For most CEOs, how to align their team is a never-ending challenge which produces frustration, anger and despair.
After working with CEOs of over 2,000 companies, I’ve found these five simple dynamics to effortlessly create self-managing, self-governing, high-performance teams.
Feedback works when it empowers people by exploring what worked, what did not work and what needs to be done differently. This is an energising pursuit.
Contrast this with most CEOs who are upset when the result isn’t achieved. They use feedback as a tool to find fault to vent their frustration.
The tone of the questions is distressing for the recipient. The result is a loss of energy. It becomes difficult for them to bounce back.
At best, they perform through fear of being scolded. This is not a sustainable way to grow a self-governing and self managing team.
When you ask “Why things didn’t get done”, the culture in most organisations is one of the reasons, excuses or justifications. Commitments are black and white. Either they did what they promised or they did not. There are no grey areas.
To create a culture of commitment, your people need to feel safe to say “no” to unrealistic requests and share their criteria that prompts them to say “no”.
This reveals gaps in resources, information and support they require. Your team feels supported and independent and will take on bigger challenges automatically.
Your team shifts to operate from commitments and promises as opposed to stories, excuses and justifications. You enable this shift by allowing them to say “no”.
Most countries have well-defined consequences. People resist the temptation of speeding to avoid being fined. Known consequences govern behaviour, creating order and discipline.
In many organisations, consequences are not clearly defined, which causes a mediocre performance culture. You can easily create a culture of consequences with your team through a democratic process.
Create two columns with five rows. Mark the columns as “Slip” and “Harm”. Mark the rows as Level 1 to 5. In each column write three “offences” and decide consequences.
You will be left with ten types of offences with corresponding consequences. A slip is like a civil offence and has a lighter consequence — eg, delayed deadlines.
A harm offence is like a criminal offence and has stricter consequences — eg, harming the company’s reputation, insulting clients etc. This framework enables your teams to interpret the consequences of each type of behaviour.
This may seem basic, but I guarantee you’ll see accelerating results in your company. If you’re not happy with the behaviour change, you can always increase the severity of the consequences. For example, the government would double or triple speeding fines until drivers start feeling the pinch. When that happens it becomes an effective consequence that creates the desired shift in behaviour.
Peter Drucker said, “What you don’t measure, you can’t manage”, and a robust inspection process is a vital component of creating a high-performance team. Inspection is about the art of asking “discovery questions” that helps the team to accurately diagnose the relationship between what they are doing and the results they are producing, enabling them to modify their actions to produce desired results effortlessly.
Supportive inspection gets your team into effective action. They will begin to look forward to these reviews and they will be ready with their updates knowing the inspection supports them to get things done, as opposed to blaming and shaming them.
Music without rhythm leads to noise. Each musician will do their own thing. Rhythm transforms everything into sweet music. Execution without a meeting leads to chaos. Establish a routine of daily and weekly meetings and ask your team simple questions like: What were your big victories of the last 24 hours? What are you planning to do in the next 24 hours? What are the blocks? Who can resolve the blocks?
Keep it simple and maintain the rhythm. Just get each person to answer these questions and then allocate sufficient time for your teams to solve whatever comes up.
This rhythm helps your team work in coordinated action to produce the result you want.
I have consistently found these five simple dynamics have the power to transform your business through self-governing, self-managing, high performance teams.
Rajesh Nagjee is founder of The CEOs Business Growth Program.