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The Simplest Test

By david malone, Oct 25 2013 01:48AM

It seems to me that our organisations have never been so fluid. People come and go on a seemingly non-stop basis. Business strategy shifts constantly too. Organisations are so lean that any significant shift in thinking demands almost instant internal tweaking.

Our sporting codes provide a great mirror into all this. Seriously, who would want to be a coach today? Even the very best struggle to meld a consistent team throughout the season - and in a matter of weeks, they can go from rooster to feather duster. The simple line from many coaches is just how hard it is to manage generation ‘Y’, but I don’t think that’s anywhere near the complete answer.

My interest is in the practical day-to-day need of managers to recast their teams continuously in this world. Team Leaders need a few simple ‘tests’ to continuously fine tune their teams.

When everything else is equal, you are building your business on the ‘minds’ of your staff – beyond their capacities, there is their commitment to the task, their preparedness to follow, the external life pressures they face and their own sense of self-worth and disposition.

My suggestion is as simple as it gets. First ask the question ‘who is putting energy into your team and who, on the other hand, is sucking it out’? You already know the answer to the last point intuitively, because you can feel the energy being dragged from you as you try to keep things moving.

That ‘test’ is a very handy filter. Sure, it’s not enough to drive decisions alone, but it does provide some insight into the power of your team and where fixes might be needed.

Most importantly, it also leads to the next ‘test’ of ‘which staff are part of the ‘future’ of your organisation’. Again, we all do this test intuitively anyway. It actually can be a positive discussion too, as it will not only highlight who might not be needed in the future, but also clarify who are essential.

Good organisations are reviewing their circumstances regularly and using these or similar ‘tests’. In a world of a reducing labour force, those that get this right are a long way towards their business goals.

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