Join us on a TeamX™ Adventure – Newsletter October 2023
Lack of clarity slows you down
What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. If you want people to change, you must provide crystal-clear direction.”
– Dan & Chip Heath, authors of ‘Switch – How to change things when change is hard’
We have seen individuals, teams and entire organisations paralysed by the lack of clarity. When we’re all being asked to increase productivity, lack of clarity slows us down.
When you’re asked, “We need … “
- more pipeline
- more enterprise deals
- to sell the whole solution
… what does it mean? How do you translate that into an action plan for your team? Everyone will have a different interpretation from an ambiguous directive.
No clarity, no commitment
We are unlikely to commit to decisions that seem vague or incomplete or that we haven’t contributed to. After all, how can you really commit if you’re not sure what you’re committing to?
The bottom line is, if people don’t commit to the decisions made, they’re just half-heartedly going along with decisions.
Lead inclusive meetings
I’m sure we have all experienced team meetings where one person dominates the conversation with little or no time for discussion.
If we do not all get the opportunity to contribute, we may leave the meeting not knowing what is required of us. If clarity is absent, we are more likely to have to juggle competing priorities, develop our own misaligned objectives and form silos of smaller working groups.
Great teams understand that they must be able to commit even when the final outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees. Team members need to leave meetings confident that no one is quietly harbouring doubts about what is required and how to support the agreed-to actions.
Clarity without trust
In our Team Speed Check, if we see a high clarity score but a low trust score, it’s an alarm bell for us – it means managers are dictating. People feel like they don’t have a voice. After all, who likes being told what to do?
What’s the plan? (And that doesn’t mean the number)
Very often, particularly with sales teams, the revenue number is used as ‘the plan’ with the ‘action’ part of the plan missing.
An action plan is crucial. Team members who clearly understand how they contribute to the bigger picture will have a greater sense of belonging and commitment. Speed of execution is about creating so much clarity and focus that there is little room for confusion.
We’ll come back to planning in a moment!
Communicate, communicate, communicate
For new initiatives, teams need to be aligned and ready. Leadership must unite behind the plan, provide clarity and over communicate it.
Organisational psychologist, Adam Grant, shares a great point,
Following the ‘Rule of 7’ is a great principle to stick to in successful communication i.e. People need to hear the same message 7 times before they truly absorb and remember it.”
It is also critically important to communicate what is not a priority. If you have clarity, it is much easier to hold one another accountable.
Be a clarity seeker
What are your team dynamics like? Lots of great talk and no action?
Do you have a clarity seeker? Every team needs one. You may already have one. The best 3 minutes of your meeting will be right at the end. Before everyone jumps out of the meeting, take the time to clarify what was decided. You may think you are clear, but it can be surprising (even with the most organised note takers) of who has agreed to do what, and by when. Make sure it’s captured in writing and shared.
Be paranoid about any gaps in understanding – these gaps can very quickly turn into massive holes and send people off in competing directions.
How to create clarity to empower your team
Let’s come back to the practicalities of the planning bit. We have had a few ‘Aha’ moments ourselves this year. There are some simple things that teams can work on to create clarity and empower everyone in their decision making. You’ll be amazed at the energy created when everyone has contributed.
This is just a taster of how we approach this with clients in a Team Acceleration Workshop.
Build your team plan
Step 1: Building alignment and empowering the team
- Find your north star – This isn’t just about why you exist, but where are you going? It will create momentum and energy.
- Agree your top three priorities – How do these relate to the business priorities? If you and your team can boil down how you intend to be successful in just three keyways, it will provide great clarity for everyone to pull in the same direction.
- Build your decision guard rails – Your decision guard rails set people free. It’s how you empower them. – When decision guard rails are securely in place, they provide a filter for everyone to navigate the day to day running of the business. Leaders and teams can assess opportunities, allocate resources and agree the top priorities by making more conscious decisions through the lens of the overall guard rails. Simple, powerful and enduring.
Step 2: Creating an Action Plan
Against each priority, go through the following exercise:
- Urgency – Set a timeframe to fit with the urgency level.
- Team – Agree who is doing what. A good old fashioned RACI exercise will help here.
- Measure – Refer to your priorities during weekly team meetings. Use a simple RAG system. (Check out the Ford story in our TRUST newsletter) – How is everyone doing? – Has anyone hit a barrier? – What help is required to move forward?
- Results – Track, assess, and share the results – Not getting the results you need? Time to assess and change your course. – Be the bright spot in your organization. Share your successes with other teams to create best practice.
If you’re wondering why we’ve included the plan element and where it has come from – it’s part of the business element that we introduce after completing the human element. It’s the bit our clients always want to get to, but it’s important that we always start with the human element.
We hope you found this useful. See you next time!
A bit about us
We help tech organisations execute at speed through the power of TeamX™. As a change management organisation, we help leaders build more engaged, strong, and united teams through a breakthrough business methodology. This is built by rallying behind a common purpose and supported by simplicity in execution – all underpinned by Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors® model.
Discover more at https://amplifiedgroup.co.uk/