Change Required to Increase Team Performance
Increasing business unit productivity and becoming a high-performance team always requires some change. Doing things the same way but expecting different results is unworkable. Managers struggle to bring change into play. The negative consequences of not changing the productivity capacity of the business unit are harmful. Lack of productivity improvement means falling short of business goals, failure to execute projects and assignments at a high level and ultimately an impairment to the managers reputation and loss of senior management confidence.It doesn’t have to be this way.
The most critical step for a manager who needs to change the productivity and performance of the team, and commits to make that happen, is to clearly define what needs to change and why. Most efforts to change the productivity of a unit fail because the manager will not take the time to define the “change intent” that needs to be accomplished. The manager will lead the change efforts…so where are you leading the team? Why does the team need to change? What will this productivity change do for the business unit? How will the manager measure the results of productivity change efforts? The manager defines the business unit success that will result from an effort to change performance.
Defining Change Intent
Once the manager has a crystal clear picture of the “change intent”, one that can be communicated to all concerned in less than two minutes, and has pinpointed the way change success will be measured, the next step can be undertaken. The manager will define where the changes for improved productivity must originate. This will require an assessment of each individual and of team dynamics. Be specific regarding what has caused productivity to be less that high-performance. Look at the skills, attitudes and levels of accomplishment for each person in the unit. Analyze the “team dynamics.” What areas of the teams execution are lacking, team-work, mentoring, communication, planning, training and commitment are starting places. Does the manager need to change? Management dynamics such as communication, project planning, status tracking, understanding each member of the team area all areas for candid review of the managers. This assessment must be done and it must be done accurately and it must get at the real issues.
How NOT to implement change in productivity and performance. First lets face facts, people just do not like change, period. People, even motivated people, would like to keep the status quo. Change focused on increasing productivity and developing a high-performance business unit can engender real resistance. Most managers have heard the cry, “oh boy, here comes the latest corporate improvement program! This will not last any longer than the other ones!” We’ve all heard it before. Sometimes a company or business unit is in trouble and under fire and may have no choice but to initiate large wholesale changes. Except for this, the best and most successful process for change will be a purposeful, consistent and deliberately incremental approach. This works best for most managers. The team and individual productivity issues will require time for permanent improvement. The manager should not go after the productivity improvement change all at once, full-bore or a ambitious new initiative.
For productivity change management to work, people need to be engaged but still inside their comfort zone. The manager can break the productivity assessment plan down into manageable bites. Improvement plans and progress can be layered in over time. In communicating the “change intent”, the manager may want to bring only key people into the plan, at least at the outset. In other situations, the manager may need or choose to include all members of the business unit. In either case, do not over-play the productivity change program. The manager can state his or her intent…”I am working on a program to help the team improve productivity with the intent to (state the over-all change intent). This will not be some big and over-whelming initiative. People will be able to go about their business with minimum if any disruption. I want to work together to become a significantly higher-performing team.” That is it. Slow and steady will build the program.
Change Management Requires Effective Delegation Skills
The productivity change program will require a higher level of effective delegation by the manager. The key to productivity improvement is to make the incremental changes in both the individuals and the team by inclusion in the regular assignment or project delegation activities. Here is an example. Suppose the manager have uncovered the need for increased skill in a given area by a employee. The lack of skill or knowledge in this area has been defined as a contributor to the unit’s productivity problems. First, there may be some training needed to get the employee up to speed. In other cases, the development need might be integrated in daily work. Either way, the manager makes the training an integral part of the next assignment. Communicating to the employee, as part of the delegation process, is done as usual and the productivity development opportunity is simply built into the assignment.
Sample Delegation conversation
In the example of a need for skill development, here is one way to package the task and the training together.” Jon, I would like you to complete this assignment which will require some increased skill in (specific area). It needs to be done using existing resources and completed by the last day of this month. I have assigned George as your Mentor on the assignment. He has extensive skill in this area and is willing to assist us. Please meet with George yet this week and layout the plan for completing this assignment.” Once the assignment is completed, the manager can debrief with the employee and the mentor, review what was learned, reinforce the skill training and move forward. The manager can check off the training from the change plan and move to the next assignment.
The manager who works to define their productivity improvement, by clearly defining the change intent needed, and then develops a complete assessment is positioned to launch into incremental steps. No big program for employees to resist. No pushing people outside their comfort zone or into resistance. On a daily basis, the manager can implement the needed productivity improvements by integrating the process into every assignment or project. It begins to improve right away and continues because it has been purposefully aligned. Business goals are met, and the team begins to deliver execution results.This manager and team are well on the way to high-performance. Simple, direct, incremental and consistent. It works.
Additional Resources | Change Management
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