Is your team performing well enough that you ignore that one issue that seems to always be a problem? Perhaps it’s that decisions take forever to make, or seem to constantly change with no clear reason. Or maybe communication happens fine 1:1, but when the whole team meets people seem to be holding back, especially when there’s disagreement or conflict.
It can be easy to ignore these sorts of performance glitches, especially if people are eventually getting the work done….but take a minute to consider the real cost. Wasted meeting hours revisiting decisions. Misunderstandings because issues are discussed in small groups, rather than with the whole team. Unnecessary conflict because roles and expectations aren’t clear.
Over time, these glitches add up to lost time, wasted resources, and the potential for important work to fall through the cracks or get derailed. Imagine…what could you and your team accomplish if you tackled that one issue that’s slowing you down?
The three most common performance glitches
In my experience, when teams get bogged down by performance glitches, it’s usually one of three issues that is causing the problem.
1. Decisions are unclear, constantly change, or aren’t followed through on. You’ve probably seen this at some point in your career. There’s no clear process for how the team makes decisions, nobody is sure whose call it really is, and decisions don’t stick. Either they are changed after further discussion, without the whole team being involved, or there’s no follow through. The result of all this? Confusion, frustration, lack of commitment, and stalled progress.
2. Communication doesn’t flow freely, especially when there’s disagreement. People don’t speak up in meetings and say what they really think. Nobody gets consistent, relevant feedback on how they’re doing. The team avoids conflict. In short, people don’t have the skills to clearly and directly communicate with each other, especially in tough conversations, in a way that makes things better rather than worse.
3. Roles and expectations are unclear or confusing. Successful teams require everybody to pull their own weight, but they can run into trouble when there’s no shared understanding about who’s responsible for what. Tasks fall through the cracks, or team members clash over “turf” that they both think is theirs. Unclear roles and expectations also lead to people working at cross purposes, since they have different, contrary ideas about how to best get the work done.
Do any of these performance glitches sound familiar to you? What are they costing you and your team?
What’s possible instead?
Imagine if, instead of dealing with these glitches on a regular basis, your team was humming along with the skills and tools to address them whenever they arose. Here’s what it might look like.
1. You and your team are crystal clear about your decision making process. You routinely clarify how decisions will be made and who has the authority to make certain calls. Because everyone is involved in appropriate ways, people are committed to decisions and hold themselves accountable for following through and making things happen.
2. Communication flows freely, between you and your team and between individual team members. People speak up and say what they think, and don’t shy away from disagreements. Because they have the skills of clear and direct communication, the team is able to give each other effective feedback and handle conflict productively, rather than make things worse with unskillful words.
3. All team members are clear about their roles and what others expect from them. Tasks don’t fall through the cracks because “I thought you were doing that.” If turf wars come up, people recognize them for what they are and resolve them. Instead of operating with unspoken assumptions about how the work will get done, people have the skills to negotiate expectations clearly and directly.
Team Tune-Ups can help you and your team achieve these outcomes!
Team Tune-Ups are one day retreats designed to help you and your team resolve the glitch that’s holding you back. The structure incorporates a blend of facilitating, coaching, consulting, and training that provides you and your team with the structure and tools you need to dive deeply into the specific issue that’s undermining your productivity. In addition, the design includes the pre-work and follow up necessary to foster meaningful participation and create sustainable change.
The main benefits of Team Tune Ups
Regardless of the specific glitch that is challenging your team, a Team Tune-Up offers three concrete outcomes that will resolve the glitch and enhance performance.
You and every team member will have an increased level of awareness about how you get off track. When your specific glitch arises, instead of continuing to get sucked down the rabbit hole everybody will have the awareness to see what’s happening and call the team’s attention to it.
Everybody will have effective tools for addressing the team’s specific glitch when they notice it happening. Every Team Tune-Up offers relevant tools and and materials that you and your team can put to immediate use to change what’s not working. In addition, everybody will have a chance to practice with some of these tools during the retreat to build their skills.
You and your team will end the day with a clear action plan for change. You will forge agreements about how you will operate differently in the future so that your glitch stops slowing you down. Each team member will also leave with a personal action plan for how they will contribute to the team’s success in making these changes.
With increased awareness, effective tools and skills, and a clear plan for change, your team will quickly be able to shift to a higher level of performance.
How are Team Tune-Ups structured?
There are five steps to a Team Tune-Up, regardless of your area of focus.
