In last week’s post, we shared how important it is for leaders to get themselves organized. This week let’s take it a step further and talk about how to get your team organized. For a team to be a high performing team, it has to be structured to fulfill the mission and make progress toward the vision. In addition, everyone on the team has to know their own role, everyone else’s role and where the boundaries and handoffs are.
Your business team is similar to an athletic team. For example, in football, everyone on the offense knows what the different offensive positions are, they understand what everyone’s part is with the different plays and they know when the ball transitions via a handoff or a pass down the field. It should be that well defined on a business team too.
Start with Capability Requirements and Then Structure
As a leader, you should periodically step back and assess the functions and structures that are needed for success. You have your mission and vision statements (or if you don’t, read here). One of the next questions to ask is “Do we have the internal capabilities in place to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision?” That’s great if you do and you believe that your structure will enable your success.
If not, you should figure out what is missing, determine what additional capabilities you will need, and then develop a resource map to get there. That may also involve changing your structure to achieve your vision.
For example, if you want to go after very different market sectors, you could organize first around those sectors or continue in your traditional functional structure with marketing, manufacturing, engineering and so forth. There is no right or wrong structure. The most critical thing to do is to ensure that jobs and responsibilities are well defined and well communicated. I would recommend that you discuss and then create descriptions of every position.
Define and Communicate Your Position Profile First
To ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of different roles, I would recommend that you create a position profile for everyone on your team starting with you. Here are the key components.
- First, describe the purpose of the position in one or two sentences. This is obviously a high level description and should be consistent with the mission and vision for your team. For a manufacturing manager, the purpose might be “To lead the manufacturing department to deliver products that meet customer needs and fulfill Acme Company’s business goals.”
- Next, describe the top 7 but no more than 10 responsibilities of the position. These are responsibilities that are critical and/or take the most time. List the most critical first and then on down the line.
- Explore the gray areas that sometimes get in the way of your being effective. Gray areas are those areas that can span multiple positions and may have caused issues over time. It may be a process for example. You may want to reach out to others to clarify what you are responsible for and what you aren’t.
- Last, document what the position is expected to accomplish if the individual’s performance is exceptional. Be specific by making those accomplishments SMART (specific, measureable, attainable realistic and time-based) so that they are very tangible.
Congratulations, you have a new or improved job profile! If you yourself report to another manager, review it with your manager. This is a great way to make sure you and your manager are aligned. And then, review it with your team because…you are going to ask each of your employees to create their own job profile.
Asking Your Team to Complete Their Job Profiles
Your employees may not want to go through what they might see as a tedious and worthless task. They may think everyone knows what they do. You have a different perspective and you can provide your own narrative to them on how important it is for everyone to know what the different roles are on the team. You can give your perspective too on whether you see issues with everyone being on the same page or not. By walking them through your own profile, you are leading by example and you can share the benefits that you received. At this point, be open and ask for feedback on your profile – you are going to ask them to share their job profile with the whole group too.
Share Profiles with the Team
You should have everyone on your team share his or her job profiles with the whole group. It’s important to remind everyone that it’s not about them personally – it’s about their position. The profiles should be presented as drafts so that they don’t have to be perfectly polished and others will feel that they can voice their views. I would especially probe on gray areas that they identified to see if there are outstanding questions on who is responsible for what. It is important to point out that your employees can’t share any one responsibility. There should just be one name there.
In sharing their job profiles, you will achieve real clarity for your team on how they all contribute to fulfilling the mission and working toward the vision. This is an extremely valuable exercise for teams where employees have been finger pointing and things have been falling through the cracks. It also will be valuable as you go to Step 3.
Congratulations, you and your team are now organized and ready to take on your mission and vision! You have completed Step 2 of the 7 Steps to a High Performing Team. Stay tuned for more sneak peeks, and be sure to sign up for our mailing list today to receive your free download of 7 Steps to Building a High Performing Team!
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