Archive for the 'Team assimilation' Category

Essential ingredients to building a strong team

I’ve been asked to forward my reply to a question posed on LinkedIn on team building to a few of my friends, so thought I would republish it here.

Building a team is like building a good restaurant team
I often make the analogy that building a successful
business team is similar to opening a restaurant to serve great food. It
needs a capable, stable and motivated brigade in the kitchen as well as
a team of people to serve the food and make the eating experience

The ingredients good or bad are often immediately noticeable by
customers. If the team, in both the kitchen and front-of-house areas
can’t work together then either the food or service will suffer and
customers will IMMEDIATELY stay away in droves.

The first task is to have a stable team. Staff turnover is a universal
problem, and not just in the catering sector.

Each new appointment seems
to carry with it a high risk of failure. Let’s explore why this is …

There seems to be three common mistakes that team leaders can make. The
first is failing to communicate the results that are required from the
team. Job descriptions provide an indication of the required results but
success in a job depends upon the boss’s assessment. The team,
therefore, needs to understand what constitutes a success in the boss’
eyes and how such success will be measured.

Gaining a clear understanding of what success looks like can be achieved
by holding a series of meetings with the the team. As such they are
best undertaken as formal 1:1 discussions, as opposed to short
conversations over the coffee machine or at a team meeting.

The types of questions that need to be asked include:

· How has the current situation reached this point?
· What problems have been identified if the situation is not improved?
· What actions the leader expects in the short and medium term?
· What would constitute success in the leaders’ eyes?
· How and when will performance be measured?

The second mistake is failing to communicate the boss’s management
style. This means understanding how the leader likes to be communicated
with and how often? What decisions the leader likes to make personally
and what decisions are clearly delegated to individuals in the team?

Don’t ignore culture
A big mistake a leader can make is to ignore the culture of the business
or not to consciously develop a culture for a new team. To ignore
culture makes introducing change more difficult. In addition the leader
needs to consider that all change will have an affect on other people,
particularly in other areas in the organisation, so prior to making
changes it’s important to consider the consequences both upstream and

Then there’s the aspect of training. A leader wanting to build a strong
team needs to ensure that the team can deliver what’s expected. One of
the lessons from Restaurants is that there’s little point in placing
Duck a la Normande on the menu if the kitchen brigade haven’t the
ability to cook it properly and restaurant team don’t know how to serve
it. (Or what it is).

Now, isn’t that a recipe for business success?”

No comments

How to avoid team failure

In this current economic situation a huge number of teams are being restructured. This either means that the team will take on additional work, team membership will be changed or there may even be new leadership.

Each of these brings with it a risk of failure and after speaking to so many senior executives this last month I thought I would share some of the advice that I’ve been giving them.

How to avoid team failure

No comments

Maria announces the first redundancy

Following the strategy paper that Maria and the Sales Director produced a few weeks ago Maria has seen the first team that is being restructured, The Marketing Department.

The post of Marketing Manager and his deputy are seen as being redundant. In future these roles will be done by the Sales Director, who sees himself as an expert on the topic.

This has come as a shock to many people in the company as the Marketing team have been credited with increasing company profile and being instrumental in the development of new product ideas that have kept the company at the forefront of their industry.

The gossip around the coffee machines would suggest that many see this move as the Sales Director “consolidating his position” as opposed to looking forward to the company’s future success.

No comments

Maria works on company strategy

Maria has been at her new company for a month and seems to have settled in well, although her team have some reservations around issues of trust. They see her as being self-promotional as opposed to a “team advocate”.

Over this last few days Maria has been working with the CEO and Sales Director to look at restructuring teams. With the drop in sales resulting from the depression certain posts are now seen as being redundant. Maria is advising on how this can best be done and a strategy for implementation.

Some sales teams will disappear altogether and some will be merged into others. The first announcements will be made towards the end of next week. The objective is to have the new teams in place for early next year after a staff consultation period.

To prepare the necessary paperwork Maria has chosen to work with two of her more junior team members. Her assistant managers are wondering why this is the case and if there is a “hidden agenda” to Maria’s actions.

No comments

Team Assimilation isn’t always a success

At the current time many companies are restructuring their teams to make savings but in the hope of increasing productivity.

The problem is that too many teams fail to achieve their anticipated outcome. In fact our research shows that only 60% of restructured teams increase productivity. The benefits have more to do with saving wages and staff costs.

A few months ago a business restructured its sales team. Territories have become larger, management reduced and incentives cut. All necessary business strategies.

However, the new team’s assimilation was poorly undertaken. Rationale for the need for the changes was poorly described to those affected, management went absent after the restructure to work on other projects, as a result morale dropped and a very popular sales manager left to work for competitors.

I was called in to help and after a series of individual and team meetings, changes to old fashioned reporting to remove some team frustrations and changing the office layout the team’s productivity has begun to rise and meet expectations.

The message here is that post assimilation of a team is as as important to the planning part of team assimilation after restructuring.

No comments