1. We clarify your desired results. In this first step, I’ll work individually with you (and any other designated team members) to identify and get crystal clear about both the glitch your team is experiencing and what you want to get out of the Tune-Up. In this step, I ask a lot of questions, with the goal of both deepening and challenging your thinking.
2. We gather real-time data. Though this step happens before the actual one-day retreat, it’s one of the most important parts of the Tune-Up. Through individual interviews, I help each team member articulate his or her perspective on the glitch we’re focusing on. The themes that emerge from those interviews are presented back to the whole group at the beginning of the retreat. This process surfaces any “undiscussables” related to the glitch in a non-threatening way, which means the team won’t waste time and energy avoiding them during the retreat itself.
3. We collaboratively design the day. Once we have clear goals and have gathered real-time data, I work with you (and any other designated team members) to build the agenda for the one-day retreat.
4. We conduct the retreat. The day includes a facilitated session discussing the data from the interviews, mini-trainings on different tools related to your team’s glitch, coaching for you and the team as appropriate, and facilitated time for you to develop an action plan for change.
5. We follow up to assess progress. Team Tune-Ups have two built-in follow up sessions with you and your team. Each session is two hours, with the first scheduled about 6 weeks after the retreat and the second scheduled about 4 months after. In these follow up sessions, we’ll evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and the team will agree on any changes to the plan moving forward.
What makes this program different?
The process of individual interviews before the retreat surfaces any “undiscussable” issues, so the team doesn’t have to. Let’s face it – it’s hard to be the first person to publicly name the elephant in the room. The structure of a Team Tune-Up allows people to safely name those elephants in 1:1 interviews. When those issues are included in the data feedback that kicks off the retreat, the entire team breathes a sigh of relief – and the energy that people have spent avoiding the elephants is suddenly unleashed for more useful purposes.
We integrate coaching into the entire process. Rather than conducting a stand-alone retreat where all I do is facilitate your discussion, I bring my coaching hat along to every Team Tune-Up. This means that not only do you get a great retreat, you also get valuable coaching support – before, during, and after the retreat – to help you lead the entire process in a way that will yield the best results.
We measure results. Sure, I want you to feel good after our day together. But feeling good doesn’t always translate into meaningful change. Every Team Tune-Up begins with a survey to measure the team’s current level of performance related to the glitch you’ve identified, and ends with a survey to measure whether things are different. If there’s no change, we keep working.
For additional value, when you sign up for a Team Tune-Up you’ll also receive:
- Brief, bi-weekly phone check-ins with me from the beginning to the end of the program, to make sure that you and your team are on track
- Ad-hoc phone coaching sessions for you and every team member, as requested, for the duration of the program
- Notebooks of all materials provided for every team member
- Documentation of the results of the retreat so that action plan doesn’t get lost in the shuffle
- Written recommendations for what to consider as next steps for your team’s development
Is a Team Tune-Up right for your team?
Team Tune-Ups are a great way to address those niggling performance glitches that are holding you and your team back. But they’re not right for every team or every situation. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about the possibility for your team.
1. Can the issue holding you and your team back be defined fairly narrowly? Team Tune-Ups are for teams that are mostly performing well but are challenged by one specific issue, like decision-making. With that narrow focus, we can make a lot of progress in one day. If your team is under-performing in several ways, or struggling to produce the results that you need, you might want to consider my more intensive program for leaders and their teams, Jumpstarting Team Performance.
2. Does your team have between 5 and 10 people? Team Tune-Ups work best with smaller teams. If your team is smaller or larger than this ideal range, there are other forms of team coaching that may work better for you. Please contact me, and I’m happy to explore with you what’s possible.
3. Is your team free of any serious individual performance issues? Team Tune-Ups are not for teams where one or more people are simply not doing their jobs. If that’s your situation, I’m happy to talk with you about other services that might help you address those individual performance issues.
If you answered “yes” to each of these questions, then a Team Tune-Up may be right for your team!
Ready to take the next step?
If you are intrigued by Team Tune-Ups and want to explore how one may benefit your team, I invite you to fill out the form below to request a free Strategy Session.
In this session, we’ll explore your current situation and challenges, what results you’d like to see instead, and whether this program could be a good fit for you and your team. Whether we end up working together or not, you’ll get value from our conversation. And of course, if you decide this program isn’t for you, you’ll get no pressure to move forward. Just fill out the form below to get started.
To request a free Team Tune-Up Strategy Session, please fill out every field on the form below completely. I’ll get back to you within 2 business days, if not sooner. I look forward to hearing from you!