It’s straightforward being on a sports team. You know what your position is. You know what is expected. You know who’s with you and who’s against you.
The rules are clear.
In organizations, things are more ambiguous. Often, you’re not entirely clear about your role, the expectations placed on you, the expectations of others, the rules, and what success looks like.
Let me offer a model to check the health of your team and make things clear.
Each section considers the people you serve and those you work with.
Often “teams” are a loose collection of people who happen to work on the same project and often appear more like a conglomerate and less like a single unit.
Simon Sinek would ask, ‘Why.’
In other words, what are we all working to achieve?
If there’s no shared vision, is this even a team?
Two questions you might wrestle with:
Who are we helping?
To successfully serve, you need to know who it is you serve. Savvy marketers create avatars of their ideal customers to make them real.
Who is your team serving?
What dent are we making?
If you get away from the inbox and your calendar for a moment, what is your team to achieve?
What will be different if your team is successful in all they do?
If that’s unclear or just a little bit “meh,” then perhaps there’s work to be done to get clear on the Why.
What’s the data?
Communication has two parts: the data (the facts) and the judgments (our opinions about the facts).
What’s interesting is just how easily we slip from one to the other or how quickly judgments come to resemble facts.
As you make decisions as a team, ask yourselves, “What do we know to be true?”
What do you want?
An essential element of leading teams is understanding wants and needs.
If you find yourself at odds with someone on your team, one of the most powerful things you can do is ask them what they want and share what you need.
First, it’s shocking how hard it can be to articulate what you want.
Second, it’s shocking how quickly that knowledge can clear away what’s superficial and focus the conversation on what matters.
You can’t treat everyone as if they were equally important to the team’s goals and ambitions.
Within your stakeholders, who’s on the A-List? If you could have only five names, who would they be?
I bet that you’re probably underserving your ‘A-List.’ How could you give them the support and service that they deserve?
Who is on the B-List? You are probably over-serving these stakeholders.
How can you scale back here, so you can direct more time and effort to your A-List?
What’s the promise we’re making, and to whom?
Our very first question was, “Who are we helping?”
Now ask, “What’s the promise we’re making to them, and how are we doing delivering on that promise?”
Where are the soft spots?
Where do you need to lift your game?
How can I help?
Ironically one of the ways we break promises is that we over-deliver.
We think we know what’s wanted, so rather than check it out and get clear, we leap in and start doing stuff.
Before you rush in, slow down and clarify how they think you can help them. Ask, “What do you need from me?”
Here is your four-point health check for your team.
The questions may not always be easy to answer, but the answers are vital to your success.
Get clear on the questions, and you will raise your team’s impact, happiness and focus.