Most teams will have challenges. How they understand the obstacles & learn while working together is what separates high-performance teams from average teams.
Not all problems can be or should be prevented
What should you do when you encounter difficulties?
- Return to the 7 Steps to High-Performance Teams model. Ask the team where they are; What evidence they have to support their progress; How they can move to the next step; What obstacles or challenges may impede progress.
- Return to your Project Charter. Confirm that the team knows the Goals, Roles, and Procedures.
- Take time on a regular basis to assess how the team is doing, identify any issues, and make necessary adjustments.
Sometimes a Team Effectiveness Survey can help.
A survey I use has 13 questions and will supply an understanding of where each person on the team is, and where to focus clarifying steps to make progress.
Here’s an example of ‘Procedures for the Team’ survey questions and format.
- This is the 1st area I look into when a team is having personality or interpersonal problems. What is seen as strong personalities may be competent people doing what they think is right – in many different directions.
The 5 Team Procedure questions look at how the work gets done.
“Changes to how the work gets done, changes how people work”
- Known Procedure: The team follows a standard and known procedure for the teamwork/project itself and for problems that come up on the team. We define problems carefully, identify possible causes, consider alternative solutions. We are all encouraged to contribute our ideas, which are evaluated on merit. Everyone participates in problem-solving; such sessions are not dominated by one or two assertive members.
- Decision Making: Decision-Making methods fit the decisions to be made. Team members and non-members are involved in decisions when their input is essential for a quality decision, or when their understanding and acceptance of a decision is important. The time we spend on decisions is used well rather than wasted. We make and implement necessary decisions rather than leaving them hanging.
- Meeting Management: Our meeting are planned and well managed. We define and explore issues and achieve closure. We pass information efficiently and effectively. Our meetings begin and end more or less on schedule, the right people are involved, and we leave with a sense of accomplishment and time well spent.
- Conflict Management: When a disagreement arises on the team, we handle it in a manner appropriate to the conflict. Where it makes sense to smooth feelings, we do so. When it’s appropriate for someone to take charge and make a decision, that happens. When compromise is called for, we all give and take a little. When the conflict is important, we ensure that disagreeing parties present their positions in detail, we listen carefully, and we try to come to a resolution that makes sense to everyone.
The Team Effectiveness Survey and questions serve the team to determine agreement and gaps that need to be addressed.
Having a process to evaluate where the team currently is and working together to make progress helps the team work and build the team while accomplishing shared goals.