Are Your Teams Effective? The Reality Conundrum
“You are on a New Team!”
Throughout my career, I have been on a “team”. Team is in quotes since the term can be a misnomer. What is a team? At its core, a team is a group of people that are brought together to achieve a common goal. For businesses, teams can develop a new product, integrate a new technology into current products, reduce costs, respond to competitive threats, open new markets, etc. Teams are oftentimes cross-functional. They require a set of skills not present in any one resource. In a vacuum, teams are the perfect solution to solving problems and innovation. Unfortunately, teams are not created or operate in a vacuum.
Conundrum Number One – Trickledown Team Formation
Teams are generally formed by CXOs or Department Heads who have multiple layers of input and feedback. Many CEOs today have Coaches, Executive Roundtables or Consultants. The dysfunctional result of multiple input channels is that they are mutually exclusive. They are islands of input. Each “advisor” only knows the reality the CEO is telling them. They do not have any perspective from others in the company or the teams. Executive training, the Internet, books and conferences add more complexity and are the genesis for creating many teams.
A group of executives from a company go to an Expo and find that their competitor is demonstrating a new product. The group goes to Business Development asking: do we have a plan for competing with our competitor’s new product? When the answer is “no” - a team is created to respond.
So, what is missing here? Lots!
Conundrum Number Two – External Forces
Many new teams are staffed with junior associates. This phenomenon occurs across all industries. The team members have managers who report to other managers themselves. Managers have business goals their staffs must achieve. Some managers have short-term goals.
In Sales Departments, the goals can be monthly. My major involvement has been with Business and Product Development Teams which are “project oriented”. Consistently, these projects have taken 18 months or more to complete. So, not only do the teams’ tasks take more than a month or quarter to complete, they can transcend fiscal years.
This reality presents a burden on each team member’s functional duties when a Manager is falling behind in achieving their goals. The teams’ tasks can eventually become “night jobs”.
Another external force is caused by team reporting. Many times, a team will report to one Senior Manager while the individual team members report to their manager.
A company determines that the new team should report to the Vice President of Business Development. The team has members from Product Development, Sales, Engineering, Marketing and Finance. Now, each member has two managers: their direct report and the Team Manager.
Two department managers fall behind on their budget and restrict travel for their team members. The team members are critical participants for a vendor visit in two weeks and are not able to attend.
What are the “rules of engagement”? What takes precedence? The team members’ “day jobs” or night jobs? Are Team member activities and performance built into their job description and evaluation? Does the team have a dedicated budget?
Conundrum Number Three – Team Composition
Creating a team is like preparing for battle in a remote location. The team needs to be outfitted with the proper resources to achieve success. However, teams are often filled by job title rather than being staffed with the best resources needed to complete the mission.
A company needs rebranding. The Marketing department is too small to staff the project internally. So, the Marketing Manager identifies other company staff members that have a “marketing aptitude” and selects five members from disperse departments for the team.
The five members get a special “Team Five” logo on their business cards to use during outside visits. The team is a major success leading to significant revenue growth the following year.
Over longer periods of time, team members may be promoted, reassigned or leave. It is critical to quickly replace the lost skill sets and, more importantly, acclimate the new team member to the other members, their “team building” training and progress to date.
Before Launching a Team, Ask these Questions
1. Why is this Team being created? The common goal.
2. What is the budget? Time, cost, travel.
3. How is “SUCCESS” defined? New sales, lower cost, gain market share.
1. Does the team have the required skill sets to achieve success?
2. Are there any gaps?
3. How will they communicate with each other and report progress?
4. Are the team members supported by their managers to be on the team?
5. Is the team self-managed?
6. Does the team have Leadership?
7. Lastly, are the team members team players?
A company’s investors hire a clinical psychology firm to evaluate a team that is responsible for delivering a $100 million project. The firm completes a 360-degree evaluation of each team member to determine if there are any issues with the team. One team member, Chris, is identified as the most capable team player – yet, other members of the team report differently. When the firm debriefs Chris, the firm asks Chris to explain the cause of the dichotomy. Chris’s response is, “Some members are not team players. They are more interested in personal gain than contributing to the team.” The firm’s conclusion is the same.
Failing to address any one of the questions above when creating a team can lead to inefficiencies, delays dysfunction and, ultimately, closure before reaching the goal.
THE LEVL5 SOLUTION
Building your Leadership Team
Everyone is a leader, whether they realize it or not. LEVL5 will help build your team of leaders so that everyone is empowered and operating from the same level of energy – the energy of SUCCESS.
LEVL5 will provide your team with baseline information that supports leadership development, communications and growth for the benefit of the company’s and all other interpersonal relationships.
LEVL5 gives the team a new language framework.
Our program empowers each person to successfully lead themselves and the team through stressful situations, evaluating decisions and building key relationships that are invaluable to their SUCCESS.
This system allows growth as a leader because it enables team members to take a step back and examine their actions and the impact of those actions.
· Increase in productivity and cohesive interactions
· Increase in energetic engagement
· Increase in workability within interpersonal relationships
· Increased efficiency
· Decrease in stress
· Connection to each other
Plus, the ability to create win/win situations that increase the team’s opportunity for SUCCESS – both as individuals and as a company.
Ongoing Team Member Coaching
Many times, teams are launched with the proverbial “team building” exercise. A one-and-done “group” event.
With LEVL5, the trainers are Coaches that will periodically connect with team members in a group or “1:1” basis for support. Most importantly, the teams’ members have an outlet for confidential, external support.
The Whiteboard Session
LEVL5’s Consultants will partner with you to create your definition of success and the strategic path that's best for your business. The Coach/Consultant connection will elevate your team’s performance to a whole new level.
We come to you and create a powerful session, determine what we know and don’t know - then, identify the tasks, assignments and next steps required to help your team reach your SUCCESS goal.
LEVL5 and Six Eagles Haven
Often, teams need to get away from the office distractions. Or, virtual groups need a place to “unhook” for Strategic Sessions. LEVL5 has partnered with Six Eagles Haven – https://sixeagleshaven.com – a 40+ acre, Retreat, Event and Getaway Center that offers customized planning to support workshops, strategic planning sessions and team building events. Retreats can be self-guided or facilitated by LEVL5.
Six Eagles Haven is conveniently located 40 minutes from Grand Junction Regional Airport with direct flights from Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
Six Eagles Haven partners with LEVL5 to provide onsite and offsite options as projects progress.
Are Your Teams Effective?
Take a few minutes and evaluate your existing or past teams with the questions above and rate their SUCCESS from 1 to 10. If you are not satisfied with the resulting score, contact LEVL5.
We will ENERGETICALLY respond!