Saturday, November 27, 2010

Prepare your team for the New year

As the year draws to a close many leaders are busy tying up the loose end for the current year. However if you're a pro-active leader you should also be focusing on the year coming up.

Lots of people leave their goal setting for the start of the year, however now is the time for you to consider some major goals for next year.

How can we take the best of our goals this year help them to drive our future goals.

What are the best three things that your team can achieve next year? How would these goals take momentum from this years work. It is important to isolate any work or goals that can help to take a run-up and enter in full stride for the new year.

Now that you have taken stock of goals that can drive your next years results, you need to check  which team members are most influential in this work.

Each time you meet with your team members you need to congratulate them on their great work this year and then take the initiative and explain how their current goals can flow into a big result for next year.

As team leaders it's important for us to identify and keep our team momentum, this way we avoid the roller-coaster effort and corresponding results.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Help your team finish the year on a high

Only a few weeks to go and we'll close the books, performance and all other measurables for the year. So what should we do to get our team in the best possible position. Hopefully we have all been keeping an eye on our team members and how their performance is going. Now is the time to take quick action to get over the line in the best shape.

Do a quick review on each members goals for the year and note which goals look comfortable and which are just below par. Take a moment to explore each of the areas that are below the expected performance and choose the one that has the best chance of success if  tackled with some extra effort over this last month.

For all our members look at the task/goal we think we can rescue. Examine why you think this goal is looking behind schedule, is it something they can control? If you stepped in could this come back on track?  The best option is for corrective action your team member can take as they will gain knowledge and confidence if they can work through it themselves. How ever if it takes some intervention from you that is OK. Afterall the team performance is hightened by each member contributing as many of their goals as possible.

Next time you have a short meeting with each member, firstly have them explain how they think each of their goals are coming along. They may or may not be aware of any slipping goals. This is where your homework will pay-off. Now it's time for you to gently appraise their efforts and work with them to come up with a rescue plan. The more you can have them contribute ideas for the rescue plan the more they will feel ownership and inspired to get it done before the year ends.  Be open about your thinking and be honest about how you can help.

It's our job as leaders to monitor our teams' performance and provide guidance and assistance where we can. By practicing this we'll be making our team stronger and more productive.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Provide strategic direction to your team

It's great that we have our team together and through our continual coaching and feedback, things are working well. One of the challenges we face  to move the team forward is to keep our team in the picture, the big  picture!

Where do we want our team to be in one year, and five years? The main theme for us is to provide constant guidance in the form of our strategic vision. How do we see the team in the medium and long term. What do we want our customers to think over that period of time. Will we have grown  in statue and capabilities?

As leaders it's our task to ensure that each member of your team knows what the strategic plan is. Why you may ask? What if they're in a customer meeting and the customer is calling for some changes in one area or another, if your team members know where you want to take the team, this gives them the opportunity to introduce changes to take the team one step at a time to realise these changes. what's more if the team members are part of introducing this change they will have a much stronger sense of ownership.

Strategy for us is all about the long term and how to get there. To make this effective we need to know this like the back of our hand. Where do we want to be, what steps need to be taken, who in the team needs to grow and in what ways. Once we have this sorted in our head, break each of these ideas down to your elevator pitch. Explain each of these points in a thirty second burst, practice them.

 Now you have the picths in your head you need to deliver them to your team so everyone knows where the team as  whole is going and what role each will play. This will add depth to your team as not only can they do their work well today, but they can keep an eye out for opportunities to fulfill the teams future.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Delegate the right way

Team leaders are often called upon to delegate tasks to their team members, and this is a practice you should get into the habit of doing. To achieve the best performance from your team it is important to do this the right way. Many people think that telling somebody to do a job is delegating and in the crudest sense they're right however if that's your style then you are missing out on quite a bit.

When we delegate a job we need to ensure we explain what the job is, what the performance criteria is, when it needs to be done by and when and who to report progress too. Miss any pieces of this puzzle and your delegation can easily go astray.

