a team. The report contains links to online resources, such as information on how to respect and successfully interact with team members who have different Roles. Most Teamability users purchase the SD‐ 1 reports for the person who is actually hired (or promoted), for team members engaged in teambuilding initiatives, and as personalized reference material for outplacement packages.

The content of each type of report is derived from responses entered by the person taking the RBA, and thus all reports (both MD‐1 and SD‐1) are comprised of information that is unique to each individual.

What does Teamability measure?
Teamability was designed to measure how a person engages in team interaction. Specifically, this includes whether or not they are inclined to work positively and constructively with others, and in what way(s) they are attracted to serving the needs of a team—for example, envisioning the future vs. executing on immediate objectives vs. helping others.

How is teamability different from personality testing?
Personality testing is focused on the measurement of specific personality factors (traits) of the individual: the person's relative levels of extraversion/introversion, judgment/intuition, and so on. The results of a personality test are expressed as quantitative data, which is compared against data obtained from various populations (such as people in Sales or Executive Management).

In contrast, the Teamability experience was designed to measure and predict how people will interact with other people, and the extent of their attraction to serving the needs of their group. Teamability captures qualitative measurements of behavior as it occurs in the context of team activity, using a form of behavioral simulation.

Both forms of testing are valid, but where personality test results are like X‐ray films— full of compartmentalized detail—a Teamability report is more like a sonogram (ultrasound) video, because it shows how a person will behave when joining and interacting with team members in various situations. The information in Teamability reports is directly aligned with functional, value‐creating activity.

Is it possible to test for values compatibility using Teamability?
Yes. Behaviors result from values put into action, and Teamability results can provide very specific information on the ways in which a person will act upon their values in a team setting.

Is there a proven direct correlation between the assessment results and on the job performance?
Yes, definitely. This is the essence of a qualitative behavior assessment. Throughout the development of Teamability, validation was obtained by comparing Teamability results with direct observation and with observation reports submitted by the Teamability subject's supervisor(s).

Is the tool available in multiple languages?
Yes. Teamability is currently available in U.S. English, Korean, and Portuguese. Spanish and French versions are planned.

Are there team-building applications for this tool?
Yes. Putting a person with high Coherence in a position that fits their Role is a recipe for individual success. Building teams of highly Coherent people—including the right mix of Roles for that team's goals and objectives—is the foundation for Coherent Human Infrastructure, which is a state of productive synergy that can trigger peak performance. TGI has categorized and demonstrated the efficacy of Role Ratios™, which integrate qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating and strengthening an organization's human infrastructure. TGI calls these metrics 'CHI Indicators™' (pronounced 'key' or 'chee' as in 'life‐force'). They include:
  • Role: a person's affinity for specific modes of service to the needs of a team
  • Coherence: expressed as positive, flexible, constructive teaming behaviors
  • Teaming Characteristics: individual styles of responding and relating to others, subject to situational context
  • Role-respect: the unique manner in which people of different Roles experience appreciation and respect
  • Role-pairing: known, replicable synergies between specific Roles
  • Role-fit: an appropriate match between a person's Role and their assigned set of job responsibilities
  • Team-fit: structuring a team to include the Roles that are best‐fit to the team's mission
Through analysis of individual and team strengths and weaknesses, as well as potential opportunities and threats, use of the CHI Indicators will guide realignment or reassignment of team members, stimulate overall team performance, and advance the many benefits of Coherent Human Infrastructure.

Pricing and Discounting

How does the Teamability cost structure work?
The base price is $80.00 per report generated. TGI sells reports—not experiences. If a Teamability experience is assigned but is not completed, there is no charge. Preparing to utilize Teamability is very simple, so there is no set up fee. TGI's pricing schedule incorporates progressive discounting based on total consumption of reports. Discounting is not 'reset' on a periodic basis, so the per‐report price continues to decline over time. The discount can be accelerated through the purchase of quantities of reports. Contact TGI for current pricing.

