Idea Generator Chapter 5 - Ten tools to enhance your team's performance
Ten tools to enhance yourteams performanceChapter 5 of The Idea Generator : Tools for BusinessGrowth by Ken Hudson
Tool 5/1: Push team out of comfort zone Teams often build collective lenses;introduce team members to newexperiences– i.e. move team members around, intodifferent roles, halve the time to complete aproject Old lens is shattered and new oneemerges; often team can go whereindividuals will not; team takes upcollective risk– i.e. individuals will accept new fitnessregiment when approached in a teamenvironment (drill sergeant) Application: Divide teams into twosmaller groups; select business challengeand ask teams to write down six actions;but make them uncomfortable– i.e. How to better understand thecustomer? Spend a day in the field makingnew business calls Concentrate on the uncomfortable list andselect one for next month Remember to swap the list form Team Ato Team B; as a way of moving them outof their collective comfort zones; What areour key business challenges? What arethe actions that address challenges areuncomfortable to perform?
Tool 5/2: Study great teams outside the business High performance can be found outsidecurrent business environment; i.e.Australian Olympic Women’s swimmingteam; apply what high performancemeans in another context It was found that female swimmersneed to be coached in a differentfashion than their male counterparts;Would you be better served by havingyour high potential female leaderscoached by female leaders? Application: Have team membersreflect on their own team experiences;list the characteristics of a great teamthey’ve been a part of? (i.e. commonpurpose, diverse people et al) Askwhat worked and why? Doing thisreinforces that it is within anyone’sreach; Decide which characteristicsare most inspiring; after creating thislist, search for a great non-businessteam that typifies a high performingteam; What great team have you been a partof? What could you learn, adapt orborrow form this team?
Tool 5/3: Build most diverse team imaginable Diverse teams are comprised ofindividuals with diverse skill sets and lifeexperiences; broad array of lenses thatwhen combined can create moreoriginal solutions; Try to base teams entirely ondifferences; start the team off initiallywith nothing in common; forces theteam members to realize that there aremany different ways to solve problemsand resolve issues; challenge isensuring that people with diversemindsets still listen and value other’sopinions; make sure that diverse teamhas no common goals Application: To ensure diversity, rateall members based on their preferredintelligence style; i.e. rational (logic,analyses and reason) emotional(collaborative, energy passion) orimaginativecreative (new solutions andchallenges status quo)
Tool 5/4: Build great team from the individual up More and more teams are seen as the changedriving forces in organization (i.e. cross-functional teams, new product developmentteams, innovation teams et al); downside to thismarked emphasis on teamwork is possible lossor silence of the introverted or person lower inthe ranks; (imagine Albert Einstein on yourteam); Select one high potential employee and thenselect who else could add value to them thenadd another, then another until you have thedesired number of members to your team Application: 1) start by having everyone solvea problem by themselves in five minutes; notalking; then have each work with a partner andcome up with the best ideas; pairs then presentbest ideas to the group 2) hole a problemsolving contest between individual members ofthe group; post a problem and ask groupmembers to come up with as many solution ontheir own within 5 minutes; then compare andcontrast 3) in identifying best ideas to follow-through on; give team members three “dots”; allthree could go on one or placed around thevarious selections; give them only sixtyseconds to decide; this forces intuition; thenfocus on the best ideas based on votes
Tool 5/5: Think strategically and aim for quick wins Change lens from we will generate short termresults OR focus on long term strategy thinkstrategically AND obtain quick wins; Replacing and viewing goals of the team withOR with AND leads to early wins beneficial momentum confidence; shows team andrest of organization that the team is up andrunning and getting results (i.e. revenuegrowth team in an manufacturing concernwhere results were expected in 12 months;suggested that focus should be on quickerprojects; greater energy for team acceptance from rest of company; short termresults must live besides long term strategicdirection Application: Starting point is to plot allcurrent and potential projects on a matrix; xaxis is business impact (low, medium, high), yaxis is time to test (short term, medium term,long term); with an unbalanced portfolioreconsider letting go of some the projects;when considering new business initiatives ,plotted them on the matrix and compare andcontrast