Next time you are about to delegate a task be sure to stop a minute and get a clear picture of all the aspects. Then take a careful note, explain what the job entails - any aspects that must be adhered too, how the job success is measured and the standard the job must be at. Next outline the time-frames the job must meet, maybe it has to start at a particular time, perhaps you cannot start until a special time or event and when the job must be completed. Lastly and this is the one most people forget, who needs to be informed of the progress and completion of this job. Without the reporting aspect you as the leader wont know if the job is done, neither will anyone else who needs to know, so be sure to add in the component of providing reports or status update along with the task.

Follow these simple steps and delegation will become an effective way for you to get more done in a timely and complete manner and improve the overall team performance.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coaching for 4th quarter performance

With Q3 finished we need to take a quick stock of our team and see how we are set up for the fourth quarter ride home to finish out the year.

Here's a quick strategy to  put into action to make sure your team finishes on a high note for this year.

Take a pen and paper and list all your team members, then make a grid  of one to five, this grid will later represent our goals for each of our team members. Take a few moment to appraise each team member and how they are progressing for each of their goals. Rate them one through five.

Now look through your simple matrix and identify all the ones and circle them, these represent our biggest issues  with each member. Any one have more than one one??  Then he is your primary coaching target, place a one next to his row. Similarly work through the team. At the end of this process you will have a list of who needs to be coached quickly to bring back on track all the way through to the members who are going along great.

Schedule some one on one time with each member starting with the person who scored poorest.
Take them aside, identify what they're doing well and give some feedback in a constructive manner on areas they can improve, especially look at their behaviours and those they can address. Be sure to keep the discussion positive, after all we have a few months of performance to go  to get ourself setup to finish the year on a strong note.

As the leaders of the team it's our duty to steer the team to success, by taking some positive coaching action now.  This way we can be sure our team will meet their goals and finish the year in a strong position.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Team stressed - release the pressure

How is your team feeling?  Full of beans, or a little drained? One of our important tasks is to constantly monitor the health of our team members and step in and take action if needed.

Commonly when your team has been running hard for an extended time is the development of stress. If  you can identify stress early and take some remedial action, then your team will be better for it.

Many leaders think this is a difficult task, at the end of the day just keep your eyes and ears open and you'll see and hear the signs. Team members telling you they can't make deadlines, members hesitate to take on any extra activities and general legarthy.

So what to do?  If you catch it early perhaps its simple, take the team for a dinner or lunch,  if they've been putting in some long hours then maybe bringing the partners along can achieve.  Involving the partners often helps achieve some extra things, it shows the partners  that you work with normal people, plus the partners  get to too also share their feelings.

In this environment  it  is important for you to publicly thank everyone and their contributions.

If things have got further on then it is time for you to either add resources to the team to lighten the load or prioritise the work your team is doing to make it more manageable.

As team leaders  it's our job to keep on top of the feelings within our team and take actions to keep them at a good level so we can continue to meet the challenges everyday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Introduce coaching into your leadership

One of the skills you should spend some time developing, is the ability to coach your team members. We've spoke over time about the requirement to allocate time with each of your team members and provide them some personal  feedback about their performance. lots of the pro's will tell you this is only half of the story, as feedback is usually focused on what's happened.

If you can introduce some of the aspects of coaching you'll be able to subtly move members of your team forward and promote the team efforts.

In its basic form the role of coach is to direct the members. The best way to do this is to ask open ended questions about the tasks ahead, then further to these, use probing questions to have each member think through the possibilities and possible outcomes.

Just as a sports coach coaches from the side-line or during the breaks it's important to remember it's our team members out there playing the game that need to make their decisions, so our role is to help them see the possibilities and be prepared for the twists and changes that are likely to happen.

