In post 6.4, we introduced the components of great teams. In this post, we will share tools for assessing teams. The effectiveness of teams is most often the result of organizational reinforcing systems that support at-our-best behavior, and address out-of-bounds behavior; we will discuss these systems next, in Section 7. The assessment and evaluation process is the first step in creating aligning supportive reinforcing systems.
We find clients appreciate understanding their performances status versus a benchmark standard or a previous performance standard. One of the benefits of team performance assessment is the identification of areas of excellence. When a team’s area of excellence is identified, it helps us appreciate our strengths and capitalize on them even more, as we move forward. Likewise, when a weakness is identified, we can address it with the challenge to get better.
Two Cautionary Tales
Measuring how good we are as a team requires an understanding of human nature. Does what we measure and reward drive behavior? Is that the behavior that ensures long-term sustainability? We sometimes see clients measuring success for the short-term success, only to hurt the organization in the long term. We need to understand that “What you measure is what you get.” How do the goals and rewards impact how the team works together, performs together, and ultimately succeeds together. Are the rewards purposeful for sustainability?
We have seen two sobering examples of unintended—and disastrous—consequences of poorly-considered metrics.
- In 2015, news broke that in Volkswagen (VW) cars built for the U.S. market, the manufacturer had installed software that manipulated emission controls. Scandal, criminal charges, fines, and a breakdown of public trust following the revelations. Metrics for success at VW did not respect for customers, or the law.
- Wells Fargo has had its string of scandals over the last year or so, starting with news that many of its employees were setting up fake customer accounts. What drove this clear and widespread breach of ethics? The pressure of unreasonable sales quotas set down by management has been cited as a major factor.
The Components of Great Teams
As we covered in post 6.4, here are the elements your team assessment should include:
- A Compelling and Clear Purpose for Being
- Fulfillment and Purpose
- Stage III Fulfillment – Contributing for the Benefit of Others
- Stage IV Fulfillment – Legacy Fulfillment
- The Principles of Trust and Caring
- A Positive Mindset
- A Growth Mindset
- A Responsibility for Results
- Fulfillment and Purpose
Team Assessment Tools
Now that you have a sense of the components to assess your team on, it’s time to develop a tool to help understand where you are on your journey to greatness. Options include:
Building a customized assessment tool, setting the criteria for each of the components listed above, can be enriched by sharing specific stories of what your team looks like when at its best for your organization. This exercise itself is a powerful team-building experience. It is through stories that we touch people’s emotions, and through emotions that we create natural change. It is the words that describe stories of performance at its best that will guide future decision-making. The questions for the assessment are important, but only as a guide to remind you of stories of what you look like when our best that is the standard for all to seek.
Internet search engines make it is possible to easily find team assessment tools that fit your organization’s needs. In addition to the vital components listed above, many tools have add-ons that may be applicable to your team’s needs. Once again, this tool development exercise is a great opportunity for your team to take ownership of what they want to look like when at their best. The range of tools available is vast, and the exchange of ideas about what works best for your organization will be educational, meaningful and a team-building experience for those who build your assessment tool.
Real-Time Team Assessment Platform – www.GPS4Leaders.com
We find the work we do with clients sticks best when there are regular, reinforcing best-practice reminders; old ways die hard, despite best intentions. Leveraging current technology, we are creating GPS4Leaders as a tool to help organizations understand the components of great teams, and how they are performing from multiple stakeholder perspectives, against a standard of greatness. The assessment tool provides real-time 360-degree feedback with a dashboard to share how well the team is performing.
There will be suggested next steps for improvement for each component being assessed. The assessment experience will heighten each team member’s awareness that they can move the performance dial themselves. Team members will gain greater awareness of, and responsiveness to, what others are seeing and assessing in their performance on a regular basis.
We plan to launch GPS4Leaders for Teams in early 2018. You are invited to sign up for updates on the release.
Celebrating successes may be the best reinforcing system for at-our-best performances. Having a scoreboard that shares incremental improvement, and sharing the means that made those improvements possible, builds teams for sustainability, whether in sports or business. We want a scoreboard that shows how we are doing, we want to contribute, and we want to see progress and to know we make a difference.
The power in any organization is found in its ability to perform as one team, on the same page, working together to benefit something greater than any could create individually. This requires a team-based performance assessment scoreboard so we can understand how we are performing together. The increased awareness itself that comes from components being assessed can strengthen behaviors. When the team helps build the performance scoreboard for assessing their progress towards a shared goal, it intrinsically motivates individual team members to perform naturally at a higher level. Once again, it is more important to get started with an assessment tool and incrementally improve on your journey to greatness.
Leadership Challenge Questions
- Do you have an objective means of assessing how well your team is functioning:
- as a team, on the same page?
- for the long-term?
- Is your team being rewarded for working together? Could they interpret that they are being rewarded for operating independently?
For those new to this series . . .
This blog is for leaders who desire to capitalize upon natural strengths to realize individual and organizational greatness. We share insights from an upcoming book on The Foundation of Greatness (FOG), the template we have developed to help our clients achieve their personal and organizational potential.
I have been privileged to spend 42 years in the Team Building business, including 21 years at University of Michigan Athletics. For the first 11 years of my tenure at U-M Athletics, I worked with Football Coach Bo Schembechler, one of our nation’s most exemplary leaders and team builders. My work has revealed there is much more to sustainable greatness than talent. Being a systems engineer, I was fascinated by the science behind what made sustainable greatness possible. There are many great leaders who possess the talents Bo embodied; because of my life experiences with Bo, he may be referenced more than others.