Is training required to administer the experience? To interpret the assessment? And if so, what are the costs associated with each?
No training is required to supervise the assessment, as it is a self‐directed online experience. Reports describe behavior in context, using straightforward language that requires no interpretation. However, TGI provides a 4‐hour training series (at no cost) to customers who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of the instrument and its use.

Is there a licensing agreement? Is there a commitment required and if so for what duration?
There is no licensing agreement, nor is there a time commitment on the use of RBA. We have found that as people become familiar with RBA reports—and with the business benefits that result from improved team synergy—that customer retention improves over time without the use of contracts, penalties, or incentives.


How is Teamability use assigned and managed?
The online TGI Portal System is accessible via standard Web browsers. It is used by the person(s) responsible for setting up Teamability. The portal enables designated Administrators to assign reports, set preferences, retrieve reports (or have them automatically sent to the designated recipient), and view account status. After a new TGI Portal account has been set up by TGI Client Services, the customer takes control over the assignment of assessments and reports‐delivery preferences. However, the portal's automated functions make the actual assessment process 'hands off' from the customer's point of view.

After the assessment‐taker's basic information has been entered (name, email address, report types needed), the TGI Portal sends email notification containing a login and instructions. Assessments are conducted online on the taker's schedule. No monitoring or proctoring is required.

When the candidate has completed the Teamability experience, the TGI diagnostic engine immediately generates a report. The portal system will then send a notice of completion to the designated Point of Contact (typically someone in an HR or other management position). This notice can either contain the report, or (for tighter security) can advise the POC to enter the TGI Portal and retrieve the report.

Training and Support

Is training/certification required? Offered?
TGI offers a 4‐hour live online introductory training module (two 2‐hour sessions) at no charge. This training is approved by HRCI for recertification credit. The sessions include:
‐ live online training and Teamability user update sessions
‐ telephone support, provided by TGI Client Services personnel
‐ free monthly training and review sessions for Teamability user staff members (typically HR staff)
‐ training materials covering high‐level views of Coherent Human Infrastructure management concepts, and the use of CHI Indicators for team performance improvement
An advanced training series in the application Teamability for Coaching, Teambuilding, and implementation of CHI concepts, will become available January of 2011. This material will also be HCRI‐approved.

What type of technical support is available? Customer service?
TGI's Client Services team is available by phone during normal business hours. However, since the redesigned Teamability user interface was launched (Sept. 2010), the frequency of calls from Teamability users needing help has fallen from nearly 10% to less than 1% of total assessments taken.

The Gabriel Institute: Company Overview

Where is the company located, and if there are other branches, where are they located?
TGI is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is TGI's sole base of operations, with outsourced IT support in New York and India and hosted web services in Virginia, Texas, and Toronto, Ontario.

What top tier companies are currently using Teamability?
Keeping in mind that Teamability became generally available as an online assessment in the second half of 2009, Teamability is only beginning to be recognized in the marketplace. TGI now has over 100 customers in the U.S., with the largest being the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Hewlett Packard, and the State of Montana. Organizations that have sought us out for presentations and product demonstration, and/or have purchase decisions pending, include CVS Drug Stores, PC Connection, State Farm Insurance, Maple Leaf Foods, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. TGI is also in use within organizations based in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Africa, India, Korea, and Brazil.

What other assessment tools are available from TGI?
None. TGI Teamability is a completely new way to predict how people will perform in teams, and TGI is dedicated to the advancement of its use in ways that produce measurable business value. Therefore, it is the only assessment technology that we offer.

What additional offerings are available from TGI?
Our goal is to create self‐sufficient Teamability users who do not need much—if any—ongoing consultative support in using the product. Within a few weeks after receiving TGI's basic certification, most internal staff and/or consultants will become very comfortable with the content and use of Teamability reports.

TGI Consultation services are available upon request for more intensive needs, such as strategic HR decision‐making, or the extensive use of CHI Indicators required for handling a business consolidation or transformation project.

Early in the process of adopting Teamability, TGI and/or TGI's partners can help our customers to design and implement 'pilot projects' in Quality of Hire, Leadership Quality, and Team Performance Improvement. These programs are easily scalable, and are designed to demonstrate measurable business value. Contact TGI for more information.