Building your top team

Here are few ideas on how to build that team and lead it.

1. Develop an inner circle
Whatever your situation, you need trusted inner circle of colleagues. Not ones who always agree with you, but ones who really contribute to the process and the end result. Smaller groups, often established on an ad hoc basis are more productive than larger ones. Entry or exit should be according to performance and task.

2. Get the best people
You’ll need people who
? get things done
? have leadership qualities
? can create useful ideas
? analyse problems
? are good orally and in writing
? think and evaluate logically.
Select this team with compen-sating strengths and weaknesses. If you inherit an existing team, reshuffle or reinforce as required.

3. Use time to drive decision-making
When your team gets together, set specific timelines and targets, and don’t be talked into extending them.

4. Keep it simple
The old KISS principle has been overdone, but simplicity is the key to achievement. Look carefully and critically at how people plan to go about things. If the required actions aren’t dead-set simple, compli-cations will often result, which means someone has to do more work.
5. Set challenging goals
Think in terms of S t r e t c h goals and hold people accountable for achieving those stretch goals. If they’re recognised for their performances, often in the form of bonuses, make sure they earn that recognition.

6. Maintain focus
Remember the saying, “What you focus on, grows.” Once you’ve agreed on the action goals, stick with them until they’ve been achieved. Resist adding goals until you’ve finished. Too many goals reduce the focus and stifle real achievement.

7. Insist on value for time and energy
If you’re having meeting, insist on results, in the form of decisions. Only those who can contribute should be involved in any discussion.

8. Focus on can-doers
Quality people are sometimes hidden in organisations. They may have chosen to avoid the game-playing and corporate politics. Identify them, encourage and involve them. Get rid of excuse-makers.

9. Think 55
The rule of 55 states “50 percent of an organisation’s products usually produce only five percent of its revenue and profits”. This means half your business represents only five percent of your profitability. The challenge for you and your executive is to identify that under-performing 50 percent and apply the strategy made famous by Jack Welch, then CEO at General Electric – find ways to fix it, sell it, or close it down. That’s what your executive team is for.

10. And remember
? Executive team members must be familiar with the organisation’s goals and priorities.
? They must know what actions are expected of them.
? They should be able to influence team decisions.
? Discussion should be encouraged regardless of how critical it becomes. Differing views shouldn’t be taken as disloyalty or being uncooperative.
? Members must share equitably in the workload.
? They must be able to clearly present team decisions to client groups.
From Just about Everything Manager Needs to Know, by Neil Flanagan & Jarvis Finger, Plum Press. Copy information to email: [email protected]; fax: (04) 528 9916

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