Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Driving team performance, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
Think about being on a road trip headed from New York City to Miami. Presumably, you know your exact destination in Miami so you'll know when you've gotten where you were trying to go. With a remote team crisply communicating exactly where you need to end up, is an important part of managing performance. Let's walk through some basic steps that can help you create your own personal road map, and how you can use this to support your team's performance.
We'll talk about specific objectives, milestones, action plans, and status updates. Let me contrast what I mean when I say specific objectives. A non-specific objective would be improve new client sales by mid-year. In contrast, a specific objective is I want you to achieve a 25% increase in new client sales revenue by June 15th. Please note, ensuring you and your remote team members know exactly how the increase in new client sales will be measured is important.
Be sure to outline this before you establish these goals. Just think, if on that road trip the person who took the first driving shift thought the trip was to Miami, Ohio, not Miami, Florida, everyone in the car would be headed in the wrong direction. In a remote environment, the more specific you can be, the easier it is to ensure your team is working towards common objectives. Similar to planning stops to eat, rest and refuel between New York and Florida, the next part of driving performance is setting up the milestones, or the mini goals along the way to your main objective.
Using our specific objective from before, here are some examples of milestones. Milestone 1 a 6% increase in new client sales by February 15th. Milestone 2, 12% increase by March 30th. Milestone 3, 19% increase by April 15th. When talking about driving performance, specific milestones can help you more effectively manage performance as they inform you of where your team is versus where they need to be.
Since you can't see your team, these milestones are your eyes. It's the thing you can see to help you more effectively manage performance. The last piece of managing team performance is the action plan. It is simply a list of steps to get your team to the next milestone. Here's a tip. Create a high-level approach to get to your overall goal, but have your team create detailed action plans one milestone at a time.
When you achieve Milestone 1, then create a detailed action plan to Milestone 2 rather than creating the action plan for all the milestones up front. This allows time and room for your team to manage their own performance. They can base their action plan on what worked and didn't work before. You step in only if intervention is necessary. Consider including weekly status updates as part of the action plan. You know that infamous road trip question are we there yet? Well, status updates can help avoid that.
If you're getting weekly updates, managing performance can become more proactive. Let's go back to that driver who is headed to Miami, Ohio. If he were to give a status update and say, "Okay, we should be crossing "the border to Ohio in another hour." The group would understand that they were off course. Making adjustments sooner rather than later especially with remote teams can make all the difference when talking about making performance management easier.
These tips can be quickly implemented to help you better drive your team's performance. It also helps ensure you have the correct and the same map to take you on your journey.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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