Take a chance and see if you can add some coaching into your team and see how it goes, I'd be very surprised if you don't see a positive outcome especially in each members attitude.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keeping your team on track

Regular updates with your team are a habit you need to excel at. By taking some time out every one or two weeks for a short catch up will allow you to stay in touch with each team member and to gauge how well the team is performing.

Take time to find a quiet place away from the actual work floor and develop a casual chat about what's going on with the team. Don't allow this to turn into a complaints session, just get a feel for how things are going.
Ask open questions about the major tasks are coming along. Listen carefully for any clues about issues that are blocking the successful completion of theses jobs. Make sure you are clear if there is some way you can assist or contribute anything towards improving the quality or outcome of these tasks.

Take a little time to explain what you are doing and how this contributes to the big picture. Most people are happy when they are busy doing their thing and they see their leaders busy supporting the overall goals. 

By taking this positive action our team members will feel they belong to an inclusive workplace and will see that someone cares and appreciates the contribution they make. The benefits to us is that we get regular feedback on the team performance, so we should not get any surprises about the progress of the team goals.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How to conduct a mid-year review

Now as June is well on the way, it's time to consider our mid-year reviews. Our teams will work at their best when we keep them on track to fulfill their goals and drive our dream performance.

Where to start, I find the best way to do this is to take the members goals and run a quick SWOT over the ideas. Which goals are on track, which ones have fallen by the way-side.
Rate each goal, is this looking to be complete in a strong and successful manner?, Check each goal to see if there are any weaknesses showing through, is the content up to standard, is this goal going to make it by the end of the year. Take a look at each goal  have new opportunities presented themselves - maybe to stretch this goal. Are there any threats to any of the goals. What would be the impact  if this goal is not met?

Now that  you have an appreciation of the team member and where they sit with this goal, it's time to set some quiet time with the member and work through it. Be sure to give your member some time and advise them that you wish go through their goals.

Arrange a quiet place and make sure there will be no interruption. Firstly ask the member how they think their overall performance is going.  Be sure to carefully listen and DO NOT interrupt. Now ask the member the go through each goal and critically assess their own performance, ask what's going well and what are you struggling with? Again be sure to listen carefully and again Do NOT interrupt.

Now it's time to stop and way up your own appreciation and what your team member has said. Be sure to identify all the areas that you agree the goals are on track, be sure to praise any great work that has been done to date. If there are any areas that are behind, quickly asses these and choose only three that have the potential for the best gain and suggest these are lagging and one or two things that may bring them back on track. ask some questions to ensure your team member is clear what you are proposing.

As the team leaders it is up to us to lead by taking a careful and measured approach to evaluating our mid-year performance of our team members we can ensure our team is producing great work and achieving the goals for the year.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Leaders and succession

Do you have a succession plan?  Have you chosen someone to replace you?  Have you had them trained up so they could step into your shoes tomorrow?
If not then maybe today is the day to start pulling a plan together.

Take a look at the roles within your team and categorise them, as critical or normal. You can easily judge this if you consider what the disruption would be if they left the team abruptly. Would it be a case of just filling a head? Perhaps hiring a temp while waiting for the usual process to recruit a new team member.  If this is not the case and the team would struggle without this person then you need to mark them as critical.

Now we have sorted the team members out, we need to evaluate, who might be capable to upgrade their skills with some coaching to take over the role. This is worth taking some time over to get the best fit you can.

What is the probable cost to conduct some upgrade training to each of these people, be sure to include their loss of productivity in addition to the obvious things such as travel and course fees if they apply.

Next look at the cost in lost productivity to the team if one of the current critical member left.  This will produce a delta  of the lost cost versus the upgrade costs. this is the cost we must bear to ensure our productivity remains high and our customers are provided with a constant good level of service.

By having a succession plan in place we can ensure our team will be minimally impacted if any member was to up and leave. The team will be comforted that there are people ready to take over and provide the necessary ongoing stewardship to our team.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Leading Virtual teams is a new expanded challenge

It is becoming increasingly more likely that you will be called on to lead a virtual team (if you haven't already). The question on most peoples' mind when this comes up "Is this different to how I lead my team today?". the answer is yes!

