Have you ever been on a team that was stuck? I have – it’s no fun. However, it can happen, whether you’re playing on a recreation league softball team, serving a non-profit organization, or working on a team at the office. Today’s question is: How do you get your team unstuck?
If your team is stuck, I can't offer you a quick solution; however, the best place to start is to diagnose the problem. Here are ten most common issues I've seen over the years that prevent teams from realizing their potential.
1. Lack of leadership – You should have seen this one coming. No team drifts to greatness. Creating a team is a leadership decision. Staying the course and practicing the disciplines needed to excel is the leader's responsibility, at least in the beginning. Great teams are well led.
2. Wrong players – Sometimes a team can’t win because the team doesn’t have the right players. If you want to play baseball, you need people who can play the positions. In the workplace, you have key postions as well. If you don’t have men and women who can field their role, you will get stuck.
3. Unclear goals – Teams exist to accomplish something. Unfortunately, I’ve met many teams over the years that have no idea what they are trying to accomplish. A team without clear goals is like an archer without a target or a NASCAR driver without a finish line. Without a goal, you’re not only stuck, you’re wasting time, energy and opportunity.
4. Lack of focus on performance – Once a team has clear goals they need to focus on reaching those goals. A good rule of thumb is for a team to invest 75% of their time together focused on improving performance. Look at your last four meeting agendas; what percentage of your time was invested on performance improvement?
5. Poor decision-making practices – Teams have at least four options every time they encounter a decision to be made. I’ve written about this previously in a post entitled, 5 Minutes to Better Decision Making. The problem I see most often in this arena is one of two things. Either the leader believes he or she should make all the decisions, or the team believes every decision should be a consensus decision. Both of these views will not only get you stuck, it will kill your team.
When I started this post, I was fearful it would require more than my traditional 500-word post. I was correct. If you want to see the next five obstacles that can derail your team, please check back next Friday.[GLS_Shield]