Get Greater Team Performance
Ever had that deja vu feeling at meetings? Discussing the same issues again and again with no further progress? Plans being made, people talking the talk, but people not following through with the required actions? Does it frustrate you? Even if you are not leading the meeting this short article can help you.
Meetings are essential to coordinate the efforts of a team, but keep in mind, the “less is more” principle applies. Ideally, there would as few meetings as possible and they would be as brief as possible.
What really matters is the accountability that follows. Will people actually do anything as a results of the meeting? Or as I have had the misfortune to witness, are people allowed to spend time excusing non-completion of assigned tasks or distracting on to other topics? Some keys to success with accountability and thus high performance culture are:
Set Clear Goals and Make Priorities Clear
Goals given to team members should be specific, objective and measurable. It is then clear to each party to what extent a goal has or has not been achieved. Clear priorities ensure that the most valuable/important tasks are completed first versus what the team member finds easiest or most enjoyable. It also removes emotion from the equation, meaning you and the team member can feel one in working towards your goals.
Part of communicating goals to team members is getting their full agreement that they know what is expected of them. More importantly, do they believe it is reasonable and possible for them to deliver the outcome requested by the date required? Without their buy-in, it’s unlikely that you’ll engage their discretionary effort.
Demand Regular Feedback
In order for team members to be accountable they must have the information they need to know how they are performing in relation to their goals. This feedback must be updated regularly, highly visible and easy to understand so team members can quickly and easily modify their efforts to achieve their agreed goals. This feedback is ideally from the team member to the leader, i.e. the team member takes ownership of it. Feedback should cover critical key performance indicators selected whether they be statistics of “results” achieved or the “drivers” leading to results. For example, sales made is a “result” and outside of our direct control for any one given sales appointment, whereas its “driver”, sales appointments, is within our control. The key is that the relationship between drivers and results is not linear, there is variability and thus knowing both metrics assists with the next step.
Coach and Mentor Team Members
Successful businesses regularly coach their team members, offering support and assistance towards great performance and achieving their goals. Great metrics on a regular basis allow support to be directed where it is most required, helping refine and develop team member skillsets. Consider a sports team. They know metrics for each aspect of their game, i.e. tackles made, turnovers, line outs, etc. Coaches use these metrics to help the team members develop various aspects of their game. This develops the working relationship and the net effect is work becomes more enjoyable and rewarding for team members as performance increases. Feedback is not a stick to beat team members with. It is a tool to facilitate your support of them and they must understand it as such.
When team members do a great job, it’s important to let them know you are not only aware of it, but that you appreciate it. People love to know they are valued, so praise people for good work and give lots of positive reinforcement. It is also important that when team members are underperforming that you let them know that you expect improvements. Work with each individual team member to help them achieve their goals. The “firm and fair” principle applies. You need the result and you are willing to help them get it.
Once you have set the expectation of accountability within your team, and been consistent with it for some time, it will become the new “norm”. There may be initial resistance, so gently coach your team until they embrace it.
If you’d like assistance in learning how you can create a culture of accountability in your workplace, please email Mike or contact him on (03) 329 4647. Mike can help you implement strategies specific to your workplace to help you gain the results you want to achieve, as well as teaching you how to give feedback, coach and mentor in a way that will really help you get the best out of your team members.
Author: Mike Catton. Follow Mike on Facebook and Linked In, or check out his profile on Google+.