Need To Do More with Less: Diagnose and Tune Your Team – Part 1
4th February 2010
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As the world moves out of recession the pressure is on for business leaders to do more with less. This may at first seem to be a “big-ask”, but there are areas where significant gains can be made by doing more with what you’ve got, lots more. One of those is tuning your team to gain the best performance as you would a high performance engine.

It has been said that a team is not a team until it has been made into one. Before then it remains a group. At best a group delivers the same result as if its members worked individually. At worst they work against each other reducing effectiveness and often creating a toxic atmosphere which spills over and poisons the onlookers.  But when they are formed into a properly functioning team they can be many times more effective; then they become a high performance team

Where is your team on the scale ranging from pulling against each other thru parity with a group of individuals to performance with exceeds expectations?

Based on the work of Pat MacMillan (The Performance Factor*) here is a simple diagnostic tool to help you decide.

In Part 1 we look at the issues of:

  • Alignment
  • Crystal Clear Roles
  • Accepted Leadership


For your team to be a great team the members must be” Aligned”. This requires a clear and shared purpose and a 100% commitment to realising that shared purpose in a common and coherent way. The following questions will help you consider exactly how Aligned your team is:

  • Does your team have a declared purpose that is clear, relevant, significant, believed, urgent and motivational?
  • If you asked your team members what the purpose of the team was, do they all give the same answer?
  • Does that represent an agreed, common and shared view or are there gaps?
  • Is all your team involved in developing the strategies and plans to achieve the purpose?
  • Is each team member’s commitment to achievement practically demonstrated by higher levels of cooperation?

Crystal Clear Roles

Clarity is required in the minds of the team as to exactly what is the role of each member.

  • Do your team members have specific roles with well defined boundaries, responsibilities and accountabilities?
  • Can each of your team members accurately tell you what the other team members do?
  • Has anything that your team is responsible for ever “fallen through the cracks” or disappeared into “black holes”?
  • Does conflict arise between your team members because of differing opinions about responsibilities?
  • When you look at your team members honestly are their roles compatible with their abilities?

Accepted Leadership

A High Performance Team requires clear and competent leadership to facilitate and orchestrate the achievement of its goals. However, for specific activities task leadership will be provided by individual team members who have the necessary competence and capability to guide on that issue. Thus effective leadership at any specific time is not based on a static position but by dynamic response to the encountered need and individual role.

  • Are you the only one that ever provides direction for your team?
  • Do you delegate responsibility for specific tasks to team members?
  • Do individual team members with expertise offer formal and informal guidance and direction in accordance with that expertise?
  • Do you call upon the team’s wisdom and expertise by encouraging  team members to offer their insights and leadership based on their expertise and experience?
  • When you ask your team members do they express frustration at lack of direction and guidance?

What You Can Try Today

Find a quiet place for half an hour and ask yourself these questions about your team and see how they score.  In the light of the answers you get begin to work out an action plan to address your team’s weaknesses.

Then don’t forget part two in which we will take a look at:

  • Effective Team Processes
  • Solid Relationships
  • Excellent Communications

Ponder and Comment

Would it make a difference to team functioning if your team was made up of professionals or shop floor workers?  What do you think?

The Creative Leader Bulletin is a free resource for business and Third Sector leaders. It is currently running a series called The Spirited Team. Along with other postings at the Creative Leader an in this blog It may give you some ideas for your team.

*The Performance Factor, Pat MacMillan, B&H Publishing, ISBN-8-8054-2375-3

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