As the New Year approaches, many teams envision a better 2012. However, hopes and dreams require purposeful actions in order to become reality. Following are a few ideas that will help any team improve their performance in 2012.
Clarify Purpose – I’ve worked with a lot of teams over the last 30 years. The best teams I’ve seen have always known why they exist. This is not a question for the leader alone – this is a question for the entire team. You want everyone to know: Why are we here?
Recruit Talent – The best teams don’t settle when it comes to people. They are always looking for talented people to join the team. When they lose a member of the team, they may mourn for a moment – then they ask, “How can we find a replacement that helps us be better as a team?”
Establish Goals – There’s an old saying that seems to fit here, “A problem well-defined is half solved.” Great teams understand the power of well-chosen goals. An aggressive performance challenge is essential to bring out the best in a team.
Clarify Roles – Are roles on the team clear? Who are the subject matter experts? What does the leader do? What does the team do? The absence of role clarity is often the root cause for underachievement. Here’s a 4-minute video outlining one way to assign the key responsibilities on the team.
Build Skills – For a team to be great, there are two types of skills needed: individual and team. The best leaders help develop both. The individual skills are those required for your team members to accomplish their specific, functional role. Team skills are things like problem solving, conflict resolution, effective meetings, etc. In 2012, create a plan to help your team address any skill gaps you identify.
Improve Meetings – Meetings are the forums in which teams do their work. Unfortunately, most meetings are not well run. Poor meetings limit the impact of any team. When done right, meetings will be a catalyst for improved performance. I’ll write more about this in the next few weeks.
Strengthen Community – This is the turbo charger for team performance. Community alone is no substitute for talented, skilled people pursing worthwhile performance goals. However, once established, it will enable a team to accomplish more than they ever imagined.
I believe 2012 can be the best year yet for your team!