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How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

When a team fails – are team members responsible?

Cristiano Ronaldo is known as one of the best soccer players in the world. However, following his team’s (Real Madrid) disappointing performance in the 2015/16 season, he famously said during an interview,[1]

“If everyone else was at my level maybe we would be top of the table.”

    Realizing that this probably sounded a little arrogant, he later explained that he didn’t mean to blame his teammates.

    Even if Ronaldo didn’t intend to blame his teammates, lots of people, including team leaders do say something like that and think that team members are the ones responsible for failures. But is it really so?

    Here’s another example. This time from the world of basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers won three straight NBA championships from 2000–2002, but their fortunes faded shortly after that. The reason? Well, it certainly wasn’t the lack of talented players and coaches. Instead, it was the fact that the team suffered from poor leadership, which led to the players becoming frustrated and conflicted.[2]

    As I’ll soon show, when harmony is missing from a team, failure is usually not far around the corner.

    The True Reason Why a Team Fails

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      There are several common reasons why teams fail.

      Lack of a clear purpose or goal. 

      When a team does not know what to accomplish or what is expected, the team members will be unmotivated to move forward. And worse still, many of the team members will find the uncertainty scary and unsettling. Clearly, this is not the atmosphere needed to take a team to the top.

      For example, imagine if a team leader told his team members not to worry about achieving any goals. While day-to-day work might continue, it’s highly unlikely that the team will achieve anything groundbreaking or worthwhile.

      Lack of clear guidelines or instructions.

      Having a goal to aim for is essential, but equally, it’s vital that team members have definite guidelines or instructions to follow. Without these, the team won’t know how to work together – or what to do to improve.

      Think of a production line in a factory. If the production line workers don’t understand what they need to do, then the line will soon break down.

        Lack of planning.

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        Without specific action plans and deadlines that are possible to achieve, a team may be unable to stretch to their full potential.

        For instance, a successful marketing team will follow a strict marketing plan. This will include specific dates for things such as social media campaigns and press releases. A marketing team that has no plan, will be weak and ineffectual.

        Lack of encouragement.

        Encouragement is the vital energy that keeps teams enthusiastic and continuously moving forward. I’m sure you can think of times when you’ve had a negative, criticizing manager. No doubt, you just wanted to leave your job. And I bet you certainly weren’t motivated.

        Conversely, think about a time when you had a manager who was always encouraging and positive towards you. Even if you didn’t like the role much, you most likely worked well as you wanted to please your manager.

          So, what happens to a team that follows one or more of the four negatives above?

          The first thing that occurs is that a consistently low standard of quality will be output by the team. There will also be an environment that fosters lazy or passive team members. (In other words, team members who don’t make any effort to improve themselves or the team.)

          The team will also be likely to deny their responsibilities. For example, if they demonstrate poor performance – or even make mistakes – they’ll look for excuses.

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            A team that doesn’t work on the same page and isn’t motivated will stay the way the are: at the bottom, and failing to ever improve.

            There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Team

            All the above things that a team lacks – are things that good leadership can help avoid.

              You may have heard the expression that “there are no bad students, only bad teachers.” Well, in my experience, it’s exactly the same with teams. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

              Team leaders must accept total responsibility, own problems that inhibit performance, and develop solutions to those problems.

              A team can only deliver exceptional performance if their leader ensures they work harmoniously together towards a focused goal and with increasingly high standards of performance.

              Get Back on the Road to Success

              Okay, you’ve successfully ploughed through the negatives. Well done! Let’s now look at some concrete steps you can take to get your team working to their full potential.

              1. Set clear directions and goals

              Don’t just introduce long-term goals which seem too far away for the team to visualize the end results. Instead, have immediate and short-term goals so there’ll be small milestones to achieve, step-by-step before reaching the primary goals. When these small steps are added up together – the team will find they’re achieving some great stuff!

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              Let me give you an example. Let’s say an upcoming pop band wants to record an album. Unfortunately, they don’t have any budget or any songs of their own. In a situation like this, an album will probably remain a distant dream. However, if the band were to break down their goal into small steps, they would be sure to be encouraged by their initial successes. (These might be writing their first song, or saving enough money to book a recording studio.)

