Team Coach | 10 Tips to Improve Team Focus, Morale and Results

When you want to improve your team's focus, morale and results then at the beginning of every year schedule time for each of the following activities. These activities will help to bring your team on board; they keep the team focused on what really counts and they can prevent many of the problems that undermine a team’s ability to perform. 

1.Reconnect with the Vision and Mission

Help your team connect with the Bigger Picture and Bigger Purpose by revisiting your company’s Vision and Mission Statement. They provide the co-ordinates and context for all team activity and the motivational source to drive performance. However, given that Visions are never ending, they can appear unobtainable so translate yours into a meaningful and achievable 3-year vision.

2. Provide structure, clarity and direction

Allocate time to ensure everyone on your team understands the Business plan and priorities for the new financial year. Plans help people understand what needs to be done to fulfil the company’s Mission. They also identify what needs to happen within the next 12 months. This provides your team with direction, clarity and structure – critical requirements for high performance.

3. Reduce overwhelm and provide accountability

Break your 12-month plan into 90-day plans. This assists with the prioritisation and targeting of time and resources, while increasing action and accountability. 90-day deadlines are more immediate so they focus team effort and attention, preventing the delay and procrastination that arise with 12-month deadlines.

4. Conduct a quarterly review

Each quarter review, with your whole team, your 3-year vision; 90-day goals and progress towards your 12-month business plan objectives. Things change and goal posts move so determine if objectives and strategies are still relevant. Reprioritise and reallocate resources where relevant.

5. Conduct regular team meetings

Don’t underestimate your team’s need for high quality communication. It’s a key factor in high performance teams so make team meetings a habit. Establish a regular day and time - and only reschedule in emergencies. Regular team meetings are vital to keep the team on track, motivated and focussed. They enable you to communicate priorities and progress and they assist with the early identification of problems, concerns, ideas and opportunities.

Where a team is comprised of many smaller teams, sub teams should use a daily “10 minute talk”, preferably before the start of work. A quick check in on attendance, shift changes, reallocation of work, problems from the previous day etc keeps everyone informed and up to date. It also provides team leaders with an opportunity to check for issues before they become a major problem.

6. Schedule regular performance reviews

Ideally this type of 1-1 meeting should be part of your Performance Appraisal process, but if you don’t have one you must schedule time to meet with every team member at least once every six months. Review their progress; discuss their performance and any issues or concerns. You should also discuss personal and career goals to identify appropriate developmental opportunities. Don’t ignore this, as it’s a key factor in staff satisfaction and retention. And you'll ensure each and every team member is aligned and focussed on achieving team goals. (Talent Coach | Implement a System for More Effective Performance Appraisals)

7. Take time to build relationships

Make time for regular informal 1-1 meetings with all your employees. A quick check in on workloads, issues or concerns and small achievements builds better relationships leading to long-term loyalty. People feel valued and problems won’t escalate. Prevention of the “one bad apple” syndrome, rather than the cure, is far less costly, time consuming and painful.

8. Improve results by building skills and knowledge

High performance teams are highly skilled teams and yet training can be the first casualty when teams get busy. Unskilled and poorly trained staff cause more problems and cost in the long term so plan ahead, designate time and allocate additional resources to ensure staff keep up to date with their professional development and technical skills.

9. Develop your team rewards and recognition plan

Involve your team in developing a team reward and recognition plan. This can include rituals such as individual awards and commendations and team events to celebrate milestones and achievements. Social events are important for morale and relationships but delegate their organization to team members – it’s a great way to promote team building.

10. Remember the personal touch

Build morale with your own recognition system. This should include personal verbal acknowledgements, informal written notes (avoid email if you can) and where appropriate more formal letters for exceptional achievement or contribution. Keep on top of this by using a monthly or weekly bring up. Ask yourself “Whom do I need to thank this week?

Posted: Friday 1 November 2013

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