How do you get a newly formed team to work together smoothly and with purpose? Or how do you rescue a team that has gone off track? These questions are often faced by managers especially after an organisational restructure.
Getting a team on track involves many aspects including:
- Pulling together diverse individuals into a cohesive working unit
- Establishing trust and transparency in the team
- Defining desired team behaviours and ways of working together
- Clarifying team priorities which can be vague after organisational change
- Defining team purpose, goals and measures of success
- Improving customer focus
The best way to address these aspects is by taking the time to ask thoughtful questions, listening and then making sense of the insights:
- Find out what your customer wants: The first step is to figure out what is expected of the changed team. Every team has customers, whether internal or external. What do these customers want from the team and how could the group make their lives easier? Are there any current pain points or opportunities? Great information can be unearthed by talking to a cross-section of the team’s stakeholders, from the CEO to on-the-ground staff. Usually 10-15 interviews are enough to uncover common themes and priorities. This feedback can be invaluable in shaping the direction of the new team.
- Find out what the staff want: Depending on the size of the team, structured conversations with each of the team members are very important to make individuals feel heard and to identify their priorities, ideas for the group and how they want to work together. It helps to have an independent person facilitate these conversations to allow open discussion and unbiased feedback.
- Analyse the insights and collaboratively pull together into practical measures: Information from customer and staff interviews as well as relevant corporate documents invariably uncover highly relevant themes which can then be tested with management or better yet, the entire team. Collaboratively, these insights can be used to define the team’s business principles, operating model and a prioritised business plan. Outputs can include:
- A team charter, bringing to life how the team will work together
- A customer charter, outlining the team’s commitment to customers
- A business plan and roadmap to set the team up for success into the future
In a time of organisational change, it can be useful to invest in external support to provide the independent viewpoint and the bandwidth to set things up right. Iceni (iceni.com.au) has used the above approach to successfully work with numerous clients to help mobilise newly formed team or realign existing teams.
By Vera Fiala, Principal Consultant