Do you know what your team is doing?
In order to ensure you’re making the most efficient and effective use of your team and its resources, it’s important to know how things are going. How is your team performing against its challenges and what it has to deliver? Is it making the progress you’d expect? Who else needs to know about its progress? Do your team members know how they’re performing?
‘Purpose’, ‘People’ and ‘Processes’ are the first three elements from the Exceptional Team Blueprint™. This blog considers the final element of ‘Performance’. It’s all about what the team does, its performance and the progress it’s making.
The Performance element into four areas.
Your goals must directly support the achievement of your team’s challenge and deliverables. Break the big challenge and deliverables down into smaller chunks and set your team goals around them. Make sure the goals you define are clear and demanding, but also binary and unambiguous. You can then tell whether they’ve been achieved or not. If the goals can stretch the team members, without being too daunting, then that provides an additional level of motivation to achieve them. Finally, make sure the goals are clearly shared with the team and that they engage with them. These goals can be used to form the basis of your performance management (appraisal) process for your team members.
Use simple project management tools and techniques to define the main tasks that will help with the delivery of the team’s goals. Prioritise the goals and tasks into a timeline in the order that they need to be completed. Look for tasks that are dependent on the completion of other activities first, and use that information to set the sequence. Make sure each task and goal has a specified date by which it needs to be completed. Consider and identify the resources that will be needed to perform and complete each task successfully. Resources could include people, money, time or skills. Then identify what resources are available and those that are missing and you need to find. Allocate an owner to each task who will be responsible for its delivery.
Define a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you can measure the team’s progress against. But don’t have too many. Make sure they are relevant and clear and have measurable criteria supported by data that can be gathered easily. Base your KPIs on the challenge, the deliverables and the goals you’ve set for the team. Monitor the team’s performance against the KPIs on a regular basis as you work on the tasks and towards the goals and deliverables. Decide what you’ll do if your team isn’t on course and the KPIs start to indicate that you may not deliver the goals. How will you ‘correct’ the performance and progress so that things are put back on course and your goals are delivered? Make your KPIs visible to the team members so they can also see how things are progressing. They can then proactively take action to address any issues.
A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in how your team is performing and the progress it’s making. They may be internal or external to your business. Depending on the type of team you lead and are part of, your stakeholders may be customers, suppliers, bosses, team members, parents, students, trustees or external agencies. Identify your team’s key stakeholders and then ask them what information they want to know in terms of how the team is progressing and performing. Next, ask them how they want to receive that information. Is it in a report? A presentation? Statistics? A project plan update? A ‘traffic light’ summary? Finally, ask them how often they want to receive the information. This way you’ll only be providing and reporting relevant information that your stakeholders want, when they want it. This will save your team time by not reporting information that’s not wanted and won’t be looked at.
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