              2. Ensure the team know what is expected of them

              A team leader must ensure that team members do not slip into substandard performance and start to make this their new standard. In order to avoid this, the team leader will need to make it clear that there will be consequences for team members who don’t meet the required standards.

              This is not to say that the team leader should act like a dictator. As I’ve mentioned above, this management style will kill the motivation of team members. Instead, through performance appraisals and specific goals, a team leader can work with his team to make sure they stay on track. Team members who don’t make the grade, will most likely need more training and encouragement. Of course, if this fails, then it may be time for the team leader to suggest to the team member that they might be better off in another role, team – or company!

              3. Team leaders must always strive to improve

              Dynamic and successful teams must continuously review their performance to help identify weaknesses – and to find ways to overcome them. They must also find out their strengths – and enhance and make the best use of them.

              It’s obvious that a team leader must lead the way with the above performance reviews.

              Imagine an ambitious CEO of a tech startup. They have great vision and big, impressive goals. However, they lack one key leadership characteristic: they don’t know how to help teams within the company to continuously improve. A leadership failure like this can be fatal to a company’s success. Fortunately, even if the CEO can’t lead the teams in this way, a strong team leader could be brought in to oversee the workings and performance of the company’s teams.

              Leading the Way

              Great teams always have great leaders. And a great leader will understand that acknowledgement of failure and ownership of problems are key to a winning team. They won’t blame team members for failure – but instead, will always believe that the buck stops with themselves.

              Next time you come across a bad team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll most likely find that they’re failing to lead their team properly. Conversely, the next time you come across a successful team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll almost definitely find a purposeful person, who leads their team by example.

              Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, try adopting the tips in this article. I’m sure you’ll find that they’ll lead to increased productivity, achievements and overall team satisfaction.

              Reference

              More by this author

              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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              Last Updated on September 10, 2019

              How Continuous Improvement Can Enhance Your Personal Life

              How Continuous Improvement Can Enhance Your Personal Life

              Kaizen is the Japanese philosophy and practice of continuous improvement. This concept of continuous improvement was first conceived in the USA during WW2.

              To maintain the production levels and meet demand, the industry had to come up with a system that would allow for incremental progress in production rather than no progress at all – which was very much the reality the industry was facing.

              This concept of consistent incremental improvement proved to be a huge success and saved the US manufacturing industry from a rapid decline.

              After WW2, as part of the rebuild programme for Japan, the Japanese were invited to visit manufacturing plants through out the USA. The Japanese took this successful concept of continuous improvement and adapted into Kaizen.

              This philosophy formed the base from which the Japanese have built a manufacturing industry that dominates the world today.

              In this article, I’ll look into what continuous improvement is and how you can make use of this concept to enhance your life.

              What does Kaizen (continuous improvement) have to do with you?

              So what does Kaizen have to do with us? How can it help us enhance our personal lives?

              “Persistence, perseverance, and continuous improvement are the ingredients for forming a successful person.” — Debasish Mridha

              While Kaizen was originally developed to help businesses improve and thrive, it’s just as applicable to our personal lives.

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              The Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement I believe is a failure proof system that enables us to achieve and sustain our personal goals and dreams in life.

              The concept of continuous improvement offers us a way where we can live our lives to the fullest by continuously learning, growing and thriving.

              We live in a world of never ending disruption and change. By adopting the philosophy of Kaizen, we become more adaptable, flexible and resilient to dealing with the constant demands and disruptions we face in our lives.

              What continuous improvement is exactly

              The philosophy of Kaizen is based on the concept that instead of making big changes at once, the continuous improvement approach focuses on making small improvement over time.

              Kaizen is often referred to as the “strategy for 1% gains”. It is these 1% gains that athletes focus on to improve their performance. The 1% gains are incremental and if you keep building on the 1% gains the rewards are phenomenal.

              Continuous improvement is perpetual and so to maintain gains and improvement, you need to work on them continuously.