 Leading virtual teams is quite a new challenge that builds further on you team leading skills. Many of the subtle things you do today tomaintai and lead you team are not available to you when your team is virtual. For example, you cant catch-up and the water fountain and ask someone how their day is going and a casual update on the project. Furthermore you cannot get any of the body language of your members - where we would typically be able to tell when someone is upset or not committed to an idea.

Firstly you need to develop some close personal  association so that you can talk about other aspects apart from the team's job, this way when you speak to them on the phone  you will be better able to judge their mood and acceptance of the ideas flowing.

Secondly  when you meet ( usually phone conference or email) take extra care to make sure every person has an opportunity to express their opinion - for better or worse. Work out a strategy to keep the conversation on track and be careful of those people who try to dominate the conversation.

Thirdly, while it is good practice to follow an agenda  it is crucial you stick to it and that as each item is closed, you have appointed someone to take the relevant action and you have defined the time for updates and completion. At the completion  of the meeting have each member go through the list of items that they will be working on and how much will be completed by the next meeting.

Note: If your virtual team is to be working together for some time, you should look for an opportunity to get the team together, this may cost a bit to do, however the result will bond you team in a much tighter way. If this is totally out of the question, try for a teleconference so at the very least everyone gets to put a face to the name.

As the team leaders of today we need to look at how we can expand our capabilities to lead virtual teams to achieve the companies goals.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inclusiveness the way to stengthen your team

Do you make all your team members feel special? Sometimes the act of treating your members specially can pay off big because they feel more attached and committed to the team.

While travelling recently I was introduced to a local company and the manager took me for a tour of their facility. As we visited each section he took the time to introduce me to all his team members. It was plainly evident that these members felt special as their leader had taken the time to introduce each person and explain what they did for the team. As each person was introduced he had each person tell me how they could help me during my short visit.

Our leadership training would tell us that inclusiveness is a fundamental requirement for each of us to feel happy within the team that we operate in. What was happening here was the local manager was putting this into practice, his team was made to feel they belonged, because as someone came to meet him and visit the company, then everyone got to be part of that experience.

While this seems a straightforward approach of being inclusive to the team members it gave each team member an opportunity to show what part they played in the ongoing operations of the company. Later when talking with some of the individuals it was quite evident that they each enjoyed their leaders way of managing the team and the fact that he gave them responsibilities and allowed them time to talk and explain how they fitted into the team.

I think as the leaders of our teams and with a little thought we can easily adopt this strategy when we have visitors, by taking our time to move through the team and have personal introductions. At the end of the day it doesn't take much time and everyone feels they are contributing to the visitors success while with the team.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Use a mentor to improve your Decision making

As team leaders we need to make decisions everyday. These decisions are usually pretty straight forward and of a tactical or short-term nature. The main focus of these decisions is to keep the team active in their pursuit of the team goals.

Consider when it's time to make some decisions that affect the long term direction of the team and its' goals. This is when you need to adopt a different approach so that the decision is the best one you can make.

Try this simple strategy to improve your decision making.

Firstly take  a good look at the choices and map out the following:

Create three choices based on the information you can find about the problem you're facing.
Consider the short-term , medium term and long-term future based on the information you have for each of your options.
Consider the impact to the team for each of the options, this needs to include, their capabilities, their change management requirements, level of skills, capacity to take on the tasks, time to move to the new system etc.
Consider the financial impact to the team and any individuals the options may present.
What is the likely time-frame to adopt each option?

Armed with this exploratory information  it's time to seek out your mentor. Arrange a coffee, lunch or a convenient time to meet.

Outline the proposal to your mentor and detail the options you have considered. Ask them for their opinion on the option with the best chance of success. Listen carefully the chances are because they are not as intimate with the problem and its options they will come up with the new considerations or even a totally new option.

