Find productivity improvements, lower risk and reduce expenses with 4A teams. A good team gives bottom line results consistently and with increasing customer satisfaction. Give managers support from the top to make this happen. In the first article (Identify Structure) positive and negative approaches are identified. In the second (Accountability and Adherence) the priority pair of As are outlined. Now let’s deliver the goods. Action and Alliance build team synergy.
Action: Teams need action. Teams need people of action. Issues erupt. Machines fail. There is no greater pain than walking into a shop that is inactive for hours due to fear of action. Costly hours have been spent with no product to show. Somebody said he would do what she wouldn’t and nobody moved. Inaction is death to excellence. Dysfunctional team structure will exacerbate inaction. Courage and consequence stirs action mode team.
Free action requires empowerment. Right process and policy and procedure give each team member clear expectations and parameters for decisions to achieve organization objectives. If staff needs to consult a manager more than once a week, empowerment is weak.
Alliance: Build key alliances with vendors, suppliers, departments, team members, and customers. Alliances require maintenance. Build trust and tenacity. Never assume loyalty. Strengthen understanding and alliance with allowance for mistakes. High accountability affords grace for mistakes. Do not allow ignorance of the needs of partners and stakeholders.
Check Up on Action and Alliance:
Plus Checks: When team members are proactive are they given immediate and specific feedback? Is proactive approach on every personnel review? Do leadership team meetings include kudos for proactive solutions attributed to team members? Is there an active and up-to-date list of alliance vendors, suppliers, and customers published to the leadership group with assigned action quarterly for communication? Do you have fun events with partners and stakeholders? Do alliances know your strategic objectives for the next 18 months?
Minus Checks: Are team members ignorant of business impact of product and services on the end customer of your customer? Is a clear customer communication process of risk of missing due times integrated into every team member’s expectations? Do team members hesitate to make decisions when management is out of office?
Transition Approaches for Each Dysfunction to Courage and Consequence:
Command and Control: Establish “do then report” into a few key activities. Review your process flow for steering points where decisions can branch to failure and embed a manager call out into the routine. Over time reduce these points with coaching.
Laissez Faire: Explain the business impact of the end customer of the customer to all team members. Make this a part of your management communiqués and public interaction. Establish “down line impact” mentality. Help each person see the impact of their action on the next person in the process stream.
Helicopter Micro Management: Back off. Get out of the way. Identify where you need proactive small steps and find ways to compliment. Focus on progress toward the end goal instead of the end goal. Read a book on positive reinforcement theory and adjust your attitude.
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ― Stephen R. Covey
Staff Rules: Establish clear vision, mission, and 18 month objectives. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Establish buy-in. Don’t do this quickly. Lock yourself out and get a vision, plan, and timeline in your heart and mind. Discuss with the key influencers of the team. Establish lost leadership. Bring firm vision for their discussion.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor E. Frankl
Summary: Action and alliance build a synergistic environment. Big progress is made. Team finds solutions to long term issues on their own. Plaguing process glitches go away. Responsible behavior now is the norm. Joy takes over. Move into 4 As Team. Do it.
COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what needs done. Executives gain insight.
This article focuses on the Be Responsible triad of the operational pyramid.