This post will explore how to align a team around a particular direction to improve performance.
The basic steps are as follows:
- Create mission / vision statements that show the purpose and direction of the team
- Set clear and achievable goals both for the team as a whole and for individual team members
Team managers must set the direction of the team, specifically by:
- Creating the mission and vision of the team
- Developing a set of team values
- Setting the goals & objectives that the team needs to achieve
- Formulating a team charter
Creating a mission and vision for your team
A teams mission is a statement of purpose about what why the team exists. Here is an example for our customer service team
We exist to ensure that our customer’s expectations are exceeded whenever they need help, by responding quickly, in a friendly way and not giving up until they are 100% satisfied.
A team’s vision is a description of what a team wishes to become in the future. Here is an example of a vision for our customer service team.
To create customer service experiences that are so great our customers tell other people about them, and are confident in our ability to solve their unique problems.
Developing a set of team values
A team’s values show what it stands for and believes in. This might sound wishy washy but studies have shown that teams that have thoughtful, positive and aligned sets of values are able to perform more successfully.
Here are some examples of values for our customer service team:
Show Respect – Every customer is your most important customer
Personalize – Avoid preconceived notions and stereotypes
Pay Attention – Assess how customers want to be served and adjust
Show You Care – Present a positive, supportive attitude
Advocate – Stay on your customer’s side
Here is a good article explaining some other possible customer service values.
Setting team goals & objectives
The next step is to set goals and objectives, which are often expressed as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Goals are set effectively by using the SMART model, they should be
Specific – Goals should be clearly stated and related to specific aspects of the teams work
Measurable – Goals should objective & quantifiable
Achievable – Goals should be achievable – if it isn’t there is no hope, however if it isn’t challenging it’s not motivating
Realistic – Similar to the above goal, should be realistically related to the team’s work
Timely – Goals should have target dates or time frames
Formulating a Team Charter
Team Charters are documents that define the purpose of the team, how it will work, and what the expected outcomes are. They are “roadmaps” that the team and its sponsors create at the beginning of the journey to make sure that all involved are clear about where they’re heading, and to give direction when times get tough.
There is no specific format for a team charter but the following can be used as a starting point:
What is the team purpose? This is the team’s mission and vision.
What are our desired end results and goals? These are the team’s objectives and goals.
How will the team work together? This will specify how the team members will interact, work and communicate together.
Who are the key stakeholders? This lists the key stakeholders and how the team will interact with them.
I am currently implementing this in my companies and I believe it will yield significant benefits, both tangible (e.g. output) and intangible (e.g. morale). I hope it will help you achieve the same!