Dan has a top-performing team in his company. He intentionally put them together to represent a range of diversity in age, abilities, experiences, and points of view. It was a bit rocky at first as they learned how to work together. Now, they have been directly responsible for some top initiatives that have defined the company’s direction.
Robert put together a team of top talent in his department. He gave them an overview of the project, then stepped back and let them “do their thing.” There was a lot of promise in the team, but the progress is discouraging. He’s not sure why they aren’t moving forward and is at the point of dismantling the team. What a disappointment.
As Robert learned, just putting great people together doesn’t always create a successful team. Dan’s team was successful because he set them up to have great impact by asking, and answering, the following questions:
Who is in charge of the team? Make sure each player, employee, team member understands who is ultimately in charge of the team and will be accountable for ensuring the work is completed on time, successfully. If team members are confused about who is leading the team, it can create friction, communication breakdown, and reduce or stop progress toward the team’s goal. Sometimes the Impactful Leader assigns a team lead, and other times the team lead can be determined by the team members. The critical point is that all team members are on board with the decision.
To whom does the team/team leader report? We all work better if we are confident in our roles. If everyone understands who reports to whom, the communication process will flow easier because everyone will be on the same page. This also streamlines the system of reporting progress inside the team, and to stakeholders outside the team.
What outcomes are expected? What is the end result expected for the project? Is it a product launch, a trial run, brainstormed ideas, research to support an initiative? Having a target keeps teams on track and headed in the same direction.
What constitutes success? Everyone has a different definition of success. Outlining what it means for a project to be successful should be incorporated into the team’s first meeting. When that is defined, it is easier for the team to work toward the agreed upon goal.
What is the due date for completion? Even if you have everything else in place, it will all be for not if the team doesn’t know the deadline. When everyone is clear on when the project needs to be completed, they can better plan the timeline for their tasks.
How will the group communicate? Great teams decide together what and how work will be done. Often, the work of the individual members is dependent on the completion of tasks by other members. It’s important for the group to decide how they will communicate with each other. Does the communication need to be in writing to keep everyone apprised of progress, can members work together individually and report as the team meets?
Which team member is responsible for what portion of work? This is critical. Without clear roles and assignments assumptions can be made about the work to be done, leaving details that go unnoticed. That can result in a breakdown of collaboration which reduces the effectiveness of the team.
How will the team’s work be monitored? It’s one thing to tell people that they will be held accountable for a specific portion of the project. It’s another to tell them HOW they will be held accountable. Whether it’s a weekly in-person update on their task or an e-share program where each member inputs their updates, ALL team members need to know where and how their progress will be reviewed. The best way to do this is to get input from the team and stakeholders about how the team should be held accountable.
What are the checkpoints to ensure everything is on target? It’s easy to look at the overall due date for a project, forgetting that each piece has a due date that affects other team members. Plot out the checkpoints for the individual tasks to ensure team members have specific due dates for their tasks. Use project management software to ensure everyone stays informed.
How should outcomes be reported? Impactful Leaders ensure there is transparency in reporting outcomes. What information is expected? What specific numbers should be included? Is a presentation expected? For whom? Define who will see the outcomes, how they will be shared, with whom, and by whom. This will ensure team members report efficiently and completely.
How will decisions be made if there is disagreement? There are bound to be disagreements in any project that involves a team. An impactful leader ensures everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions. Put a process in place for making final decisions that everyone on the team understands.
Great leaders have a positive impact on their teams. Great teams impact the company’s bottom line. If you need help putting the I (impact) in your team, contact Joy today!