As we discussed on the page ‘Get Moving’, there are specific factors that inhibit coherence in organizations. In order for our plans to succeed, we need to organize for success. This comes down to making sure there is alignment and focus. We also want to ensure that the required effort can be pulled off by the team.
How do we gain insight in these parameters to the extent that everybody knows where they are now and what needs to be done next? In essence we want to have insights like:
- ‘John has too much on his plate. We need to sit with him and understand how we can help him.’
- ‘Team B is well aligned with the company objectives, but they are not aligned among themselves on their priorities. Let’s get together and resolve this first.’
- ‘The Business Development Team is moving too fast on lead generation, since ICT isn’t ready for the CRM rollout, yet. We should align them with ICT and alter their priorities for the coming quarter’.
Ask everyone involved
How do we arrive at these insights? We do so by asking all the people involved. By asking we engage people in the movement we want to create.
As an example, let us assume management wants to improve the effectiveness of one or more teams. For the sake of this example, we use six priorities that management deems relevant. Three priorities for individuals to thrive in their team and three for team effectiveness:
- To what extent are your personal objectives taken into account in your work?
- To what extent is it known which skills and talents you want to develop?
- How do you deal with deadlines?
- To what extent does the team have objectives?
- To what extent is there a clear division of roles, responsibilities and tasks in the team?
- Does the team meet to discuss status and progress?
There either is a natural order in these priorities, or an order should be set. E.g. for the individuals we could agree that their personal objectives should be reckoned with first. On team level: without objectives there is no need to have a team. Et cetera.
For the purpose of engaging everybody involved, we ask everybody about these priorities. Since we want to gain specific insights for concrete actions, we ask for facts or verifiable behavior. In the questions we incorporate the maturity levels that we have in mind for the team and our organization. Last, but not least, we ask people for the status now and the status they want to have arrived at in the near future, for example six months from now.
A typical question would look like this example:
According to the person in this example, there are team objectives and they have been shared. However, he thinks the team should step up in the coming six months by making it clear how his role contributes to the team objectives – the highest maturity level in this example.
Every person in the team can indicate where he or she is at, and where he/she wants to be six months from now (or two or three, depending on the rhythm you want the change to occur at). Now we can have an aggregate understanding where the individuals and team are and what needs to be done, for example:
- ‘Within the team there is little alignment on the priorities to work on.’
- ‘Suzy has reached the highest maturity level in dealing with.’ deadlines. She can share her expertise with John, who is lagging.’
- ‘There is clarity on the team objectives, yet the division of roles is not fully clear.’
How to lead and on what
By getting this information, leadership now gets a grip on how to lead and on what. For example if the team is well aligned on their priorities, but not in agreement with leadership’s priorities, leadership should take a different action compared to when the team does agree with them. In the latter case, there is no need to hold back: everybody is on the same song sheet so let’s move forward! In the former case there is a need for clear communication. Maybe there is a conflict that needs resolution!
Engage everyone involved
In order to engage everyone, we actually ask everyone involved. All of them? Yes. But wouldn’t it be cumbersome and time consuming to get all the answers and process them? Not if you use Artificial Intelligence, let algorithms do that work and present you the dashboard, on all levels of granularity – in real-time!
The Praioritize platform, developed by our partner Transparency Lab, does all that. It automates all the tasks involved in measuring and reporting on the change progress. You don’t need to wait until all responses are in and you don’t need people to process responses – the platform does all that in real-time, through 360º input from every person involved. The platform gives insight on levels of agreement and calculates priorities to work on for the organization, the teams and all individuals. Management of course ultimately decides on these priorities, and is supported by the platform in knowing whether the effort required is feasible and the capacity in the team is sufficient.
Knowing what to do…
In case of this example, the plan and priorities for Team A in the coming six months could now be assessed as follows:
- Personal objectives of everybody discussed and documented (highest maturity level 3).
- Development of skills and talents of everybody discussed with manager (maturity level 2).
- Team objectives: clear and documented and for everybody involved it is clear how their role contributes to the objectives (maturity level 3).
Note that of the six priorities dealt with in the questionnaire management has chosen three to focus on in the coming period. That is because, based on the algorithms of the Praioritize platform they know that this is a feasible amount of priorities (focus), the effort of which can be borne by the team and there is sufficient capacity within the team to pull this off.
Dashboards on every level
The platform provides dashboards on every level. This means that every individual has access to the information relevant to his/her performance (where am I, what do I need to do next?, who can help me?), every team leader has insight on team level and the board of management has a comprehensive overview, including insights on how teams are progressing together.