Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eight steps to improving your team's performance

As it's early in the year and many of us have had to commit to goals raising our team's performance. Do you have a plan how you're going to achieve this? Try this simple approach and see how it works for your team and its ability to meeting the new and higher goals.

Step one stand back from the team and identify who your best performers are. Now also categorise those members you consider average and those who are weakest. We will work with these three groups to derive our improvement goals.

Step two identify the four top jobs that need the most performance improvement. Look at each of these jobs and develop four questions you can ask to develop a good understanding of how each person does this series of tasks.

At this stage you should have developed a matrix with four job tasks, and corersponding four questions for each task to gauge the performance, skill, knowledge, attitude and actions that each member takes to complete these tasks.

Step three Armed with these questions spend some time with your top performers and ask them your questions. After you have visited each of your top preformers, look through their answers and group them around common themes. I expect you will get quite a few similarities in their responses. You now have a good reference for what your best workers do to achieve their goals.

Step four talk with your average and poorer performers and gain their insight on how they do these same tasks. Again I'm sure you will get plenty of answers and odds-on some will be quite similar.

Step five analyse the two sets of responses and identify the gaps. It is critical to not jump to a solution at this stage and just look at the data your team has given you.

Step six identify the four biggest gaps between the groups of performers.

Step seven now you have the gaps, group these if possible. Work out a plan to bridge the gaps, some will need formal training, some will need mentoring, some may just need to be shown the big picture. Arrange pee rworkshops where your best performers can share their winning ways with the rest of the team. Next tackle and gaps you can personally address and lastly look to the formal training. Given the current market conditions, this could be a tough ask, so see what you can address within the team.

Step eight work out a mechanism to guage the improvement in your teams performance. Be sure to test this in a short-term and also for the longer term, this will show you the effectiveness of your performance improvement actions.

Give it a try and see how your team responds.

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