How To Get It Done With The People You’ve Got

July 5, 2015
Paul LaRue

You’ve inherited a new position, and with it a new team.

The problem is, they aren’t new – you are.

You have heard going in that the team is an underperforming bunch, and that you’ll need to clean house and bring in new people.

Is that the right course of action?

Maybe you’re challenged with some urgent goals – achieve revenue, turn around operations, cut costs – which will take all of your time.

Perhaps you don’t have the resources or backing from HR to support a massive hiring initiative.

Or instead you don’t feel right in making these changes as that is not your style or what you feel is effective.

So how to you get it done with the team you got? Here’s how:

  • Get everyone on board. Get your people together as quickly as possible. Let them know what is being asked of them, and that you can’t do it alone. Inform them that you believe they can do it, tell them what talent you’ve seen already, and solicit their commitment to work together.
  • Let them know the mission and goals. Lay out the organization’s values, and mission, and show how it matches up with the goals at hand. Communicate from that point on – daily – that this is the language you’ll be speaking to them. Put the mission and goals out there – every day – to inspire and keep folks focused on the big picture of what they are committing towards.
  • Find the training gaps and fill them. When you connect with your team individually, make a conscious effort to find, and ask, what they know and what they want to learn. Give them everything that you can to get them performing on a consistent basis, fill in their knowledge gaps, and seeing better results.
  • Commit to their success, and the team’s. Every day let your people know that you’re there for them. Show them proof of that by being available, gathering their input, and working to make them and their jobs better each day. Look at the entire team’s trajectory and keep searching for ways to connect them and meet their mutual needs as well.
  • Let those who balk, walk. There is always those detractors who won’t come on board. If they choose not to commit, respect and thank them for their decision and move quickly to replace them. A good example of this is the character of John in Mark Miller’s Chess Not Checkers. It’s more than having a drag factor around, it’s keeping the growth and integrity of the team intact so they can achieve their goal.
  • Recognize and connect. Be involved in your people’s lives. Thank them for the growth and extra effort they give. Keep in constant contact with them. By recognizing their contributions they will be a committed member of the team and maybe even become leaders in their own right. Deep employee engagement leads to each team member stretching themselves to achieve goals they never thought possible.

This process should be cycled through repeatedly even if the team has achieved the goals and has turned things around. By applying these principles, you can find that with the right leadership most any team can, and will, be able to attain new heights.

Have you been able to get it done with the people you have? Share your stories in the comments.

More From Paul LaRue

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7 Reasons to Promote Your Core Values

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Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership,. strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership. 

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