Is your team’s specialty putting out fires?
Being able to deal with a big crisis is a good skill for any team to have. But why wait until the sirens are blasting to think about your team’s performance?
Not every crisis can be prevented, but many teams keep getting caught off guard by problems that could have been identified and addressed long before they turned into an emergency. Without regular maintenance checks to provide line of sight to performance and progress, though, it can be difficult to detect the little sparks that, over time, can do a whole lot of damage.
A team dashboard is a great way to get everyone on the same page and make sure the team isn’t missing any important checks or clues to potential problems down the road. It can help your team sidestep the preventable problems and be better prepared when the unavoidable happens.
So, what do we mean by a team dashboard?
Whether it’s department based, working cross functionally or assigned to a specific project or challenge, your team’s performance depends on how well your team members collaborate toward achieving a common purpose. But people come to the table with different experiences, expectations and perspectives. That means they’ll likely have different ideas about what the team’s trying to accomplish and what it’s going to take to get there. With a team dashboard, you can bring different perspectives to light, get a baseline in place that everyone buys into, track your progress and continually evaluate the team’s strengths and challenges.
A good team dashboard is a living, breathing tool, not a static document that you file away after the first meeting. After all, things change, and it’s very easy for change to throw a team into crisis mode. But when you’re regularly monitoring performance and thinking together as a team about how to mobilize the team’s talents to tackle future opportunities and challenges, you’re less likely to get caught off guard.
A dashboard like the Whole Brain ® Team Dashboard can also help you get a clear sense of what the team is focusing on and what it might be missing, all from a Whole Brain ® perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the insular world of the team and its specific tasks and activities. But if you have any “blind spots” or critical areas that you’re overlooking, you could wind up with some big fires to put out—a pattern that could end up repeating over and over again.
Improve collaboration and teamwork in 4 simple steps.
Here are some tips to help your team stay on track:
- Get everyone on board with common goals: Don’t assume that just because you’ve stated the goals, everyone has the same understanding of them. The Whole Brain ® Team Dashboard, for example, gives you a way to articulate the team’s purpose in a way that will resonate clearly with each member of the team.
- Stick to the vision: Use your dashboard to periodically check in to see if the team’s focus has shifted and what the implications are for the team’s goals. There may be times that it makes sense to shift, but the key is to be intentional about it. Don’t let change creep up on you.
- Schedule recurring maintenance checks: Kicking off a team engagement with a dashboard exercise is a great way to use team-building time, but don’t let that be the end of it. Create a “preventative maintenance” schedule for periodically reviewing progress and candidly discussing any issues or opportunities.
- Don’t wait until there’s conflict or crisis: Anyone who detects a flicker of a problem should be empowered to bring it up and confident that the team will take it seriously. Ignoring or downplaying an issue may seem like the smart way to go in the short term, especially when a big deadline or delivery date is looming, but you’ll end up with a much bigger fire to put out in the long run.
Team performance checks aren’t just for when you’re in crisis mode. In fact, the more you do them, the more likely it is that you’ll avoid the crises altogether. So instead of investing in another fire extinguisher, get a good team dashboard in place and keep prevention top of mind.