- How creating clear goals not only helps you achieve team alignment but helps build a feedback loop between you and your team. (3:21)
- Why celebrating your success is not only fun but vital to your team’s ongoing improvement and success. (7:06)
- As leaders our responsibility is to help our teams be successful, we talk through how you can best provide resources and tools to help empower your team. (8:49)
Interesting Links & Resources
Is your organization growing? TEAMES & CO can help you build a culture of innovation, define your strategic plan, and accelerate your growth.
Related Episodes: Empowering your team through the creation of Individual Development Plans in Episode 11
Listen to Episode 10
Episode 10 Transcript
Luis Wilson (00:34):
Hi, welcome to Building Teams with TEAMES & CO. I'm Luis Wilson, and I'm here with Tracy Eames. Hey Tracy, how are you?
Tracy Eames (00:41):
I'm doing well, Luis. How are you doing this week?
Luis Wilson (00:44):
I'm doing great. We got a lot of feedback from listeners on last week's episode, and we decided to really kind of dive a little bit more into the topic that we touched on. So for anybody who didn't hear last week's episode last week, we discussed how leaders can achieve both the objectives of building culture in their companies, as well as accelerating growth in their companies and their teams by using communication. We went through some of the best practices to keep in mind through a framework of the who, what, when, where, when, why in the communication. We also talked through some examples. This week, we want to talk about the larger topic of investing in our teams and really go through how we can go about building empowered teams to accelerate that growth and talk high level about some of the areas that we invest in, and some of the best practices and things to keep in mind in those areas.
Luis Wilson (01:35):
So let's jump right in Tracy. I know that our first area is shared purpose, ambition, and strategy, when investing in our teams, can you talk about that?
Tracy Eames (01:45):
Creating a shared purpose and a shared vision is absolutely the first place that we start with teams. If you think back to a time that maybe you were a part of a team before your work life, maybe a sports team, there's always that shared goal. That might've been winning a championship, but there's a stated goal that you're all trying to work to achieve as a team. In our organizations, that's to serve our customers or serve our clients, and that really creates that shared purpose.
Tracy Eames (02:13):
Creating that exceptional customer or client experience is what drives the organization forward, and it helps us achieve our mission and vision, whatever that may be for our organization. The benefit of creating a shared purpose going back to last week's episode, is that not only is it a shared purpose, vision that your team can coalesce around and connect with at a culture level, it's also something that's going to help you move faster and accelerate your growth because your team is going to be fully aligned on what that vision and what that strategy is so everybody will be working together.
Luis Wilson (02:56):
Thank you for sharing that and really highlighting that shared purpose can have us both connect with the culture at a stronger and deeper level, and drive faster towards their goals since we all have that shared vision. Off that shared vision, we really get goals that ladder off of that. Can you talk about how we can focus on our goals to invest in our teams, Tracy?
Tracy Eames (03:21):
Goals come exactly as you say. Goals are coming out of our shared strategy and vision, especially because we've spoken about this on previous podcasts as well. When we say teams, we're often speaking about the broader concept of a team. It might be the team that we directly work with each day, it also could be a cross-functional team. Or it could be a leadership team that we have to report up into. Having clear goals across the organization that all align into the strategy helps us make sure that no matter which team we're working with, we're all working together. So oftentimes, when organizations speak to us, they might be facing a challenge where there's a large-scale project that they're trying to implement, but they're seeing it not progress as fast as they would like it to progress. There's some stumbling blocks along the way.
Tracy Eames (04:17):
What we often focus on first and foremost is, are all the team members goals aligned? Are marketing, sales, IT, product, HR, everybody's goals, all laddering up into the same strategy? Oftentimes what we see if we're not all aligned is those cross-functional endeavors and bigger projects become really difficult to achieve because potentially we might not be working towards the same set of goals. So everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing because they're all working to achieve their goals, but we as leaders, haven't done the work to align those goals across the organization to make sure that everybody's priority is very clear. So when you think about investing in your team, one of the key ways that you can do that is making sure that everybody has individual goals that ladder up into a team goals. And then that ladder up into the company strategy and the company goals.
Tracy Eames (05:17):
The reason for this is because it allows your team members to feel very empowered, because they know what they do every day is positively impacting the overall success of their team and then their team is positively impacting the overall success of the organization. This helps to accelerate our growth because our teams are all working together and our goals are all aligned, but also from a culture perspective, this helps us celebrate. It helps us celebrate each time we win together and so as our teams and our goals are aligned, we're going to be achieving more success and remembering to kind of invest in our teams and take the time to celebrate those wins is really important. There's nothing more deflating than working really hard on a project and then not celebrating the win, right? Can you imagine winning a game and then not celebrating? It doesn't happen, right?
Tracy Eames (06:13):
When we succeed together, we want to take the moment to really recognize that moment and find ways to do that. That might be a little bit different nowadays, because I know a lot of teams are virtual, however still making sure that we're finding unique ways where we can highlight that during a team meeting or a virtual town hall. Just some time to say thank you and recognize the team for that win. Again, it helps reinforce our culture, that our efforts matter. It also reinforces what is success in the organization and helps us accelerate the growth. Because if we're celebrating together, that's a very clear signal to all of us that we should be doing more of that and if we have that clear signal, we know where to be investing our time and our energy.
Luis Wilson (06:59):
So, very important part of investing in the teams is not just setting of the goals, but of course, celebrating them once your team does hit those targets. Thank you, Tracy. Another area that's more traditional when we thinking about investing in our teams is resources and tools. Can you talk about that?
