Every leader has the responsibility to lead success within their teams. It is on them to understand what’s causing the team to be successful and what’s causing them to fail. It is simpler to define all the reasons for success, and usually leaders and team members are aligned on their thoughts during great, successful times.
Disconnects, lack of communication, and resentful feelings are common during difficult business times and it is on the leader to get everyone together to work towards fast and effective improvement. Here is a simple, step-by-step plan that will help you, as the leader assess the situation, set up plans of action, align mindsets at every level and take powerful steps towards wins.
1) Asses on your own first
Answer these two questions on your own first, without involving anyone else’s input.
a. What’s causing the team to fail?
b. What do you believe needs to happen to turn things around?
2) Get leaders’ take on what’s happening
Meet with leaders of the teams struggling (if there’s just one leader, just meet with him/her) and ask the same two questions.
Recommendation: these are quick meetings, so try to meet with each one of them individually and get their own take. This is important for you to know what the leaders in your team are thinking and feeling.
3) Get team members’ thoughts
Gather a group of team members and ask the same questions. Do this in a group setting, with no more than 6-8 people, putting a time-stamp (30-45 min approx.), so it doesn’t become a “venting session”.
Leadership tip: During the group meetings, at this point, your focus is to get answers to both questions, not fix what’s happening. Take notes and open your mind to their world, that might be different than yours as the leader.
4) Connect views
How aligned are your answers, versus the leaders of the team and the team members? Where are the disconnects?
5) Start the Fixing Process
What’s the first thing that needs to improve immediately? Is it compensation plans, marketing strategy, sales process, training, accountability strategies, incentive budgets, people’s mindset?
It is important that every opportunity of improvement gets pin-pointed and ranked in terms of importance.
The expectation shouldn’t be to tackle all of them at the same time, but instead, create a specific plan with actions to take, owners of projects and dates that serve as completion goals. Choose the one that will create the biggest impact and move the team closer to wins as soon as possible.
6) Formulate a detailed plan
Pick the top 1 (and possibly 2) new action from your ranked list that includes:
a. New Approach: Be specific here “The old way was…The new way is…”
b. Getting there: Include everything that needs to be improved/modified, dates of completion and who is leading that part: System changes, Script improvement, Mindset shifting, Training Sessions, etc. Get commitments from owners on completion date and set up “launch date”.
c. Results Expected from this new approach (Clear vision that generates engagement.
d. The Mindset needed from everyone in the team, including you, plus level of communication, productivity, quality of action.
7) Meet with team to communicate next steps
Set up a time to meet with the team again, but not without creating a communication plan first that serves as a follow up from your meetings and that includes the announcement of the new approach. Your message must clearly transfer the feeling that you heard the team loud and clear. Start statements with:
·“The major concern heard was…”
“The biggest disconnect is…”
“We have created a new approach that…” (here is where you communicate the new plan in a way that inspires people, but doesn’t necessarily train them)
“My commitment as your leader is to…”
“The commitment I need from you is to…”
Close with a message that comes from your heart and people can see you from a very human standpoint, something like:
“I appreciate everyone here in this team and all the feedback that was given to me. It showed me where we need to focus our attention to improve and what makes us a great team. There are a few things we all need to get better at to bring all the success and wins we want, and I am committed to take the necessary steps to get there. What I’m hoping for is to see that same commitment of improvement from each one of you from today forward.”
8) Lead the improvement plan
Get your people involved in owning part of the plan but be the one that sets the pace of it. This process could be a walk in the part or a sprint, and it all depends on the level of urgency that you, as the leader, bring to it.
a. Set up check ins with the owners of the project often.
b. Make yourself available to answer questions and give clarity when necessary.
c. Coach your people and use this opportunity to help them grow (the best way to do this is to have them come up with solutions, instead of you giving them all to them).
9) Be side by side with your people on Launch Day
Keep your eyes and ears open, have a winner’s mindset and request the same from everyone else. Expect the best always and keep a consistent attitude during smooth times and rough ones throughout the launch.
10) Show Appreciation on a Timely manner
Send a message of appreciation to the team within the first 24 hrs. after the launch. Simply thank them for specific things they did and tell them why you are proud to be part of this team.
11) Become a follow up machine
One of the most important keys to successful leadership is effective accountability, so ensure that people are sticking to the new approach, be on top of the results and celebrate wins. As soon as this new approach has stuck, keep moving down the list of things to improve and repeat the plan.
Follow this plan and you will get on the path of improvement. The goal is to have a full view of the situation, get the team together and aligned in the efforts, working on innovating, creating and leading success.
Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here