Sports team have the weekend game to assess their progress and fine tune their performance process to get the results they hope for. In the corporate world we have a series of role interactions that are largely spent alone. We are individually pushing ahead with our tasks to fulfill our personal goals, and respond to the demands of others, which are often not fully aligned to what will drive performance for the team. As David Covey said, 80% of people in most teams are trying to kick the ball into the wrong goal. My proposition to you Team Leaders is the team Meeting is your chance to lead. This is your one chance every week to get every person aligned and engaged to the team purpose and strategies that will enable your team to grow to the next level.
So how can you do that;
1. High Value Meeting Agenda
Most meetings are considered time wasting and not relevant to people’s personal goals and responsibilities, low value in content and outcomes. Too broad, too long, too boring. So how do you set up your team meeting agenda to be engaging and highly relevant.
Here are some ideas;
Make the meeting about the “one thing” that will drive your team performance and measure it weekly
Set the agenda to the key enablers that will drive that “one thing” and make one person accountable for each to prepare and report on their accountability area.
Set up the tone from the start: If you are not contributing to the team meeting, you are not adding value to the business. If you don’t attend, you are not part of the team. If you are not thinking and planning for the future you will stay in the past.
2. Engage input from the Team
Too often the leader in an effort to push along the agenda for the team and try and ignite a step up from the team, will inadvertently do most of the talking, take on most not the action items and leave the team in “passive” compliant mode which is very unhelpful. The leader’s communication can sometimes generalise into white noise amongst the individuals mental reverie. Your job as the Team Leader is to engage the team into clear outcomes. A good way to do that is to use this tool: Frame, Pull, Push, Conclude. Frame the issue or topic for conversation, Pull out the ideas and thoughts, Push to challenge people or focus the discussion and then Conclude with actions that are owned by individuals in the team. Let other people run their accountability areas and share the hosting of the meeting to let everyone experience the “hot seat”.
3. Catch the Positives
There will be moments when individuals in your team step up and demonstrate behaviours that are really well aligned to what you want to see from others, or demonstrate really positive progress for that person. Progress is such a positive boost to motivation! Stories are one of the best ways to inspire people. Make a point to share a story yourself, ask the team for good examples that can be shared. Even if your starting point is 3/10, catch the moments to propel the team forward. Connect the situation to the behaviour and then to it’s impact to the team. Get the team excited about the progress.
4. Shine the light on the metrics
A great way to establish accountability in a team is to report weekly on the progress to the agreed high performance factors. We all sometimes have different ways to get to the try line, but if people are not reaching the try line and not completing the agreed high performance factors then they may as well not be on the field. Hold people accountable to what is required to be successful. No excuses!
5. Support your Leaders
In a high performing team, members keep each other accountable. When someone jumps in to give another some well needed feedback sit back and smile to yourself and express your appreciation to them afterwards. If someone is raising a challenging issue and other members respond defensively, this is a Leadership Moment. Make the team aware of what is happening, force them to listen and consider the issue and congratulate the person for bringing it up.
Part of embracing your identity as a leader is to own your role as Leader of the Team. The Team Meeting is your game day. Prepare well, be clear on your own intent and brand as a leader and then ensure there is accountability to agreed actions. What will be done by whom, when? The next week, next 30 days, next 60 days, next 90 days. Hold yourself accountable to tracking yourself and others to the agreed structure – a sure fire way to make progress and propel the team towards the next “One Thing”.
Peter Nankervis is Managing Director of Lighthouse, a leadership strategy and training specialist firm. He develops Leaders and Teams to grow businesses profitably. Peter can be contacted at email@example.com