How to Focus Your Team to Achieve Big Goals

January 25, 2018

Four ways to bring out the best

How can you build a community of collaboration in your organisation? It may seem like a daunting task given that recent Gallup numbers show only 32% of U.S. workers are engaged in their work. In fact, workers and experts tend to agree about the prevalence of team dysfunction.

According to a University of Phoenix study, 70% of the workforce says they are part of a dysfunctional team. A Harvard Business Review article observes that 75% of cross-functional teams underperform and often fail due to unclear governance and nonspecific goals.

What teams need: It takes more than talent

It’s well known that teams need purpose, goals, and strategy as well as trust, respect, vision, and open communication to operate successfully. While most everyone knows these basic behaviours are important, Craig Ross and his co-authors of Do Big Things explain that certain dynamics often stop employees from being great.

Most teams have the talent needed to succeed but they’re often missing the ‘special recipe’ or method to execute the plan. Ross created the Do Big Things (DBT) framework that provides a method for teams to transform how they think and act together as a group as they work toward a common goal. The DBT framework offers 7 steps to help teams achieve big things and meet objectives without negatively impacting employee wellness or morale.

  • Commit to the human imperative
  • Embody success (and leverage failure)
  • Choose to contribute, activate, and connect across the business
  • Exercise your barrier-breaking authority
  • Focus on what matters
  • Energise around a shared reality
  • Mobilise hearts and minds forward

Four ways to nurture productive teams

Whether you choose to follow the DBT framework or use a different method for inspiration, it’s clear that teams must find a way to do more than talk the talk. Your team’s success depends on healthy debate, open communication, and trust. Here are four ways you can ensure these and other healthy team behaviours become a reality:

  1. Show that you really care on a human level. The first step of the DBT framework, other authors agree that what separates high performing teams from the pack is thoughtfulness and empathy. It’s important for employees in your group to genuinely care about other teammates beyond the goals of the project.
  2. Buy in to the process. Most teams will encounter bumps in the road. Why not plan for it? When team members have a process they can rely on to get them through difficult times, they are more likely to stay the course. Regular progress cheques and rewards for hitting milestones can help.  
  3. Be present. In the DBT framework, Ross points out the importance of choice. It’s important for every team member to make a conscious decision to positively contribute to the team. Practise mindfulness and give the team your best effort—even if you don’t agree with every decision.
  4. Embrace and fulfil the vision. You have a project goal for the team. How does that fit in with the company’s values and vision? It’s not enough to set a goal, your team must focus, prioritise, and be held accountable for seeing it through.  

Build productive relationships

Despite today’s low rates of employee engagement and team success, good managers can improve the dynamics with a plan that reinforces healthy team behaviours and drives successful outcomes. With a sharper focus on goals, deeper concern for fellow team members, and stronger personal commitment to the team, your company will enjoy the benefits of more productive teamwork. Asure Software’s Workspace Management solutions can help you contribute and connect across the business by helping you schedule and utilise the right types of workspaces and meeting rooms for your team.