Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Create a mid-year review checklist

As we pass through the mid-year many of us in leadership positions will conduct reviews with our direct reports.

Rather than just walk through the process, I believe you need to create an objective review checklist. The checklist will help you identify those performers who are on-track and those that are behind. Of those behind  it is important to understand why they are behind, is it because you have directed their efforts somewhere else or is it because they are not tackling the challenges you set them at the start of the year.

What I find useful is to create a checklist for use at each review. Work through the checklist during the review.
 Firstly the checklist should address the formalities of the review.

1.       Why we are here?

2.       Do they feel comfortable to discuss candidly with you how they feel they are going?

3.       How do they rate themselves?

4.       How do you rate their performance to date?

5.       Why is there any delta?

Next look into their individual and team goals.

1.       On they on track to make their targets?

2.       Do the targets need to be revised up or down?

3.       Are there issues blocking progress that you can provide help to free up?

4.       Is there time to take corrective action and get any wayward goals back on track?

Assess for business Impact.

1.       Which goals are having the maximum impact?  These goals need to be pushed forward, how can we get more traction and better results.

2.       Which goals are having a minimal impact?  These goals should be dropped, save our energy and efforts for the greater impact goals.

Identify risky members

1.       Why are these members goals at risk?  Explain why they are at risk and consequences of poor performance.

2.       Have we contributed to the risk position?  If so we must own the issue and re-qualify the goal.

Positive finish

1.       Regardless of performance overall, we must praise all positive work,

2.       Remind team members of their role in an inclusive and cohesive team.

As team leaders it is our responsibility to conduct mid-year reviews. The reviews give us a good time to analyse where the team is and where it is heading. By keeping an eye on the goals we set for the team we can develop action plans to support our team and lead the strong performers to a position of excellence. Don’t be tempted by the leadership conundrum of who to allocate the most time too.  Time and time again it has been proven if we have limited time available we must give it to our top team members as any boost in their output will be more beneficial than the same improvement in our weakest members. It’s our duty as the leaders to manage and lead or teams to the highest performance we can, this way our team will be making the maximum contribution to the company.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Team Bonding

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. 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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to keep your team motivated

One of the questions I often get asked, is about motivating the team. Leaders need to be sure they keep a keen eye on their team's motivation and take small and subtle steps to keep motivating members.
While some members are driven by cash it is surprising to find out that the majority of our team members actually prefer rewards other than cash to feel appreciated and rewarded for their efforts and so motivate them to do bigger and better things in the future. Try this experiment and see if it helps you maintaining  your team in a highly motivated state, it cost you very little and is more about behaviours rather than using a reward as a motivator.

Next time you see one of your team members doing something that is particularly good, casually stop and chat and praise them for what they were doing, be sure to mention exactly what you saw and why it was good for them and how it makes a positive impact on the team. Observe their reaction and make a note later on how they received this positive feedback.  You may be surprised how many people in your team really appreciate your action and respond in a positive manner. Try over the next three to four weeks to do this for all members and to be consistent in the delivery.

Look ahead in your team schedule and find an afternoon toward the end of the quarter and plan some team activity, perhaps bowling, golf whatever. Take the team out and enjoy, sometime during the activity when everyone is together make a short speech thanking the team for their efforts over the period.  This is a team activity and a team reward for delivery of the team goals to date.

Some members crave public attention and will respond best to an award in front of the rest of the company, while this can be a very powerful motivator for the individual it can also have negative effects on the rest of team. I would only suggest to do this if and when someone has gone well above the call of duty and everyone knows it.

Monetary awards as a means of motivation tend to have a very short impact, however they can be useful for team players who are very introverted (as these people rarely want to be put in the spot-light).

Keeping our team motivated is one of the critical tasks we can do as team leaders, it something we should experiment with to get the right balance and keep our team at its peak.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Create break out year for your team

A new year for most leaders means striking a plan for the achievements of the team. But what if  you could create a situation to give the team you lead a chance of making a huge break-out?  Would you give it a go?

Put this simple strategy in place and see your team prosper and grow. Late last year I posted about which team member  would deliver the best result for the team if you could just find a little more time to help one member, again we'll look to these members to deliver our break-out performance.

 This year we should plan early to get our usual quota and adopt this plan to get some big scores on the board.

First lets take our goals for the year and write them in a list. Next we take the list and categorise each goal, shared or team goal, individual goal, and break-through goal.  Test your list of goals and be sure to whittle them down so there are only 2 team goals and a couple of each other category.

Next step is to arrange the goals in these three categories in a matrix against each team member. When you draw up your matrix place your weakest team member first in line and your strongest last in line.
Allocate your goals out to each team member, they should have no more than 5 goals. Try to fill your matrix from your weakest member through to your strongest. When you consider each member against each goal it should play out such that the strongest member has one or two goals spare. This becomes your opportunity to assign them with a break-out goal.

Before sharing your plan with the team it is important as the leader to reflect on what you have assigned to each member and assess its suitability, especially its ability to be achieved within the period.
Remember your first priority is to meet the team goals, once you are comfortable that can be achieved, you know that the allocation of the break-out goals to your stronger members will drive your team to a higher level.

As the leaders of our teams it is very important that we set realistic goals for each member and we positively support everyone to make these goals come to fruition as the year rolls out