This blog is by Jo Clayton, director of acumen, an organisational performance developer based in Auckland. Jo is also one of our most experienced coaches and works with us as a facilitator on growth and customised programmes. Look out for an extended version of this blog on Jo’s LinkedIn profile very soon.
| Getting Clear, Getting Real and Getting Better
Your management team is likely to be a source of untapped potential. Learn how to leverage the power of a high-performance leadership team.
| Getting Clear – Well understood and agreed direction
The team needs clear, well-articulated direction. The beginning of the year is when many of my clients revisit their business plan and ask questions such as; ‘Where is our business heading?’, ‘What are we trying to become?’ and ‘What is our “Why”?’
The direction needs to be well-debated and for the team to have lots of input so as to develop a deep shared commitment as to where the business is going. This should include key areas of focus and priorities and be carefully considered from the customers’ perspective. Be clear on what you are going to do and what you are not going to do.
Having agreed the key areas of focus, each manager needs to then consider their own contribution to the company, and agree these with their colleagues. This allows the team to get tight alignment, and to be all heading in the same direction.
| Getting Real – Improving relationships and behaviours
The management team needs to be the No.1 team. I am constantly surprised that this is not something many teams have considered, with managers seeing their department or function as their No1 team. This leads to siloed behaviour and decision-making which may not be in the interests of the business as a whole.
Your management team may be made up of competent and committed managers who have high standards. But it’s how they work together that really counts.
Good decisions are based on the quality of debate a team can have, and that’s only possible with high levels of trust. Trust develops when the team spends lots of time together – both formally and informally. Consider how much time sports teams spend together ‘off the field’ – it’s a great analogy for us in business.
The team also needs to get real about the behaviours that are ok and not ok in the way they interact with one another and the way they lead the business. Often protocols are required for how the team will work together when things are not going so well. Be clear about the leadership behaviours the team needs to demonstrate to the business. Set the tone for your people to deliver great experiences to your customers.
| Getting Better – Continual Review and Improvement
Leaders in successful businesses ask themselves and their team, ‘How can we get better tomorrow?’. They create an environment of restlessness with the status quo, knowing that they need to change and learn faster than their industry peers.
Great teams seek to learn more about the business and each other, so having regular reviews is a key habit to adopt. They consider and review the performance of the business, the performance of different teams within the business and ask: ‘What have we done well?’, ‘What needs to improve?’ and ‘What have we learned?’.
Establishing quarterly reviews is a key discipline most of my clients put in place. In these reviews, performance is monitored, priorities are re-set if needed, and behaviours are re-calibrated.
For more advice from Jo and how to develop organisational performance, visit acumen.
For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.