Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fixing a Broken Team - Steps 7, 8, 9 and 10

Set the context – where people fit into the company
Most people have no idea why they even come to work.  They’re unclear about their place in the business.   Bring some clarity and certainty to that angle of their thought process.  Be deliberate about why they matter to the organization.    What is the context of their involvement?  Why does their work matter?   You have to sort that out in a simple, yet clear way that resonates with people.  They won’t buy a sales pitch, but they’ll believe someone who can make a strong case for why they exist as a group.   It goes something like this: "Here’s where we fit into the broader scope of the organization." 
Set the vision – where the team can go
Here’s where we can go.  Here’s what we can do.  When setting vision, people will seek something that is credible yet beyond what they have today.   They’ll want to know some of the ‘how will we do that?’ answers.  Let them know they will be involved in the solution. 

Let ‘em know what you’ve done in the past (with a bit of humility!)
People need to know you’re the real thing.  They need to see legitimacy.   Selling them on a few things you’ve done is a good starting point (most likely, they've already done some due diligence of their own to check out your background).  It develops what I call “listening confidence.”  In other words, they’re confident enough in your abilities that they will at least listen.

Set an expectation for excellence
After about two – three weeks into the role, set high expectations for excellence.  You’ve listened to them.  You’re smart enough about the team now.  When you hear, “You have no idea how hard this job is!” you’ll be able to say, “actually, I think I do.”   You can speak with authority about what you’ve learned.  I once had to explain to a team how poorly they were perceived by the rest of the organization.  It was tough news to bring, but it set the table for high expectations.  They knew it was true, but someone had to bring it to the surface.  Two years later, they won the highest award in the organization.

According to Burke & Litwin (1992), “Team members feel effective” (p. 540) when teams have the following characteristics: “the team has role clarity, the team has good relations with other teams, the team manager empowers the team, the team has high standards.”   As a leader, you can make that happen. 

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