Creating exceptional teams who deliver exceptional projects is as simple – and as challenging – as inspiring ownership. Ownership of strategy. Ownership of outcomes.
How simple (or challenging) is it? Success boils down to one ingredient:
Engaging meaningfully with every person in a team can significantly shift how a project is delivered, how objectives are met, and whether fun is had along the way (this is important!). Outcomes can be dramatically shifted when leaders invest time to engage meaningfully with their teams.
Here are four ways to engage teams and inspire ownership in delivery outcomes:
Some dread them, others live by them. There’s no denying that teams who workshop together smash goals together. An effective workshop is made with passion, planning, and preparation.
Once a team is assembled, make sure there’s no mistaking why every individual is there. A dedicated vision, values and goal-setting session will get a team synergising to create their own goals and objectives, building the bones of a strategy that everyone owns.
The trick to an engaging workshop is giving most of the air time to team members rather than leaders. Leaders can set the scene and lay out the practicalities of the problem to be solved, but team members should be encouraged to bring their talents in building the solution.
People who understand how their decisions impact the greater picture are more engaged with their work and their team output.
In project delivery, every discipline impacts each other. But a team member in the trenches may not have time or inclination to pop up their head and check how their work makes a difference.
Proactive engagement from leaders is essential to demonstrate how day-to-day work and team achievements create waves across an entire project. It’s ok to talk about the commercial, program, contractual, environmental, safety, quality, and community performance, even if it’s outside the team discipline. In fact, big-picture clarity takes a team from just participating to truly own their work.
A daily ‘war-room’, a weekly Work-in-Progress, a monthly review session, a quarterly workshop. It doesn’t matter what the specifics of two-way communication channels look like. What matters is that they’re regular, they involve the right people, they’re structured to record actions, and they move the team forward.
Regular check-ins deliver ownership and accountability only when they’re consistent. Start missing a scheduled weekly meeting, and the created habit fast becomes unhealthy.
Teams who keep to scheduled meeting times, record agreed actions, and follow through on delivering them are teams who own outcomes.
Exceptional results come from people empowered to engage with others, find information, and make the decisions they need to do their jobs.
Where can people find empowerment? From leaders who give freedom. Solid hierarchical structures in project delivery provide clarity around roles and reporting, but when they interfere with peoples’ ability to engage with each other, they bar success.
No matter the level of seniority in a project, all team members benefit from being exposed to senior managers and decision-making processes. Encouraging team members to attend meetings as note-takers, or as a proxy to the leader, can build confidence in approaching senior managers outside of meetings.
Removing the gates to information is part of the transparency package. If it’s inappropriate for team members to attend a meeting, then it IS appropriate for the leader to share information about meeting discussion points, outcomes and reasons behind decisions.
Struber is a force to help leaders create new engagement practices. We can affect internal cultural change that leads to project delivery success. Check out struber.com.au.