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Develop Champion Players

March 16, 2001
Related Topics: Featured Article
Use the techniques below to improve the skills of your management team andmethods of motivation and cooperation.


Step 1: Identify skill requirements.

List the essential skill requirements for each individual, as well as for the team as a whole. Be as specific as possible. The skill requirements you identify should:

  • Be observable.

  • Be targeted specifically to your team members' jobs (e.g., in addition toa general knowledge of tax laws and accounting, an accountant needs to know thespecific payroll system and payroll schedule of his or her organization).

  • Include skills needed for your work units and your entire team to workwell together (e.g., listening skills, communication skills, etc.).

  • Include both complex skills and fundamental skills (the "absolutelymust do wells"). Don't assume that people know how to perform the basics.

Step 2: Prepare development plans.

For each individual and work unit, as well as the team as a whole:

  • Identify any skill gaps that exist (i.e., skills that are needed thatdon't already exist-again, don't forget to consider both basic as well ascomplex skills).

  • List options for developing each of the deficient skills (e.g.,coaching/mentoring, training programs, on-the-job training, practice,role-playing, simulations, etc.).

  • Develop a skill-building plan for each individual and work unit, and forthe team as a whole.

Motivation and Environment

Step 1: Identify other barriers to performance.

For each individual, work unit, and team, identify any motivational issues that might prevent your employees frommeeting performance expectations. Ask yourself:

  • What might make people not want to do what is needed to execute the gameplan?

  • What can be done to make them want to execute the game plan? To inspirethem?

  • Identify any environmental obstacles that might prevent your employeesfrom meeting performance expectations (e.g., ergonomics, resources, equipment,authority, time, process, etc.)

  • Plan strategies to address each motivational and/or environmental barrieryou identify.

Team Cooperation

Step 1: Clarify performance expectations regarding team cooperation.

Your entire team needs to know exactly what your expectations are withrespect to teamwork.

  • Lead them in a visioning exercise by encouraging your team to share theirthoughts and ideas about teamwork, describe potential obstacles that couldprohibit them from working effectively together as a team, and offer suggestionsfor creating an environment of team cooperation.

  • Once the visioning exercise is over, be sure to openly summarize yourteam's agreed-upon definition of team cooperation and the specificresponsibilities each team member has in helping to achieve your team's commonvision.

Step 2: Create an environment of open communication.

To help pave the way toward true team cooperation, it's imperative that youestablish an environment of trust, honesty, and fairness. The best way is byopening up a two-way stream of communication with your team members. You can dothis by:

  • Involving team members in planning and problem-solving activities.

  • Providing each team member with individual airtime.

  • Treating mistakes and problems as learning experiences.

  • Being open about your own weaknesses and mistakes.

  • Inviting constructive comments, opinions, and advice from team members.

  • Keeping feedback and group discussions constructive and non-personal.

  • Communicating "negative" feedback privately. Never chastise anyindividual in front of the group.

© 2001, The Center for Effective Performance,Inc.All rights reserved. Assistance on how to effectively implement these checklistsin your organization is available through a new one-day management seminarentitled How to Build A Championship Team at Work.

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