Saturday, March 15, 2014

Building Our Leadership Team Part 2… Getting Buy-In For Our Team Goals

Where were we…?  Oh yeah… the key.

So… I’ve been the Leader on many different teams, and in many meetings like these ones.  We’re coming up with goals, and I REALLY want several of my goals to end up on this list.  So, of course, I do my best to steer the conversation the way I’d like it to go.  In the fist few years I feel like I’m doing so so… not as well as I’d like, and not bad.  For the next so many years I feel that I’m getting better at making my point, and influencing the people who work for me.  Most importantly I’m getting my goals onto the list, thinking everyone is behind them.  It’s really only in the last 10 years that I realize that no… everyone has always been quite aware of what I’ve been doing, and quietly resenting me (and every other leader who does it) for doing it.  They are not really buying into my goals, since I’m pretty much forcing them onto the list.  Only when my goals happen to be goals that they would all agree should be OUR goals do they actually get behind them.

The point is… people are not as gullible as we like to think.  You will only do yourself a disservice, and chip away at any trust you have been working hard to build by forcing your ideas onto the group.  You have to trust the group.  It’s hard I know, and they will surprise you.

The key here… The best idea is not always the actual ‘best’ idea.  The best idea, the one you should implement, is the one that the most people will buy-into, and get behind.  That is the idea that will get done.  It might not move you as far as your grand idea would have (if everyone would have gotten behind it) and it will move you in the right direction, with everyone feeling good about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and where the team ends up.  Later, you can use the momentum of that success to get the group to come up with a bigger goal, a stretch goal, maybe even where you wanted to go in the first place.  You will also build a lot of trust this way.  Please don’t force it!

Now…  We have a list of goals that we came up with together.  Together, remember!?
OK… so what we actually have is a dream.  It will turn into a plan when we assign action steps.  So that’s the next thing we need to do… assign action steps.  How?  Well… there are a couple of schools of thought here.

One school would have us assign tasks to the people who are best at them, and who would enjoy doing them.  That’s fine and dandy, and might make more sense for our team right now, since we need to reboot.  We are going to be holding our team to higher standards all around, so allowing our apprentices to do what they’re best at is the best thing to do at this time.

The other school, which is more useful when we have a team that is functioning well, states that we should assign tasks to help people learn what they don’t know, things that will challenge them.  So… if you already know how to schedule well, however are not the best buyer, you will be buying until you are a great buyer. 
Once we get our team member base where we need them, we will be able to get both our team members and apprentices trained to be ready for their next job.  Our apprentices will be getting ready to be Leaders on their own teams, and our best team members will be our next round of apprentices.  Yes, we are raising our own leaders.  Do you know of anyone else who is developing leaders to fill your future needs?  I didn’t think so…  with these lessons, with the help of your coach/mentor/therapist, and the books you are reading, you will be changing your team into one that has a culture of developing strong, skilled Leaders, who are well prepared to be successful Leading their own teams.

Getting buy-in with the task assignment is important too, and I would suggest doing this part together at one of your meetings.  This is also your chance to really amp up your apprentice’s energy around getting your team where you want them.  If your current team is like most, you and your apprentices spend untold time and energy just getting the basics done, following up after team members constantly.  Call outs and mediocre job performance keep you putting out fires much of them time.  You have good ideas and plans that rarely come to fruition because of your poor performing team.  Now that you are all on board with what you have all agreed needs to happen, you should take advantage of the momentum and build all of the energy you can.  Moving forward, you as the team Leader, will take every opportunity to maintain that energy, staying positive and celebrating every small win.

Remember when we were indoctrinating our new hire?  Remember how we made sure they knew that we had faith in their success on the team, and that we were excited to have them on the team?  Sure you do (if you don’t go back and read the series on hiring)…  well you are going to do the same thing with your apprentices.  Just because they are part of your Leadership team doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear that you have faith in them.  We all need to hear that.  We all need to hear our Leader say:  I’m really happy to have you on the team; I’m so proud of your accomplishments so far; You have everything you need to be successful; I will do whatever I can to help you achieve your goals; you are an important part of the team, and a key to our success! 

You know how a Buddhist might say something like ‘stop striving after what you don’t have, and want what you have’?  Want what you have?  Yes… these apprentices are the ones you have.  Do you honestly feel the statements in the paragraph above are true?  Are you happy to have them as part of your Leadership team?  If not, you need to rethink this whole thing.  In order to really change the culture on a team you need the complete buy-in of everyone on your Leadership team.  You will not be able to fool any of your apprentices into believing what you do not believe.  So… want what you have.  It will take some work, and… they are probably capable of doing everything you need them to do.  They are probably not as: dumb, disinterested, slow, uncaring, ignorant, and anything else you can add, as you think.  Mostly, I’ve found that people need to be believed in.  They need to be appreciated, and trusted.  They need to be cared about, and feel that they are an important part of the team.  Feel that, and let them know you feel that, and you will be amazed at what they will do for you.  This you cannot fake… you must feel it.  Want what you have. 

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I think this great article kinda fits here… 

And this…

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