The third element for high performing teams is the operations piece. How the group is structured and whether they perceive they have the tools and processes in place in order to be successful. Note the word perceive. You can have the most impressive software and tracking systems but if your employees find them cumbersome or get in the way of completing their work then you wont have a high performing team.
Operations is about clearly defining roles and responsibilities. When was the last time you sat down with your team and talked about roles and responsibilities? It all too easily becomes assumed that everyone knows why each other is on the team and the strengths they bring to the group. Unless this is reviewed and clarified regularly how can you hope to unlock the strengths of the group, leverage opportunities across the team, understand the gaps in knowledge or potential points of failure?
A relatively simple approach is to provide everyone with a sheet of flipchart paper (or more) and ask them to answer the following questions and then review these as a group:
- The value my role brings to this team / organisation
- Key Responsibilities / Tasks
- Dependencies up and down stream (ie who do i get work from and who do I give it to)
- Key Measures of Success / Metrics
- What prevents me from completing my work?
- What I need from this team in order to be successful
Then review the outputs as a group. Thinking about the teams goals, ask yourself
- What is missing from the charts.
- Are there areas of duplication?
- Are there items on one chart that might be better moved to another area?
Once clarity about individual roles and responsibilities has been achieved you can focus on the dynamics around empowerment and decision making. Its one thing to know what you need to achieve its another to feel that you are empowered to take action and make decisions to deliver.
Clarifying roles and responsibilties is an activity worth doing every year. It should also be part of the way you help to integrate new team members so that they understand what everyone else on the team does and how they fit into the process.