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#1 Clarity on goals and roles

Bijgewerkt op: 15 nov. 2022

Imagine… you chair the team meeting. Everyone feels that this meeting is worth their while. The energy is high, there is laughter and room for robust debate. All people involved have a clear contribution. People show excellent listening and little parroting whilst giving plenty of space for different perspectives. The meeting lasts no longer than needed. The pace is enjoyable. Results are achieved with clear progress towards the main goal.

Does it even exist? Yes. Most of us, at some point in our careers, have been part of a team meetings that felt like that effective (and fun!). And with intentional effort, your current team meetings can grow to this level of performance in 3 months. How? By making sure that the basics are covered really, really well:

1. clarity on goals and roles

2. celebration of discipline

3. commitment to action.

Cover the basics before the meeting– clarity on goals and roles

1. The shared goal is clear

A team is a team when it has a shared goal to achieve. People are placed together with the expectation that they will work together towards something. A goal, a result, a KPI, an event, you name it. When this shared goal is not there, it is hard to call the group a team. The why and what are unclear, not helping the how and the when (often the core content of a team meeting). Team meetings easily result in endless updates from the one team member to the others. It takes every bit of self control to not reach for your phone.

Tip: when your team struggles to get clarity on the shared goal try turning things around. Ask yourself the following questions: what would kill us? When would we lose our reason for being? Rephrase the answers to those questions into the positive goals that will guide the content of your team meetings.

2. The contributing roles are clear

When the goal is clear, move to the next level of clarity. Be clear about who needs to be in the meeting. And who not. Who are the people whose job it is to contribute towards that goal? Whose actions and decisions will make the difference? They are the people who need to be part of the meeting. Others do not. Dare to be clear. To quote a favorite author, Brene Brown, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind”. Be kind to the ones who need to be there and be kind to the ones who don’t. Help the former to get on with their work and help the latter to not feel that they have no meaningful contribution. Ever been at a meeting where you felt you really didn’t need to be there? You know how that feels. Honest role conversations are highly appreciated by all involved, even when there is a level of awkwardness involved.

Tip: When the goal is clear and it is not yet clear what each role in the team contributes, map out the team tactics. Make explicit how each role contributes to the goal, including HR and Finance. Be so explicit that each team member knows what is expected from her and she has the freedom to perform.

These two clarity basics are (preferably) in place before the cycle of team meetings start. But they also serve as excellent untangling tools when you are already on your way and the team is struggling. When a struggling team calls me, the first questions I ask are: what is the shared goal and how does each role contribute? Mostly, I do not get a clear answer.

In the next blog posts, more about covering the basics. During the team meeting with a celebration of discipline, and after the meeting with a commitment to action.

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