Four Strategies to Improve
Team Effectiveness

Now, you and your team can immediately
improve focus, clarity and results.

By JP Maroney, CEO

Building teams and improving team effectiveness rank high on every manager's list of things do. Expectations from superiors and the demands of a competitive marketplace force many leaders to find new ways to do more work with fewer people.

The task of building better teams and improving their effectiveness can be broken down into four simple and straightforward steps.

1) Clarify Your Team Mission

You might be surprised how many companies, departments, and project teams fail to agree on, and follow a clearly defined, well-understood mission. Make sure your team doesn't fall into this trap. Simply stated, your mission is the team's reason for being - its purpose!

For example, if your team is responsible for front-line, customer service, your mission might be to exceed your customer's expectations by providing solutions to their problems, and building long-term relationships. If your team is responsible for new products, your mission might be to create innovative products and services that make the client's life easier and more enjoyable -- Or products and service that save the client money, Etc. You get the idea!

Be sure that each member of the team knows the mission, can articulate that mission, and understands the role they play in fulfilling the mission.

2) Set Team Goals!

Every team should have definite objectives or goals. Here are three guidelines for setting team goals:

Number One, the objectives, or goals, should support the team's mission or purpose. In other words, every goal the team pursues should assist the team in fulfilling its mission. Remember, the mission is the entire reason for the team.

Number Two, goals should be measurable. For example, instead of saying, we want to increase sales this month; a specific goal should be set for a definite increase. A measurable goal might be, this month we will increase sales by fifteen percent over last month's sales totals. Or, this month we will increase sales by fifteen thousand dollars over last year's sales totals for this same month. That's a measurable goal.

Number Three, goals should have a date. In other words, instead of saying we want to grow our customer base to include five hundred customers, you should add a date, and say "our goal is to grow our customer base to five hundred customers by the end of the fourth quarter."

3) Create A Plan

A team plan is simply a written blueprint for the team's success. It spell's out the team's mission, outlines the teams goals, and lays out a strategy for fulfilling the team mission and reaching the goals. This plan should clearly state the responsibilities of each person on the team, what they do, and how they do it. It should outline what each person does, and how he or she is accountable.

A written team plan should also break each of the team's goals down into specific action steps, and indicate who is responsible for each item on the list. This team plan provides a powerful tool for keeping everyone focused on the team's mission and objectives, and also helps avoid any confusion about the responsibilities of each team member.

4) Conduct Progress Reviews.

These are simply meetings where the team members come together to discuss the team's results and future plans.

Here are some items you should consider covering in a Team Progress Review.
  • Check to make sure the team is effectively accomplishing its mission.
  • Review the team's goals and make necessary adjustments. This is a great time to keep the team goals out in front of everyone.
  • Review the team plan and determine if any updates or changes need to be made to make the team more effective. Talk about the things that are working well, and discuss what areas need to be improved.
  • Clarify responsibilities for each team member and the actions they need to take next.
  • Set a date for the next Progress Review.
When conducting one of these meetings, have a printed agenda for every participant, start and end on time, and keep the meeting on track by following the agenda. And one final note, a team has to be willing to work together to stay on track and these progress reviews will keep the team focused instead of turning into a chaotic nightmare.

Employee Motivation Expert JP Maroney JP Maroney is Founder and CEO of People Builders, an international human development and professional training company specializing in management and employee development systems.

He helps companies develop employee-driven, customer-focused corporate cultures where employees at every level think and act like owners and take personal responsibility for the organization's success.

Visit for a great resource on motivating employees.

More Team Building Articles by JP Maroney

Copyright 2004 JP Maroney International.
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