The value of using your mentor to help with these type of decisions is that, you'll get a more even and balanced approach to the strategic direction you move your team.

As the leaders of our team it can be exciting to move in new directions and when we carefully weigh the options we can move to a higher level of production and improve the performance of our teams. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Improving your skills as a leader

If you've followed my journey you will see the year is well and truly on the way with our first priorities to get our team sorted out with their goals and development. This shouldn't stop now, if things are going to plan we should spend a some time doing a quick SWAT and determining what is it that I as the leader of this team need to do to develop and improve my leadership skills.

I try to set myself a goal each quarter to read one good book about leadership. If you concentrate on the content and look for ways it could apply to your workplace and your team, there are always tricks and tips you can see to apply yourself and improve some aspect of your leadership. I've read a couple of John Maxwell books and always come away with some ideas to apply to my team.

This book is not too long yet still filled with some solid content. I found when I read the book some ideas jumped straight out at me, yet I was very surprised that later on when I reflected on some things that had not gone particularly well, some words of wisdom came back to me for consideration on how I might handle the situation better next time.

Sometimes we are so caught up in doing what we need to do on a daily basis we stop making the time to develop some aspect of ourself that we can apply into the future.

It is very important we as the leaders of the team ensure that not only is the team blossoming  but also that we are moving to a better state within our own capabilities and skills. As we move forward with our team we all benefit and our team is better postioned to an even greater job into the future.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Develop your team

As Q1 fades into the sunset, what's the next step we should be looking at? Now with the year well and truly underway and things moving along, it's time to take a look at who in our team needs to undertake some development. One of the principal tasks of a good leader is to look at ways to develop our teams.

Who to choose and how to implement? Try this basic process.

Look at your business and its processes are there any gaping holes that you keep filling with contractors? Are their members in your team who want to do something different? These are the two main drivers. Perhaps you can have a win-win situation is there a team member who wants to move to another task and they have the skills to plug the teams capabilities.

Take the teams capabilities and write a task list for "Someone" that would solve the teams capabilities. This will give us two things: firstly it will tell us what the end result needs to be; secondly it will give us a way to identify the knowledge and skills gaps in the new person.

So run the process and it will help us to see what we would need to do to bridge the gap. Look at the person who is interested in upgrading to this new position and develop the necessary competencies.

Next it's time to sit down the person and have a heart to heart, help them to identify the upskilling and what effort would be required. Be honest and see if they will come on board, if they do then you will have killed two birds with one stone. You will have given the team member an opportunity for growth and will enhance your teams capability.

One of the highlights for a leader is to see our team develop and improve the productivity and capabilities of our team.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Counsel for Better Performance

With the first quarter almost up, it's time for some action to get our team finely focused on getting to top performance.
Recently we spoke of checking out each members goal and seeing if anyone was falling behind. Well that's the easy part. Now for the tough stuff how do we counsel them to bring them back on track and alignment with our yearly goals.

Try this simple plan to sharpen up your ability to provide meaningful counselling to a team member who is falling behind.

Step one. Go back and assess the goals. Are they still relevant? Are they still possible? Do they have all the right resources? This will help us to understand what is the root cause.

Step two. Come up with a plan to get back on track. Do they need more resources? Is there something they are not doing right and you know how to do it better? Formulate a simple plan to get back on track.

Step three. Sit down with the person who owns these goals, and work through the following:

1. Ask them to rate their performance. What is going well and what areas are they feeling they need to improve on. Listen carefully and make notes where they agree or disagree with your assessment and your corrective path. Do not interrupt and let them go through their whole self-assessment.

2. Open you discussion by telling them what aspects they are doing well, be sure to show you agree with them if they mentioned this during their discussion. This will make them feel you are appreciating what they are doing and noticing the things that are coming along.

