How Good Is the Team You Have in Place?
By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 2008
The organization thus functions like a complex molecule, with the various teams as its atoms and each leader as a nucleus. And as long as any given team does not show obvious signs of radioactive decay, the comfortable assumption is that it's stable and performing as intended.
Naturally, team members have their foibles. Tom, for example, tends to become passive-aggressive when assigned tasks he doesn't enjoy. Amanda is too inclined to criticize other members of the team. And Ed shoots first, asking questions later. How many - if any - of such foibles should be accepted as normal human behavior? And how are they affecting overall team performance? Could the team be doing better than it does?
The Overlooked Importance of Teams
Over the years few organizations have clearly articulated performance standards for small groups of people - whether a headquarters staff, CRM unit, raw materials purchasing section, production planning department or accounts payable section.
Where incentive plans exist, they tend to be based on a combination of individual performance goals and large-group financial yardsticks (such as the sales or earnings performance of an entire division, or perhaps the total company).
In between, however, is the collective performance of those smaller groups of people who work together toward a common objective - managing a plant, bringing a new product from laboratory to market, creating advertising and direct-marketing programs, etc. Yet how often are such team leaders disciplined or penalized for having an incompetent as one of their direct reports? Instead, members of the team instinctively learn how to work around the individual, who continues onward, blissfully unaware of his or her incompetence.