5 simple strategies to ensure your team delivers
You’re excited. You’ve come up with a new plan for your team to roll out. It’s going to mean big things for your business. You’ve made the timelines clear; you’re excited by this new phase. You check in a week later. Nothing has moved. Sally says she’s waiting on Simon who says Luke never gave him the information he needed, and Luke says he couldn’t have followed through because Simon said he’d come and explain the context and never did. You’re pissed off. You might even be a bit shouty at everyone. The same thing happens next time. Why does this happen? What can you do?
Articulate who is accountable for outcomes.
This is the most critical thing you can do. If it is clear who will be accountable for the delivery of an outcome, it ensures they know they have to deliver and empowers them to do so. It means you have someone to hold to account. It means others know whom to go to when they need a decision. If Sally is accountable for a piece of the project (or even the whole thing), she has ownership of ensuring it will be delivered or communicating the roadblocks that exist to you and others who are waiting on her output.
Articulate roles and responsibilities.
The usual response to this is, ” we have position descriptions”, but it’s more than this. Instead, make sure everyone knows at a macro level what their roles are in a piece of work and the actions they’re expected to take. This might be done in a group or by the person who has been identified accountable. Ideally, it’s a consultative process, but often you won’t have time to canvas everyone’s input. You don’t have to assign tasks; the team itself could do this, but it must be clear to everyone involved broadly who does what.
Require people to demonstrate ownership and to follow up – no can-kicking
While we have articulated who is accountable overall and/or for significant components of the project in our first step, it’s critical that you expect and reward accountability across the board. For example, unless someone tried multiple times and through a couple of channels, the excuse that something didn’t happen because someone else didn’t follow up when asked isn’t ok. This is one reason ownership of roles and responsibilities matter – it doesn’t allow the can to be kicked down the road.
Ask about and remove roadblocks.
Whether you’re directly involved in the project or not, your role as a leader is finding out about and removing roadblocks. Maybe it’s that you need to advocate or act on your team’s behalf for more resources, access to information or an outcome. Or perhaps you need to address an issue with one of those people identified as accountable to ensure they’re delivering. These are just a few examples. It’s not that you should swoop in and fix things others are capable of fixing (unless things are entirely out of hand); instead, what is needed from you is that you use your power to resolve issues that sit beyond the realms of what others in the team can do.
Notice unique achievements
To maintain momentum (also just because it’s an excellent human thing to do), it’s imperative that you see and comment on what you see people doing well and articulating your appreciation for their work. This isn’t just saying “great job Julie”; it’s saying something like: “Julie when you did A, it ensured B turned in to C. Thank you for seeing that connection.” This leave people feeling like their personal contribution mattered and was seen. Being seen contributes to our feeling of belonging. Belonging contribute to our engagement with our work. Engagement contributes to our performance.
As a leader or business owner, it can feel frustrating that you can’t just tell people to do a thing and have it done. In reality, we all struggle to get out of our own way. Clear lines of accountability and ownership; knowing that you, their boss have their back and finally, that their work is of value will be transformative for your team. And for you – it’ll speed up the delivery of essential outcomes and save your voice!
Owner/Principal Consultant - The Curiosity Company
Ari Siggins MHRM GAICD CAHRI launched the Curiosity Company in 2018 after seeing a gap in the Human Resources support available for smaller, for-purpose business (both for and not-for-profit). She's driven by an appreciation of the importance these organisations play in our communities and a belief that great workplaces not only deliver better results, but spill over to boost the overall life satisfaction for their staff.
She has sat in C-Suite roles overseeing HR and operational functions within the NFP and healthcare sectors and is a Non-Executive Director bringing expertise in People Governance to the Boards she is involved with. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Social Science with a major in philosophy and ethics, a Master of Human Resources Management, She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Certified Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.
Where needed, Ari draws on a network of trusted, skilled partners to deliver any services outside her scope of deep expertise, so you can feel confident you're getting the best possible advice.