Business Edge-smart growth strategies-marcia[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]F YOU DON’T KNOW where you’re going, any map will take you there! It’s astounding how many teams lack clarity as to where they’re headed; or if they do, how they are going to get there.

Yes, most managers know it’s important to define and communicate the team’s goals and priorities to the members. But the conversation shouldn’t stop there. They also need to make sure there is clarity and agreement on how the team will function in order to get the work done.

If not, what happens are things like: customer inquiries and complaints aren’t answered; or deadlines aren’t met and the company gets penalized by the client; or disagreements turn into blame games which turns into territory wars. I’m sure you can add your own examples.

So what can a manager do to prevent this? The solution is providing the team with a map that is clear, specific, and communicated regularly. It should contain these:

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Four Essentials for Effective Teamwork

  1. Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities.

Every member needs to know their role or assignment on the team – what they’re responsible for doing. They also need to know how their work contributes to the overall work of the team. Of course, roles need to remain flexible. You don’t want people rigidly adhering to “my job” or exclaiming it’s “not my job!” when others need help. Clarity as to who does what when lessens the common occurrence of things falling through the cracks.

  1. Established Work Processes.

Few teams need or should have a huge notebook full of policies and procedures. But every team needs common agreement about how it does its basic work. A good example is the way decisions are made. Who should be involved? Is it everyone? Or just certain people? Is there standard method for evaluating options? And most importantly, who will have the final say??

Another is internal communication. How will members keep each other informed and how often? Is it through staff meetings or a reporting system or conference calls or some other procedure? Is the expectation that people communicate with each other daily or weekly or on as needs basis?

  1. Widely Known Rules of Engagement.

These are the shared values, norms and expectations, sometimes called team norms culture, that shape the daily give-and-take of team members both live and online. They are the social glue that keeps interactions productive and prevents constructive disagreement from turning personal and dysfunctional. So what are your “rules of behavior” regarding lateness, dress, after hour activities, openness about disagreements, attendance at meetings and a whole host of other things that need to be explicit?

  1. Metrics and Regular Feedback.

What measures of progress, developed how, by whom, and how often, will be used to assess progress in meeting goals? How often will performance reviews of the team as a whole be performed? The advantage of clearly defining how progress will be measured is that members will be able to assess themselves. Your role as manager then becomes guiding the search for solutions rather than convincing members that a problem exists.[/message]

Smart Moves Tip:

The bottom line, according to Stephen Covey is,

when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and how the team will work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive; they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.”

In the teams you lead, have you identified, communicated and reinforced these four essentials of teamwork? If not, your teams will be traveling without a map!

My Motto Is:
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: “Business Edge – Smart Growth Strategies” with a insights, inspiration and intelligence on how to build great businesses that matter – those that do well and do good.

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