Archive for the ‘Decision Making’ Category

Tips for Selecting the Right People for a Team

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 by Ellen Bryson

In recent years, companies have found it harder and harder to differentiate themselves from their competition and create a true competitive advantage.  Those that have pulled ahead have learned that putting the right people in the right jobs doing the right things creates an opportunity that would otherwise not exist.  Perhaps we would find an even greater advantage if we applied this same philosophy to creating teams within the organization.  Following are some tips for selecting the right people to work together on a particular issue:

  1. Identify a capable team leader whose ability to manage people is at least as strong his technical knowledge. 
  2. Grant full responsibility and authority to the team leader for making decisions and removing obstacles in order to achieve the goal within the specified timeframe.  Hold him accountable to this. 
  3. Ensure a good balance of communication and conflict styles among the team members.
  4. Select team members with the appropriate knowledge and expertise to address the problem.
  5. Choose individuals who are mature enough to lay aside personal desires in favor of what is best for the team. 
  6. If the team requires multiple levels of authority, demand that titles get checked at the door when addressing the issue at hand.  Everyone must be an equal participant in solving the problem.

For more detail, including some real-life examples of how this works, read “Winning Together” in the 2011 CEO Advantage Journal.

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Don’t “Address” Problems; Solve Them!

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 by John Anderson

As an advisor, I frequently find teams who address and analyze problems yet are reluctant to hold one another accountable for solving problems. These teams consist of bright people, and in most cases, they enjoy addressing organizational issues. After all, that’s why they work in leadership positions. However, when it comes to investing the necessary time to tear apart an issue, consider multiple points of view, and garner the collective wisdom of the entire leadership team to implement a solution, they frequently fall short.

Here are some practical suggestions to help you and your team solve the actual problem rather than just address it:

1. Deliberately create a “container” (physically and mentally) in which you focus solely on the problem at hand. Daily huddles and weekly meetings are great times to identify problems, but you must reserve adequate time to drill down on one issue if you ever hope to solve it.

2. Before entering the session, mentally prepare yourself for constructive conflict. Titles, personal feelings, and biases must be checked at the door. Your purpose is to use the collective intelligence of the executive team to solve that one issue, and any conflict should be related to that issue, not personal qualities or abilities. If one team member had all the answers, you would not need to meet. This is not a “me” problem; it’s a “we” problem.

3. Stick to the subject. Straying off on various tangents will only raise additional issues that distract from the matter at hand. Once a problem is identified and defined, set aside a minimum of 20 minutes to focus on it before moving on. If you cannot commit 20 minutes to it, then you should probably table it for a later meeting.

4. At the conclusion of the problem solving meeting, the CEO must ask, “Have we done our best work?” and, “Can you all support this solution?” If anyone gives a “no” to either question, you need to further discuss it now or schedule another “container” when you can.  You are not seeking consensus; you are seeking honest debate followed by agreement to support the final decision, regardless of who initially agreed or disagreed with the idea.

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In 100 Words: Inviting Dissent

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by Troy Schrock

According to Winston Churchill, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.  It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.  It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  The natural response to criticism is to fight back.  The effective response is to pause and consider.  You are not always right; don’t you want to know when you’re wrong so you can correct your course?

Disagreement is good.  Discipline yourself and your team to invite criticism and respond productively.  Choose to pursue the truth rather than defend your turf.

As with any discipline, it takes practice.

“The effective decision-maker, therefore, organizes disagreement.”  (Peter F. Drucker )

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