Your team isn’t performing as well as they could, and you can’t figure out the trick to helping them reach their awesome potential. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. NONE of us are immune to feeling our teams could be even more [insert amazing team characteristic here]. If you’re a leader who feels this way, congratulations. You’re already on your way to creating greatness within your team. The simple act of awareness that we can make things better is already further than most leaders travel in their journey to the high-performing team, so good on you!
Now that we’ve gotten that far, what is a well-intentioned leader to do? Host a 2-day retreat and conquer greatness using trust falls and river walk exercises? Sure, you could do that. It doesn’t have to be that difficult, though. Great teams can be built within the comfort of the every-day team meeting, and with actions that are as easy to facilitate as a business update. Here are some ideas to grab onto, each of which can be implemented in ~15 minutes within an already-existing team meeting:
- Say it out loud. Don’t be shy with your team about wanting to become a team that creates greatness. Make an announcement that you’re going to start experimenting with things that will bring them together, improve collaboration, and foster dynamics that make the team sing. Be positive and get them excited about the benefits of striving to become a high-performing team.
- Create a vision for the ideal state. Facilitate a discussion within a team meeting. Ask them to brainstorm what a high-performing team might look like for them. Use questions like “What high-performing team actions have you witnessed in past teams you’ve been on?”, or “If we were the most high-performing team ever, what would that look like?” Have them get specific. Don’t settle for answers like “be more collaborative”. Ask them to drill into what “more collaborative” team members do and how they act. This exercise helps them identify with the real behaviors that will lead them to your collective awesomeness.
- Pinpoint what’s already awesome. I bet your team is already winning in a lot of areas. Come to this meeting with a list of ways you know your team is already living the ideal state. In a discussion, ask them to come up with a list, and follow up with those you’ve brought that they didn’t think of. See? We’re already on our way! How inspiring is that?!
- Hone in on what’s not right. Engage your team in a brainstorm around any gaps. What do we do that is counter to a high-performing team? What areas need improvement? What’s getting in our way? Important note: this is NOT a complaint, whine, or point-the-finger-at session. Say it out loud to yourself and then to your team. This is a positive, optimistic, productive, and honest critique on what’s not going so well. If your team doesn’t have control over it or if it cannot be fixed, it needs to be saved for another discussion.
- Engage them in action commitments. As a final step to this meeting-by-meeting journey, ask your team what they think it might take to improve the awesomeness of the team, based on everything they’ve learned so far. Ask them to come up with specific actions, not fluffy goals. If your team agrees they should show more respect toward one another, great- what does that look like? Bottom line- you get what you focus on, so focus on what you want!
- Keep it alive. Come full circle with a discussion around how the team will maintain a focus on awesome. Ideally in subsequent meetings, you’d keep coming back to #3 – 5 and continue to keep team effectiveness as a focus of what you all work on together, but this will look different for every team. Regardless- discussions that help you work more effectively as a team should continue to be on your team meeting agenda.
Your focus on improving team effectiveness in your team meetings shouldn’t take up the entire meeting, but if you spend 10-15 minutes every team meeting with a follow-up and continuation of exploring what the team can do to perform more effectively, you’ll see the impact snowball over time. Your team will be conditioned to constantly look through the lens of improvement. They will see clearly that you expect and strive for high performance and will begin to anticipate ways to improve their effectiveness. This new focus on team effectiveness in your team meetings is a guaranteed first step toward becoming the awesome, high-performing team you’ve always dreamt of.
Trying hard and still getting nowhere? You might need something else to get you where you want to go. If you’d like help exploring ways to make your team the high-performing engine you’ve been dreaming of, contact Honeycomb Team Solutions and schedule a chat to explore what might work best for your team.
About the Author
Melanie Proshchenko is the Founder and CEO of Honeycomb Team Solutions, an organization in the business of helping teams prosper. Whether it’s growth, change, or every day business, Melanie gets the tough challenge in taking high-performing people and creating dynamic teams, and spends her waking hours helping others crack that code through coaching, team workshops, off sites, and consulting. She lives in San Diego with her home team of two dogs, two kids, and one extremely high-performing husband.