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Transform talk into action: Team management

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

Teams can talk a good game. They can tell you everything you want to hear: We’re making progress, we’re motivated to make a difference, we understand the importance of what’s at stake.

Yet when it comes to producing deliverables—real results—even the most earnest, well-intentioned teams can disappoint. Their determination to work hard and contribute may not necessarily translate into productive action.

Your challenge is to turn talk into action. Here are some techniques:

Request “commitment statements.” Ask each group to make a series of “We will” statements that encapsulate what they commit to do to achieve goals. Make sure they provide criteria to measure their progress. Examples include, “We will identify three options for updating our patient records” or “We will research best practices for tracking customer satisfaction and propose a reliable, cost-effective system to implement.”

Train teams to draft project maps. A project map is a numbered list of steps that serves as a guide to accomplish a specific task. Teach teams to break down phases of a project into concrete action steps—and reduce those steps to one or two sentences each. Team members should also attach timetables to each step to hold themselves accountable for follow-through.

Take notes, make assignments. During team meetings, individuals will say, “We should do this” or “It would be interesting if we tried to …” Write all the proposals you hear and then assign groups to test the most promising suggestions. That ensures that potentially great ideas don’t fall by the wayside.

To make your employees smarter, encourage them to challenge conventional wisdom. As a fun exercise, ask them to share commonly held beliefs about business that are often false or misleading. Example: “We don’t make money on what we sell, but we make it up on volume.” By piercing myths that many people treat as gospel, your staffers can gain confidence and develop more sophisticated success strategies.




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