Great teams do the right things in the right way to reach 8/10. They then add what is necessary to achieve 10/10.
“This sounds logical in theory,” said one leader. “But how do you get people to do it in their daily work?”
Imagine you lead a team. Here is one approach you can take to getting your people to deliver the basics and then add the brilliance. Gather people together and go through the following steps.
Start by reminding people
of the picture of success
Good leaders start by giving the context before going on to the concrete action plans. They often do this by reminding people of the team’s purpose. People can then get a greater sense of meaning by relating their actions to achieving this overall picture of success.
So you may wish to do two things. First, describe the team’s aim. Second, describe the specific things that will be happening that will show the team has achieved its goal.
Different teams use different templates for framing their goals. The one below focuses on what must be achieved in terms of the 3 Ps. These are the Profits, Products – including customer satisfaction – and People. But you will have your own framework.
You can encourage the team
to keep doing the basics
“One year ago my team was in a difficult state,” said one leader.
“Some people were in love with doing the attractive stuff, but did not pay enough attention to the basics. So I spent lots of time supervising their tasks. This wasn’t sustainable in the long term, so I made some key decisions.
“First, I decided who might be able to deliver the required professional standards.
“Looking at each person in turn, I rated their potential on a scale 0 – 10. I kept the people who had the attitude and ability to reach 7+/10. I replaced those who didn’t. Two left because they had a poor attitude; one because his skills just did not fit.
“Sounds tough, but the alternative was to continue supervising people. This would not benefit anybody.
“Second, I then involved everybody in clarifying the basics and the brilliance.
“Gathering people together, I shared the overall goal. Each person was invited to write Post-it Notes regarding what they saw as the basics that must be done to deliver the goods.
“People went up in turn and put these on a flip chart. Eventually we agreed on what must be done to deliver the basics.”
You will have your own method for making this happen. If you wish, however, you can adopt the following approach.
Invite your people to describe the specific things that the team can do to always deliver the basics. Here is the exercise.
You can encourage the
team to add the brilliance
“Looking ahead, I then asked my team to focus on adding that touch of class,” said the leader.
“Each person was invited to write Post-it Notes regarding how we could add the brilliance.
“Looking back, I gave concrete examples regarding when people had taken this step. Frequently they had done things that were a ‘win-win’. They had created a win for the customer and a win for the company.
“Sometimes the brilliance had been a creative breakthrough. Sometimes it had been a great piece of customer service.
“Frequently it involved people showing the personal touch and helping our customers to succeed. This made the customers more likely to do business with us in the future.
“People wrote their Post-it Notes and put them on a flip chart. We then agreed on the ways it would be possible to add brilliance in the future.”
You will, of course, take this step in your own way. Superb teams have people who deliver brilliance, but they are also savvy. They give great service to customers, but they do not ‘give away the farm’.
When describing possible ways to provide brilliance, it may be useful:
To describe the specific times when you have seen people deliver brilliance.
To describe the principles they followed and how they can follow these in the future.
To show that brilliance may simply be providing the personal touch or adding something special.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Invite your team to do the following exercise.
You can encourage the team to keep
delivering the basics and the brilliance
“Great teams develop great disciplines,” said the leader.
“My fear was that, after the Post-it session, people might forget to follow their commitments. Bearing this in mind, I asked people to do two things.
“First, to describe how they would continue to deliver what had been agreed.
“Second, to describe how they would keep me informed regarding what they were doing to deliver the basics and the brilliance.
“Great workers are good at managing their bosses. They realise that leaders worry and want to be reassured. So they show their bosses they are on top of the job.
“Bearing this in mind, I asked people to show how they would also keep me out of their hair.”
Superb teams have people who proactively manage their sponsors and other stakeholders. This gives them the freedom to get on with their daily work.
If you wish, invite your people to tackle the exercise on this theme. They are to describe how they will keep you informed about how they are delivering the goods.
There are many models for building great teams. One approach is to make sure you have the right people with the right standards.
People can then work together to achieve the picture of success. They can do this by always being professional and, when appropriate, adding that touch of class.