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Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Food For Thought, Key Skills, Managing People | 0 comments

10 Tips To Evolve Your Team To Greatness

10 Tips To Evolve Your Team To Greatness

 

So you hired the right people and you are managing them like a champ. Now you want to take the team to the next level. You want to develop the team to be better than it was the year before.

Here are 10 tips to to help you along the way:

1- Curate and Orchestrate: Attract people that compliment each other to achieve great things. How you ask. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner gives five tools (or skills or abilities… whatever rocks your boat):

(1) Vision to see what the future will have

(2) Product sensibility to devise a solution for customers that works

(3) Business acumen to build a business model that works

(4) Leadership to communicate the plan and attract the right people

(5) Resourcefulness to get things done

Take a look at your team, including yourself, to ensure your have these five abilities. Add or train people to fill in missing abilities. Orchestrate your team so each can deliver his/her ability effectively (i.e. unleash people who get stuff done on execution, visionary people in brainstorming, etc).

2- Train and Develop: Its up to you to train each individual to grow as a professional and deliver better results. The onus is on each individual to do the legwork to actively learn and apply it to their work. This learning can be on the job (through experience, shadowing you, etc) or through training sessions. Remember to train people for their next step before they get there.

3- Involve Them: You will face a lot of challenges and obstacles on your way. I experienced great results when I involved my team in the process of addressing these issues. One way I did that was to frame the issue clearly and briefly, formed groups of four people, gave them time to discuss, gave each group five minutes (uninterrupted) to share their solutions with everyone, put everything together and filtered it into the best solution. Its amazing how much energy this exercise released from everyone. They had a clearer understanding of the issues, felt more involved, and had more buy-in during implementation. I also assembled a follow-on team of people who get things done (see tip #1 above) to workout the details.

“The sky is the limit” by Lara Zankhoul

4- Let Them Breath: Everyone has to deliver results. At the same time, they should be able to take a breather and like where they work. Celebrate success (individual and team success). Connect with people on a personal level and get to know them. Some people have limits on how much of their personal life they share at work, but you can still connect with people as individuals. Smile, crack a few jokes, and/or talk about their hobbies. I had a game of hiding or placing people’s stuffed animals in the office. I also discovered for example one person who had a passion and talent for photography. I still follow her work and she follows my blog (Hi Lara:D).

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

5- Hands On/Off: Running your business is like flying an airplane. If you are on your way to your destination and everything is working the way it should, hand over to the co-pilot. However if plane is losing altitude, it’s time to take over and steer the plane back on track.

6- Don’t Do Their Work: First-time managers often make the mistake of doing their team’s work. When a team member tells you “I have this problem, how do I solve it“, it’s tempting to solve the problem yourself. It takes less time and you’re sure you will do it right. The problem is that you are doing their work they were hired to do, which takes you away from your work. Instead, expect your team to bring you a solution, or better yet, options with a recommendation. The mistake so common that William Oncken’s “Who’s got the monkey” article is a HBR classic.

7- Hold Them Accountable: When someone has a something to deliver to you, go to him/her if it’s not delivered by it’s due date. Tell them if they deliver something poor. They might hate you at the moment, but you are actually doing them a favour because you are helping them improve as professionals. Just make sure when you hold someone accountable that they actually have control to do it.

8- Clean House Regularly: Quickly get rid of vampire employees that suck energy out of the team by complaining without solutions. I always told my team to bring a solution with any complaint they brought up. If anyone tries to twist your arm (e.g. give me X or I will resign), get rid of him/her as soon as you can. Replace under-performers, especially if its due to lack of effort. Some companies like Booz & Co have an up-or-out for their annual reviews. Others like the famous Jack Welch fired the bottom 10% of his company’s managers. You don’t have to be as drastic, but you should clean house regularly.

9- Build a Talent Pipeline: Alway have someone who can take over any position at any point. That way, if someone leaves, work continues with limited disruption. More importantly, you will be able to promote key people and have a smooth transition.

10- Review and Refine: Almost all mistakes can be traced back to a flaw in your system. Toyota’s famous production system has a process of asking “why” five times every time a mistake happens to reveal the root cause for the mistake. Find the root causes for your recurring issues and refine your system to eliminate it.

Share your experience. What works for you?

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