Most the work we do pertains to project-based process improvement initiatives. Basically, we facilitate problem solving rapid improvement Events (RIE) aka “Kaizens” using client Teams. I see lots of different team interactions from the Executives that bring us in, and I believe understanding basic guiding principles can help in completing successful projects while developing high-performing Teams. Since you are asking the question, let’s start with you, the Leader – Consider these tips:
- Assemble the proper skill sets and resources to accomplish the goal
- Set both the primary and secondary metrics (Primary – measuring what we fix, Secondary – What we cannot adversely affect while fixing the Primary)
- Set the expectations clearly – “How do we know when we have won?”
- Set and maintain the project scope
- Set the high-level direction. Course correct as needed.
- Remove roadblocks to success
- Let the Team do its job
- Use positive reinforcement
- Recognize and celebrate successes at every step
- Interfere with the Team
- Sweat the small stuff
- Overrule the Team unless it violates the metrics or scope
- Use negativity as a tool to motivate
- Take credit for your Team’s success
- Let decisions or issues linger unresolved
Remember, projects that are focused on problem solving should be about building a confident and effective group of problem solvers. Small mistakes are expected and acceptable. We learn by overcoming them. Encourage your Team to make decisions and support those decisions. When your Team asks for help, jump in, be decisive, and jump back out. Many teams stall-out because they are anxious about making decisions, feel they have no support, feel the culture would not support the level of change proposed, are afraid to ask questions, and/or do not feel comfortable crossing the functional boundaries of the organization. The facilitator will address these artificial constraints, YOUR job is to support the Team’s decisions and actions.
I hope this helps and thanks for reading!