Monday, June 15, 2015

No Accountability, No Performance

This is the fourth of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

With trust, constructive conflict, and commitment a team is ready to soar.  But two more elements are required and today we are focusing on accountability.

Holding people accountable is a key leadership responsibility.  It is not complicated, but takes organization and persistence.

First, before ever adjourning a meeting, make sure that everyone on the team is clear on what they are accountable for and by when the task is should be completed.

Next, make sure you record the tasks and due dates.

Third, follow-up with people when they miss deadlines.

Finally, you need consequences – especially for chronic cases of missing deadlines.

Simple, right?  Then why do so many leaders mess this up!?!

I think it is because it can be uncomfortable to hold someone accountable, but leaders often underestimate the damage done when you let people avoid accountability. 

Allowing people to avoid accountability breeds resentment in a team.  High performers want to be on a team where everyone is committed to excellence.  You will quickly lose your best people if they see that others are not held accountable.  And it will lead to mediocrity among those left behind.

So, be a leader and hold people accountable.  It will set a standard of excellence for everyone to live up to and allow the team to make even more of a Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Building Commitment to Your Team

This is the third of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

Establishing trust and creating a culture where constructive conflict is valued were the topics of the first two installments of this series.  Once you have that, you can really go places as a team.  However, a lack of commitment from even one person can be a cancer that spreads throughout a team.  Here are some things you can do to build commitment:

*Hire for mission commitment.  Make sure that people are excited about your purpose.  FYI – this is not just a “nonprofit” thing.  I recently heard the CEOs of both Pepsi and Deloitte discuss the importance of purpose during their visits with us at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

*Role model your mission commitment and acknowledge it in others.  Be a leader!

*Keep the vision for the future alive.  Remind people where you are going!  You cannot remind people often enough of the future you are creating together.

*Make sure that every person understands their role in helping to accomplish the mission and vision.  They need to understand “why am I here?”

Commitment to mission within a team that trusts one another and can engage in constructive conflict put you on a great path.  Stay tuned for tips on overcoming the final two dysfunctions so you can build a team that makes a breakthrough Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Encourage Constructive Conflict

This is the second of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

Fear of Conflict cannot be overcome without trust – so check out the prior blog here if you missed that.

Once you have a team that trusts one another, then leaders need to role model what constructive conflict looks like.  All too often, people are conflict avoidant.  Conflict does not have to be nasty and, in fact, constructive conflict makes a team stronger. 

When a team member makes a suggestion, many people will hesitate to say something even if they think it is a bad idea.  But high performing teams know that they will only make the optimal choices if they get many ideas on the table and evaluate all of them.  So, as a leader who wants to role model constructive conflict you can say things like:

“Thanks for your idea, Rob.  What do the rest of you think?  Let’s brainstorm at least five different possibilities before we make any decisions.”

Another simple technique is to break your team into two or three sub-groups and have them brainstorm ideas to bring back to the full team.  I often do this in strategic planning sessions to encourage divergent thinking.  You can also take care to carefully assign people to subgroups who may have differing opinions.

If you are going to role model constructive conflict it is vital that you react appropriately when someone suggests an alternative to your latest brilliant idea.  If you can do that and encourage others to do the same, then you are on your way to becoming a high performing team that makes an exceptional Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is the first of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

I highly recommend the book and will, in this series, provide you with an overview of how to overcome each of the five dysfunctions.

Building trust is the bedrock of high performance teamwork.  So how do you build trust in a team?  Here are a few insights.

First, as the leader of the team, you have to personally exhibit strong ethical behavior. People watch and evaluate everything you do.  They need to know that they can trust you to do what you say you are going to do; that you are honest and fair.  This will build their respect for you.

Next, provide opportunities for team members to get to know one another more personally.  For example - off-site retreats, ropes courses, and personality styles assessments (e.g., MBTI, DISC, StrengthsFinder) can be used to help team members get to know one another in more depth.  As another example, I serve on a board where the new chair took us on a retreat and had each person give a six-eight minute presentation on their life – broken into three segments, however we wanted to organize it.  It was very impactful and I felt more connected to my fellow board members afterwards.

Finally, let yourself be vulnerable to the rest of the team and role model that this is okay behavior.  None of us are perfect and yet, as leaders, we often feel like we have to be perfect in front of everyone else.  If you can lower that veil of invulnerability, it will engender trust among you and others.  And, importantly, it will role model this behavior for others.

There are no magical ways to immediately build trust in a team.  But, following these suggestions can put you on the right path to more effective teamwork and enhanced Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nonprofits, Innovation, & Lean Startups

You want to drive innovation throughout your nonprofit, but you don’t think you have the time or money to try new things.  You would benefit from learning about the “Lean Startup” method – which is the current model that businesses use to develop new products and entrepreneurs use to start new companies.

Here are some of the key ideas of Lean Startup that apply to nonprofits:

*Experiment.  You don’t have to have everything figured out at the beginning to try out a new program/service.  Use an experimental mindset.

*Develop a Minimal Viable Product/Program.  This is a scaled down version of the program that you want to run, but it is robust enough to make the impact that you intend.  If it works as an MVP then you can scale it for more impact.

*Listen and Learn.  Use the MVP with small selected groups of people and be open to feedback from them.  Measure your results.

*Pivot.  Be prepared to take the feedback and make continual changes until you get it right – until the program is making the impact you really want.

Example.  Imagine you have a brilliant idea for a new program to provide to those you serve in your community.  But you know it is going to cost a lot of money to scale up and hire the staff you need to serve everyone. 

What to do?  Try a Lean Startup! Develop the program idea to a point that it is a Minimum Viable Program – it is robust enough to make an impact.  

Then use some of your current staff to try it out on a smaller subset of people you serve. Treat it as an experiment you can learn from.  Make improvements as you listen and learn. 

Once you have made changes based on the feedback and you are ready to scale it, you can take the results of what you learned to funders.
    
Use the Lean Startup approach to try new programs/services, see what works, and expand your Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.