Tracy Eames (07:16):
Resources and tools have become even more important in 2020 than probably ever before. As our teams are experiencing such high levels of change, no matter what that change is, making sure they have the tools and resources they need to be successful is a very vital way to invest in them. It's very hard to ask people to reach the goals we're asking them to reach if we're not also giving them the tools and resources to be successful to get there.
Tracy Eames (07:47):
Now, there might be certain constraints on some things that we can't control, but we want to make sure that we're continuously having that dialogue with our team members about; What do you need? How can I help you? If I can't get you that, can we figure out a different solution to get you what you need in terms of a tool or a resource? There might be budgetary constraints. There might be other constraints that are out of our control, but the more we can speak to our teams and understand what they need in terms of tools and resources, especially during change, we can hopefully work together to solve those challenges and make sure that they're empowered. Again, we want to make sure that they're empowered and they have the resources and tools to be successful.
Luis Wilson (08:39):
Thanks Tracy. You started at ensuring that we're investing in the shared purpose and vision of our team, then investing in goals. We just talked about investing in resources and tools, and the fourth and last area that we're going to talk about, is investing in our teams is process. What are some to look out for best practices and process when investing in our team?
Tracy Eames (08:59):
First and foremost, it's to have a process. Many teams don't have a process, and so a very basic process looks like having one-on-one meetings with each of your team members, but also having a team meeting and also having a broader process for engaging with teams you may work with. So that might look like: once a week I meet with each one of my team members individually to make sure I have one-on-one time where they can voice their concerns. We can have goal discussions, things that are more appropriate for a one-on-one session or conversation. Two, it might look like a weekly team meeting then where you all get together. We get project updates on what's going on across the team. So each week we're staying closely connected within our functional unit. That might be a marketing team, or a sales team, or a finance team.
Tracy Eames (09:47):
Then third, we might have a monthly meeting with cross-functional teams that we work with. In a traditional setting, if it's not a special project, the marketing team might have a broader monthly meeting with sales, with operations, with customer support and this would be just to make sure that everybody knows what's happening. So if marketing is inviting customer support, sales, and operations to their meeting, operations knows, okay, marketing is doing a big promotion next month - we might have a higher volume that we need to be fulfilling during that promotion, right? So it helps operations forecast their needs. Customer support knows, oh, we might get more questions about promotional codes, so we should be ready with a few FAQ's around what marketing is doing. Sales knows, oh, there's a promotion, I should be able to present this to my customers, so that way my customers know about this promotion.
Tracy Eames (10:40):
So those monthly meetings help you all stay on track about what's happening across your teams. That not only invests in your team, but it also invests in the broader organization because everybody's more empowered to be able to work together. Now that might also kind of, in terms of your process, you might have other teams that you're working with on a project and your cadence might be a little bit different, but just a high level example of kind of a day-to-day process that you might use.
Luis Wilson (11:10):
Thank you, Tracy. I'm sure a lot of our listeners can relate with some of the multiple meetings and then also in the different forums that we have with the different groups that we're apart of at work. For some of the more mature teams, what are some ways to rethink those typical processes to get a little bit more out of them?
Tracy Eames (11:27):
I think that's a great question and a great ad in terms of how do you start to build and develop processes specifically for your team? So if you think about now, to your point, there might be a team that is really well-defined, but there might be a specific point where certain changes in the process are more helpful. So if you think about virtual teams, maybe you're finding that your team is missing that connection that you used to have in more informal ways. Right. You saw each other in the hallway, or maybe you saw each other at the cafeteria, or in the break room, and you're missing that now. So you could even repurpose a team meeting where you could either have somebody present on something that's just interesting to them or a hobby of theirs. Or you could use the last half hour to create connection time where you break up into small groups and let people just chit chat for a few minutes and then you switch it up.
Tracy Eames (12:22):
So it's - you and I would be in a breakout and then after a couple of minutes, we would switch it and I would be in a breakout with somebody else and you'd be in a breakout with somebody else, and there's no real goal. It's just to build that connection because you've realized with your team, that's a really important thing that you might be missing in this moment. Similarly, another team might figure out that there's something else that they want to work on in terms of their process. That maybe they were using Zoom calls all the time and that wasn't working for them, so they're going to think about what calls they want to have on Zoom versus which calls they want to have by telephone, and what communications they just want to share via email.
Tracy Eames (13:03):
Some groups that have been going through the goal process for a really long time and they're really used to that cadence, they might say, hey, you know what? We usually do our goals once a year, but we actually want to do a quarterly, a smaller review each quarter. Not that we're handing it into an overall organization, but we want to have like a checkpoint meeting each quarter. So part of our process is going to be within our team to kind of just make sure we're spending that time to review our goals each quarter, making sure they're still up to date. If they're not up to date, we're adjusting them. So you can start to think about some of these cadences in your team that may or may not be fully tuned or just ways to get feedback from your team about, hey, how's our process going? Is there something you want to add or something you want to take away? It doesn't have to be, once you said it, you just never think about the process again. It's a living, breathing mechanism for you and your teams to connect together.
Luis Wilson (13:59):
Thank you for sharing those examples. The ways that we can repurpose team meetings or even set up those rotating calls, like we talked about, those are ways that leaders can think about not just investing in their teams through a process, but making sure that they're tailoring and customizing it for their teams. Again, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts this week, Tracy. We really appreciate it. We'll see you next week.