Tool 5/6: Focus on being receptive to new ideas Quickest way = willingness to accept and usenew solutions (left field ideas). Aim is to movetowards a goal and get everyone linked tocreating and sustaining energy of itsmembers… Best ideas often come from unexpected placesor people (i.e. brand team on desserts…builton assistants idea from something seen inEurope…best of the session… Application: 1) use yes, and not yes, but…forces builds and strengthens originalideas… aids in smoothing out differencesbetween the idea creator and idea receiver2) find something interesting about theidea…suspend initial judgment…encouragesthe receiver to really listen to the idea…leftfield idea offers are more readily offered if theowner feels that they have been heard
Tool 5/7: Build an out of box team Think in a non-linear way….not all teams needto be implementation teams New way is to think in a non-linear(discontinuous innovation) is to form a team oflateral thinkers to work on growthopportunities…team that makes newconnections or sees new possibilities… (i.e.insurance company: leaders create a team oflateral thinkers who work on developing a widerange of breakthrough solutions…then ownerof “problem” gets to test the solutions Application: Key challenge is to identifymembers from all over the organization: 1)advertise for the team…original thinkers self-select; on average 1/10 will identifythemselves as out of the box thinkers…areyou an out of the box thinker 2) ask yourpeers to nominate people who consistentlydevelop left field ideas
Tool 5/9: Define what winning means Often teams are formed without any realknowledge about how efforts will be judged;difficult situation when teams don’tunderstand what success looks like Group decides what succeeding means andthe criteria for success; this means the teamcan control its own destiny Should be a range of objective criteria suchas: skills development, meeting deadlines etcetera along with subjective such as teamharmony Application: every team should havemultiple goals related to its goals and itsmembers (i.e. Objective: Financial: ROI;Milestone: Deliver this result by 12/1;Performance based: Achieve specificresults; Team Interaction Goals: level ofcollaboration, mutual trust, high levels of orgdynamics, learning goals)
Tool 5/9: Build teams around passion When you really care about something you tend to be more effective & enjoy yourwork more Normally you build teams around skills, rolesor the problem @ hand; new lens designsteam around team members interest in thesubject; if team members are passionate,they will be more likely to overcome barriersand be motivated to achieve the finalobjective One CEO of a large electronics company inChina made Monday is Passion Day;employees were encouraged to dress in redand were free explore new projects that theywere passionate about Similarly think Google Engineers producing Google Earth Application: 1) Post a team assignmenton the intranet or by e-mail 2) form a team ofpeople with interests similar (i.e. improvingcustomer service 3) form a team of peoplewith interests similar to yours and work on aproject together 4) with a large group, divideinto smaller groups and have group membersnominate the aspect of the project they havean interest in pursuing.
Tool 5/10: Imagine the perfect team result Break free of your existing mindset by designing theperfect team result first. This is a counterintuitive,carefully analyze where the team is now, where theteam wants to go and then how to get there. Processusually involves a series of timelines, deliverablesand milestones. Good for most business-as-usual projects; however,if facing a completely new challenge, or need abreakthrough solution, it may be better to decidewhat the perfect result is first, then design back to thecurrent situation. Designing backwards means that you are not asfixed in continuing what has gone before, and theshort-term barriers do not seem as big, because theyare seen in the context of the perfect end result. Adance company director uses this approach for newshows. They select the date and location of their nextshow, then work back to the present. This creates asense of urgency and a common purpose. Application: 1) Start by ignoring current situation andfocus only on defining the perfect result 2) When thathas been done, the group can design back to thecurrent situation. Ask yourself: What is a perfectresult? What is stopping us from achieving this result?How can we overcome these barriers?