3. Next you need to point out two or three but no more areas that they are not performing well, again point out where you agree and where you disagree. Give specific examples of poor performance and offer a maximum of two alternate courses of action they may have taken to avoid such performance. Test they understand your assessment of their progress and make sure they can see a better way to do this in the future.

4. Lastly close the discussion by reinforcing what a good contribution they are making and their good performance aspects to date. Explain to them they they can be even better when the also concentrate on the aspects you discussed previously. Give them and idea of when you will meet again to further discuss their improved performance.

Our role as leader means its our responsibility to address any poor performance and correct so our team can get stronger and more productive. Try my simple system next time you need to counsel one of your team members and let me know if it was a success for you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is your team on track to meet their goals

As the end of the first quarter approaches, it's time for us as the leaders of our teams to take a few moments to check that everything is on the right course. Earlier in the year we looked at setting goals and what we wanted our teams to achieve this year.

Now as the end of the first quarter quickly rolls in, its time to take action.

Follow this simple plan and see how it goes.

Firstly take each member and revisit their goals for the year. Next chat with each member and look at the progress of their plans. By this stage each goal should have a detailed plan and we should expect to see the first few points have been completed.

Next we need to evaluate if each member and their plans are on track. Work through each member's plans and develop appropriate feedback and consider how to bring any lagging plans back on track.

Early intervention will give you the best chance of correcting any issues. By this early checking you have enough time to get any wayward plans corrected and back on track.

Providing feedback on goals that are running off the track is never easy - but at the end of the day all good leaders know that keeping all our team members on track is the way to maintain a focussed team that will win in the end.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Treat your team fairly or risk poor morale

Some disturbing news over the last few weeks, makes you think if the board of directors is very well advised when it comes to treating all your team members fairly.

Consider this three weeks ago the company broadcasts to its employees that there will be no annual pay rise this year. Most team members take this on the chin and accept times are tough and at least I still have a job to go to.

Imagine the hurt these team members fell when last week the company announces it has increased the CEO's salary by some 20%. Wow what a way to smash your companies morale.

While both announcements were in there usual sugar coated spin, the team members were not impressed and many were openly upset by the double standards applied.

I doubt many team members would disagree that some people get paid more than others as they have special skills to contribute. However when people are treated vastly different it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those involved.

Next time you need to make big announcements, perhaps you should take a step back and take a reality look to see that everyone in your organisation is being treated in a fair manner.

By treating everyone in a fair and reasonable manner, you stand a great chance of maintaining your team's morale and building towards the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cross training to strengthen your team

As the year gets well and truly underway, now is the time to look at how you can strengthen your team.

Take a few moments and look at all the tasks your team has to complete over the year, write these down in a list leaving three lines between each entry.

Next take a look at all your team members and match a name against each entry as the main person to complete this task. From here work through the list again and find a backup person to each task. Finally work through the list again looking for alternate backup people who could do this task.

The important step now is to look through each of your backup people and rate them on their capability to do their backup task, anyone who score less than seven out of ten you need to highlight.

Analyse your list and look for the area you just identified as a weakness in the depth of your teams capabilities. Consider the impact to your team if the principal person got sick or left your team.

Now it's time to earn your money, talk to each member you have identified and come up with an action plan to get them cross-trained to a higher level of competency. Some members will resist while some will see it as an opportunity to grow. Its your job to ensure that by half-way through the year you have covered all these gaps.

As the year progresses look to exercise your backup people from time to time to ensure they keep their skills up to an acceptable level. Be sure to provide feedback as each one of these backup people go through their paces and make sure they know why they are doing this.

By ensuring our teams are balanced with a good level of cross-skilling our team will develop a better appreciation of the other team members and what they do, but also you will have a far greater team with depths of skillful people to call on.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Team members to work task evaluations

At the start of most business years we get to hear all about the goal setting process and having each member of the team be assigned some goals to drive the productivity and performance of the team over the next twelve months.

