If you are leading a team, on a team, or consulting with a team, we have learned that it’s important to ask, “How are we doing?” The recommendations from members and key stakeholders can make all the difference in how the team performs going forward.
A brief pause to measure team effectiveness can help teams gauge how they are doing against those practices and behaviors that correlate strongly with what top teams do. Plus, well designed survey reports can quickly pinpoint specific actions the team could and should take to improve.
As we researched best practices in teams, the leaders told us how valuable it was to pause and reflect on how the team was doing. They added that anonymous surveys, in particular, and follow-up meetings to review results were invaluable. They provided all members (particularly the quiet or introverted members) with an open platform to share what they believed the team was doing well, voice any concerns they harbored, and suggest what they believed the team could do better going forward.
We have also learned that some teams avoid formal assessments. Perhaps they fear that a report card will reflect negatively upon them, and only highlight what the team is doing poorly. Our experience suggests otherwise. In fact, we have found that surveys, particularly those based on validated criteria, can provide teams with many positive benefits. For example, they can:
- Accelerate goal attainment – Team surveys can strengthen alignment and commitment to a common set of goals and priorities. They can help members scrutinize their goals and objectives and address any misunderstandings, emerging trends, competitive threats, budget changes or gaps in thinking.
- Build Motivation – Teams often do not set aside time to relish in the glory of their many accomplishments. Surveys often highlight much of what teams do well. Celebrating what is going right can have a lasting impact, motivating members to build on their strengths and become even more engaged.
- Enhance Accountability – Surveys can provide a baseline measure. Members often become much clearer about what they must do to make improvements and track progress going forward. They become much more accountable and responsible for the team’s success.
- Boost Performance – We tune-up our cars periodically to ensure they are running at peak performance. It’s a best practice. Similarly, we can tune-up teams. They too need a check-up to maintain their high-octane performance. These tune-ups can proactively and immediately address small issues before they become BIG issues.
- Strengthen Collaboration and Trust – Team assessments can build and strengthen the norms and habits that enhance how members treat one another, learn as a team, fine-tune their processes and practices, and manage key stakeholders.
Are your teams pausing periodically to ask, “How are we doing?” Our experience strongly suggests that the time and effort is invaluable. In fact, it’s priceless.