              Your personal improvement journey is never finished! What this means is, if you are truly committed to philosophy of continuous improvement, you are less likely to quit because you are always in search of the next goal.

              How continuous improvement empowers you

              How many New Year resolutions have you made and never achieved over the years?

              Unless you are one of the small minority who are goal orientated high achievers, maintaining motivation and the commitment to achieving your goals is hard work and dare I say it – with not much success – one big FAILURE after another.

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              Hence, these are the reasons why New Years’ resolutions are never achieved.

              Continuous improvement can help you to achieve any goals you set. If you commit to the practice of continuous improvement, your motivation to achieve your goals and aspirations in life will never die.

              “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” — Benjamin Franklin

              You will never have to struggle with the dilemma of giving up or giving in because it all became too hard.

              Your achievements and success in life will be as a result of you taking continuous incremental steps toward your goals.

              Continuous improvement is not about reaching the big goals in life but about taking small steps and improving and refining along the way.

              How to commit to continuous improvement

              If you truly desire a successful life where you are thriving, the first thing you must do is embrace and accept that your journey of self improvement and growth will never end. It is a lifelong journey of learning.

              Once you have accepted that your journey to improving your life is life long, you then follow these steps:

              1. Set your goals based on the philosophy of 1% incremental achievements

              Remember that setting the goal is the easy bit. Keeping motivated, focused and on track to achieving any goal is the hardest part.

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              The concept of continuous improvement provides you with a system or a process that if you commit to following will enable you to confidently achieve any goal you set- you are guaranteed to win.

              “Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want. Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.” — Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness

              It might not seem like much but continuous 1% improvement/achievements every day will gradually add up to 100% and the goal is achieved!

              In their book The Art Of Manliness, Brett and Kate McKay talk about how the journey of self improvement and personal growth is a lot like a rollercoaster ride – scary, exciting and with lots of ups and downs.

              They believe that by following the concept of Kaizen (the 1% improvement) every day enables you to get off the roller coaster ride of feeling like a failure and being angry with yourself because you keep giving up.

              2. Break down the system into small actions

              Continuous improvement is a journey of personal growth where you are making long-term steady progress. It is not about random bursts of improvement with fits and starts of activity. This approach to self-improvement will not give you the sustainable long-term changes you seek to improve your life or achieve your goals.

              For example, if you have huge debt and you want to pay it back but it is all too much, so you hide away from taking any action. To put the concept of continuous improvement into action, the first thing you need to do is not focus on how much you owe, instead focus on creating a system or process that enables you to pay back an incremental amount each week.

              Once you have created the system, you must break down the system into small actions or behaviours with the least resistance and effort. Commit to these actions on a daily basis until your original system is habit.

              Commit to paying back a realistic amount each week and then increase the amount you pay back by 1% plus every week after that. Keep going until the debt is paid off.

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              3. Keep track of your 1% success

              The other important factor about incremental achievement is that you must measure and keep track of your 1% successes.

              Evaluating and measuring your improvements are important for your own motivation and commitment to the journey. If you are not measuring your progress, your subconscious brain will kick in and sabotage your progress by convincing you that it is all too hard and you are not making any progress at all.

              Your subconsious brain only believes what you tell it. Unfortunately you have told your brain a lot of untruthful things over a long period of time about how you are a failure, not motivated and never really achieved anything in life. Your subconscious brain as a result believes all these “facts” that you have told it to be true.

              Measuring and evaluating your 1% successes is key to you retraining your subconscious to believe that Yes – you can achieve your goals and succeed in life!

              Focus on the progress, always

              Continuous Improvement does not focus on making huge gains or big improvements all at once. Instead it focuses on long-term steady progress.

              When you follow the philosophy of Continuous Improvement, you won’t radically change your life but over time with consistent and constant improvement and change, you will find that you are living your life to the fullest – empowered, resilient and thriving.

              Why would you not want to embrace this philosophy of incremental improvement and growth into your personal life?

              “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will be a stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” – Sir Winston Churchill

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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