Today I want to take a step back from this and look at making an evaluation of all the tasks your team needs to complete and considering if the right people are doing the right jobs.

One of the big dissatisfiers in the workplace and within our teams is when members are doing tasks that they don't enjoy, or are not part of their job descriptions. Consider this: you hire some young college graduate who specialises in writing software. As it turns out he is a wiz with numbers and spreadsheets. A couple of months later you're getting bogged down for a project review and you need someone to pull the profit and loss statements together. He takes the job on hand and does a wonderful job. Now six months later he is complaining about not being happy with his job, and sadly when we look back and review what went on we see that we have moved his tasking away from software development and now more than 60% of his time is involved in managing the books for the projects.

This is not an uncommon scenario as we look to get the tasks for team completed sometimes we overlook who is doing what and are they the best person for this job.

There are lots of ways to protect our teams from the this type of mis-direction, here's one simple way.

Firstly take a look at all the major tasks your team needs to complete, write the task out on the top of a sheet of paper. now take each team members Job Description (JD) and highlight the top four or five entries (this is what our members see as their principal tasks).

Secondly work your way through each team members job description and find any that have a first or second entry that matches to the tasks you put on each sheet of paper. Write down the name of the JD and the person under this task. Work your way through all your team members assigning their first and second tasks to your list of team jobs.

At the end of this process you should have a good split of names to each task, sure some will be primarily doing this task while others maybe assisting.

Watch out for any tasks that only have one person assigned or worse still have no-one assigned. if this is the case you need to do some research and find out if: the job is not being done at all, if someone is doing it as an extra.

Now we need to develop an action plan to plug these holes. If some is doing a task that is quite obtuse to their JD it is very important we talk with them and gain feedback and to why they do it and are they happy to do it. Maybe you need to acknowledge there is a gap and come up with a strategy to fix the issue or at the very least work out some form of compensation so they keep doing the job while you find a way to fix your workplace. Remember if you have landed someone with the task of being janitor or something they find not stimulating they will usually become unhappy in your team and want to move on.

By taking a holistic view of our team members, the jobs at hand and the team members expectations we can ensure the work is properly allocated and maintain a good team spirit.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Logical approach to planning your year's goals

Lots of us struggle to put a decent plan together at the start of each year and then get to the end of the year and wonder what happened. Often our boss is to busy to sit down and detail out what his/her expectation is.

Try this simple process by yourself then put your plan to your boss and see how it goes. By taking the initiatve and presenting your boss with a plan for the year you can dctate the terms in many cases.

First let's go back and assess how 2009 was, what were the major accomplishmnets, were there any issues that your feedback suggested could have been completed better?

Write down a list of the ten tops tasks that need to be done for 2010, at this stage just jot them down as bullet points. Now draw columns down beside each of these tasks. Heading for the first column, "Complexity" now note against each task a scale of 1 - 5 with 1 very complex and 5 as simple or run rate. The heading for the next column is business impact and note against each task a score of 1-5 with 1 reasonable impact and a 5 as very large impact. The next column is to be headed up "resources", again allocate a score of 1 - 5 where a 1 is very limited resources available for the task and a 5 is most or all resources are available.

The next phase is to add the totals across the columns and then reorder your list of highest score to lowest score, this simple prioritising mechanism will help you decide what are the tasks that will give you the best impactg with the higest likelihood of success.

Now the task is to set each of these tasks so they have measures we can feedback to our boss, and a timelne so we know what needs to get done at each stage of the year so we can make these goals by December 2010.

Measurement is often a tough one especially if our task is re-active to customers, in this case the best thing to do is usually to look at a measurement linked to meeting demand within a given timeframe and accuracy or quality aspect.

Timelines can also be tricky, especially if the task involves feedback for the call to action, in this case we may need to a lot of early work for later results.

By learning and setting great goals we can ensure our team is always stretching forward to improve business as we progress through the year.