OPD Articles / ...But what do I do?


...But what do I do?

by Dr Graham Little PhD AFNZIM MInstD MNZIC

All this theory is fine, but what does a team leader actually do to develop improved human performance?

Before spelling that out, let's briefly look at the key aspects of the model.

1. Every role is dominated by outputs derived from the strategy.
a.It is very important to ensure an effective cascade of goals from the strategy into each role.

2. Because of the goal<-->action principle, which says that for every goal there are actions necessary if the goal is to be achieved, there are definite actions identifiable in every role that must be carried out if the goal is to be achieved. These actions are called ideal behaviours or ideals for short and must represent the best chance of the greatest success at achieving the goals.

3. The key cultural issue is building the self-discipline (professionalism) so that the ideals are acted out with commitment. Significant cultural issues for each person are then as follows:
a.Clarity of goals (KPIs).
b.Clarity of ideals.
c.Commitment to own success.
d.Commitment to act out ideals.
e.Sense of support from team leader and from leadership generally.
f.Understanding that personal success is self-disciplined acting out of ideals.
g.Provision of monitoring and feedback on whether ideals are being acted out and are working.

Actual immediate steps

The process is below, we have found that taking shortcuts with this process erodes application and effort and so erodes results.
  • Get ideals clear and agreed in relation to the agreed standards (KPIs).
  • Gain agreement they want to be successful in their job and that delivery of these ideals is the surest way of achieving the KPIs.
  • Agree with them that delivery of these ideals demands self-discipline.
  • Discuss with people how they will deliver the ideals; make sure they can 'see' themselves doing it in their minds eye.
  • Tell them as leader you will provide feedback on their success and you are there to support them be as successful as they choose to be.
  • When KPIs achieved celebrate with them.
  • When KPIs not achieved review what ideals not done. Express disappointment and that you have been let down. Reinforce whether they want to be successful, and reaffirm the ideals as the best way of achieving the greatest success.
  • Their improved success is a matter of them finding the self-discipline. Ask them: if they do not exercise the self-discipline, what do they expect you to do?
  • Review what they will do to ensure they do all the ideals and so the shortfall in results does not happen again.

    Your key leadership task is to gain commitment of the people to act out the ideal behaviours (actions) needed so KPIs achieved.

    Make sure you can 'see' your own ideals and are living them fully and professionally, that is the crucial cultural example you need set for the team you lead.

    Making it happen

    Businesses do not just happen they are made to happen. The drive is focused application; it needs come from the leadership team. But what do these words mean? We all sort of think we understand, but in terms of the model above what do they mean?

    First, as the team leader ensure you are committed to achieving the budget:

    Now for example, imagine you are a senior retail manager, and the budget depends on the level of foot-traffic onto your premises. Now, imagine the foot path outside your premises was being altered and ripped up. This would seriously impact your foot traffic, and would seriously impact your budget.

    Now by the model key aspects of the budget are delegated to various people according to their role. So now the sales manager has the problem of ensuring the level of foot traffic is not seriously reduced as a result of the alterations.

    Second, as a committed team leader you follow up with the sales manager and ensure that every possible action, no matter how small, is being done to ensure potential customers are able to access the site, have easy parking, there is plenty of strong signage guiding people what to do and where to go…etc. No stone unturned…budget only missed by whisker for the two months of the alterations. Then you guide creative workshops on what has to be done to gain that extra, extra work hours, extra effort on follow ups, pull forward those sales which were really scheduled for next quarter on basis there is a whole quarter to replace them, all to ensure that the current quarter budget is achieved.

    Drive: the commitment to the goals as agreed backed by the creative overcoming of any and all problems that could get in the way of achieving the result.