Delivering on customer expectations is essential for anyone hoping to remain in business. To achieve that one needs an “A-team” of skilled individuals to deliver on the customer promise. Nothing new there.
What is often overlooked though is that skills by themselves aren’t enough. Team engagement is in fact the key ingredient to successfully deliver on customer expectations.
Ensuring team engagement can be a challenge, however, because people are involved: individuals with different ambitions, talents, tendencies and competencies. The team leader’s task is to pull a diverse team of individuals together to ensure that 1+1 = 3. It is not just about optimizing how each person engages with the project, but also how he/she engages with the client and other team members.
If you are that team leader tasked with creating magic for a client, here are three proven “bottom-up” ways to improve your team’s engagement.
Good communication must mastered from the word go. Dealing with the fall-out of poor communication midway through a project can be a costly affair.
The team must understand
- the purpose and goal of their collective activities;
- the specific role he or she will play in the context;
- the rules that define interaction; and
- the specific responsibilities and accountabilities.
A note of warning though: it is a serious error to assume that once team members have been briefed, their understanding will be complete. Read the body language, encourage questions, and check in to clarify understanding along the way. Be swift and direct in correcting misunderstandings and misconceptions.
- Understanding the rules of engagement
The more a team member feels part of a team, the more likely it will be that he or she will be engaged. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure that the rules of engagement are understood,
Rules of engagement simply refer to how team members engage with each other. Be aware of internal drivers within the team – not all team members will be emotionally engaged or equally ambitious. Provide a clear set of rules of what is acceptable and what not and stick to it. Use reinforcement to land the message and don’t hesitate to call out transgressions, remembering that humour goes a long way to lighten the mood during these talks.
- Best environment to perform
To perform and thrive, your team needs the best environment possible. The short version is this: the environment must work for the team (not against them). This means that you need to look at what is needed to support the team to:
- teach themselves,
- self-manage, and
Adapt and tweak the environment as needed, making sure you focus also on removing any constraints to performance.
Your efforts to create the best team environment may nevertheless be met with resistance and resentment if these changes don’t go hand in hand with good communication. Keep that in mind.
By applying these three things, you’ll be creating opportunities for your team to bond while delivering excellence, That means a happy customer, a happy team, and a happy business bottom line: a triple win which starts with nurturing team engagement.
If you’d like to know more about how to create team magic, talk to us about how we use visual strategy to achieve that.