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.