Eric P. Bloom: Get going and start your project
Continuing on the LEAPFROG Teambuilding Process, this is the last step in the process, “G - Get going.” In case this is the first column you have seen, here is a quick recap of the first seven steps:
L - Lay out the organizational structure and staff roles and responsibilities.
E - Establish relationships and trust among teammates.
A - Assemble common vision, goals and values.
P - Prescribe specific individual and departmental critical success factors.
F - Form a culture of teamwork and camaraderie.
R - Render efficient internal department processes.
O - Outline specific processes to measure success.
Please recall that in the first column of this series, when LEAPFROG was initially introduced, this methodology, designed by Manager Mechanics, was created to get a newly formed team up and running quickly, in a way that helps facilitate long-term team/project success. One would think that having reached a final phase named “Get going” that your work is complete and it’s time to relax. In this case, however, it means that your department’s work has truly just begun.
This transitional phase is where planning, teambuilding and process design ends and the tasks, which caused your team to be formed, actually will begin.
As your team begins its real work, you as the manager, should continually perform the items in the following list to help assure your team continues to solidify its emerging culture, kickoff the execution of designed processes, and enhance process designs as needed.
Be the role model for defined team values
As the expression goes, you as team leader, lead by example if you like it or not. Your actions will be closely observed by your team. It’s only natural, you are their leader. In steps L through F of the methodology, you painstakingly worked to define and build the group’s goals, values, teamwork and culture. Personally exemplifying these traits will help cement them within the team’s conceptual fabric.
Continue to praise or punish those following or violating stated team values
At this early stage of team development, positive and negative reinforcement will help keep your team headed in the right direction. People on your team that exemplify your stated values should be publicly praised in front of the group as an example of proper behavior. Those who do not understand and/or don’t properly follow group norms should be spoken to privately to not embarrass them among their peers.
Praise those who define and communicate process improvements
Praise should also be used as a way to illustrate the importance of ongoing process improvement. Showing praise for improvement suggestions, implemented or otherwise, is crucially important during the early stages of production for two reasons. First, newly formed processes often need early modifications. Second, praising the first people who suggest process improvements begins to solidify a culture of ongoing self-improvement.
Celebrate successes as a team
Celebrating team successes has the dual advantage of strengthening team identity and building a momentum of success.
In closing of this nine-week LEAPFROG Methodology series, please remember the concept that investing your time and effort in defining your team’s structure, roles, vision definition, critical success factors, culture, and internal processes early in your team’s formation can pay great dividends in product quality, team culture, job satisfaction, and department effectiveness.
The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:
- Having reached the “Get going” phase should be viewed as the completion of team preparation and the beginning of team execution.
- Investing early in teambuilding activities formation can pay great dividends in product quality, team culture, job satisfaction and department effectiveness.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, manage well and continue to build your professional brand.
Eric P. Bloom is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC, a management training company specializing in information technology leadership and is the governing organization of the ITMLP and ITMLE certifications. He is also a keynote speaker, nationally syndicated columnist, and author of the books “The CIO’s Guide to Staff Needs, Growth, and Productivity,” “Your IT Career: Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Build Your Professional Brand” and “52 Great Management Tips.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com, follow him on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.