You know that it’s time to change your team for the better, but you’re not sure how to get your teammates on board. Don’t start up a conversation with “so, I’ve been thinkin’ that our team really sucks. Whadda you think?” Here are a few alternatives to get the conversation about team improvement going.
- Start with the business. See if one or more teammates recognize how changes in the world require you to change your team. “I’ve been thinking about how our customer base is changing and I’m wondering how that will change how we operate?”
- Use stretch targets to start the discussion. “We’ve had to work our butts off to achieve plan in the last couple of years and now the plan for next year is 20% higher. I’m starting to worry that we can’t pull it off again? What might need to change on our team?”
- Take something off the agenda. Maybe one of the ways your team needs to change is to stop trying to do individuals’ work by committee. Usually that’s because everyone wants a say. Be a role model for trust, take yourself out of the equation and see if others follow. “I’m not sure I need to be included in this discussion. Who do you really need input from?
- Introduce some productive conflict. What kind of issues would normally go underground? Can you short-circuit the backroom chatter? “We have a history of raising concerns after we’ve made decisions. What kind of issues do we need to talk about before we leave the room?”
- Hit the reset on a relationship. It’s always best to admit your own challenges before asking someone else to change. Try owning up “I feel like we got off on the wrong foot. I haven’t done enough to understand your perspective. Can I buy you a coffee? I need to learn more about your project.”
These are just a few simple entrees that will help you find like-minded teammates who agree with you that it’s time to change your team. I’d love to hear examples that you’ve used to get the ball rolling.