How to get your team to produce results

How familiar are these situations?

  • Your organisation adopts a new strategy. While paying lip-service to the change, key staff still resist the new direction, complaining and hoping that things will go back to the way they were.
  • A team regards itself as a group of individuals who ‘happen’ to report to the same person. Though they each do their own job effectively, the synergies, economies of scale and innovation that you hoped would come from bringing them together are not happening.
  • A layer of management is taken out of an organisation to empower the next level of managers to make quicker decisions, interface directly with their own customers and produce enhanced results. However, they aren’t stepping up to the new challenge, and are waiting for direction and seeking permission, just as they did in the old structure.
  • Two functional heads whose roles require that they work together closely, clash to the extent that they do their best to avoid each other. When they do have to work together there is friction, resulting in inefficiency and poor outcomes.
  • Conflict and ‘finger-pointing’ are arising because team members are not clear on the exact boundaries of their roles, and tend either to ‘tread on each other’s toes’, or to miss targets and deadlines because it is not clear who is accountable for their achievement.

Sound familiar?

Do you see similar issues in your own business? They cost hassle and sleepless nights. But the real cost is a brake on business results which, if not tackled head-on, becomes permanent because it becomes the norm – ‘just the way things are round here’.

Typically, the reaction is to fire people, move them ‘sideways’, re-structure, tell ‘them’ to get their act together, hope it gets better by complaining enough, put them on ‘special measures’ at appraisal time, or call a ‘cards on the table’ meeting – all expensive, risky and ultimately ineffective.

What does not usually happen is that all the people concerned with the issue get together and surface it fully in a series of face-to-face conversations in which they explore in depth how things got to be this way. They then agree new actions and behaviours which permanently prevent the issues from arising again.

This approach to creating great, results-producing teams, in contrast to the knee-jerk response, is inexpensive, very fast, and if done properly always produces outstanding long-term results.

Why does the approach work?

This approach works by creating a platform to identify and bring up those issues that have not been expressed before. A valuable outcome is the creation of a permanent organisational process for dealing with team issues whenever they arise in the future.

The second reason the approach works is that it is based on consistent research findings showing that, with very few exceptions, individuals are always capable of producing outstanding results given the right skills and mindset. If individuals don’t have the necessary skills, you can address the gaps through training. But people frequently still don’t produce the results they are capable of. This is because what gets in the way is not just their level of skill, but equally importantly their mindset and the groupthink in the team – this approach tackles these head on.

Telling the truth

The key to success is the toughest bit: telling the truth. An experienced facilitator encourages participants to uncover and face up to key, relevant truths that will unstick the team and enable it to move on. Team members might otherwise shy away from these issues, leaving them forever buried from view, but causing unacknowledged blocks to progress. The team cannot do this without the impetus from an outside facilitator; it would be like doing brain surgery on yourself!

As a business leader, whatever you give your team to work with, you need their full, unconditional commitment. Facing up to and telling the truth, with appropriate support, uncovers very quickly any barriers in the way of every member of the team, and leaves the team with a new ability to surface and resolve issues quickly and permanently in future.

Have you experienced similar issues in your business?

Get your team to produce results with our Team Development approach