Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to evaluate your team

Measure more than just goals—assess group processes as well.

Members are juggling many tasks to reach the team’s goals. How you achieve those goals can be just as important as the end result, especially if the team must work together on an ongoing basis.

Observe how the team communicates, how it deals with adversity, how it resolves conflicts, and what other methods it uses to reach its goals. A useful question to ask yourself is whether the team has created a capability as well as a result.
Solicit outside opinions—for example, customer satisfaction surveys may provide useful insight into how well a team is functioning.

Get to know your team’s weaknesses.

For example, examine your team’s problem-solving methods. Does it spend its time arguing or coming up with solutions? Does it follow its agenda during problem-solving sessions or are its meetings disorganized?
Perhaps your team’s shortcoming is in the area of goal setting or follow-through. Whatever the weaknesses are, you need to pinpoint them before you can address them.

Set up evaluation milestones.

Make sure you provide feedback at regular intervals throughout the project. When a project is over, it may be too late or very difficult to correct past problems.

Help team members evaluate each other.

The most constructive criticism will come from other members, because team members are most familiar with each other’s work. But proceed gently here: some team members may feel uncomfortable evaluating their peers.

To get started, try having everyone share his opinion of how effective the team has been and what it needs to do to improve.
If there is a general consensus about these issues, move on to feedback about individual members—have each person begin with a self-assessment.
Be prepared to handle conflict, anger, or hurt feelings when members start evaluating each other.

Balance individual performance with team performance.

An individual’s performance should judged on his contributions as well as how the team’s work has progressed.

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