Whether it is a pharma company, a software company, or any other kind of company trying to get ahead of the competition, teams get off course. It happens. Even with good people and the best intentions.
Based on helping dozens of teams in dozens of countries, these 5 questions will give you everything you need to know to transform your team and start moving towards a team of distinction.
1. What is the Team Mission? – The first place to start improving any team is aligning around a common cause. In many cases where the team is off-course, they have a mission that is either misunderstood or not bought into. Ask your team members individually what the team mission is. I guarantee that you will be surprised at the variety of answers. Then work as a team to craft a common language and understanding.
2. What are the team’s top priorities? – There is a lot of drag on a leadership team when people view the priorities differently. Dozens of times we have asked team members of top-level teams who are struggling to individually list out the top 5 priorities. To the surprise of the leader, there will be different items listed in different order than on the leader’s list. Once everyone writes them, go around and share them. Then work together to get aligned.
3. How is your stress level? – Everyone has their own sense of how much work is too much work. And on an executive team that is underperforming, the level of stress is always out of alignment with members’ desires. When you ask this question, they will tell you exactly what is getting in the way of them being able to stay focused and productive.
4. What can we do to improve our team meetings? – Every executive team I have helped tells me their team meetings can be better. The most common problem is that most of the time is used for people to report out happenings. Yet most of the team members tell me that they want more time to address problems and discuss longer term issues with their colleagues. So, ask each person this question and then implement their ideas.
5. What can I do to be an even better leader? – Most of your team will not tell you the whole truth about how your approach is impacting them, even if asked. So, ask this question repeatedly until you start getting input. The problem may be that you check in too often and people feel micromanaged. Or maybe you are not around enough, and your team feels that you are not supportive. Maybe you are too tough on your team’s ideas and results. Maybe you are too easy on them. I’ve seen the whole gamut, and each destroys team performance. Once you start getting input, take the time to ask this question every 6 months.
These 5 questions will give you everything you need to turn around your executive team. All you need to do is act on the answers.