Identify Where Underperformance Strikes to Blow by the Competition
Measuring Your Team Performance
If someone dropped you in the middle of nowhere Alaska with just a map and an X on it… would you know how to get there?
Of course not. (And if you attempted, would be lucky to avoid frostbite.)
Because, as any adventurer knows, before you can move towards a goal, you need to know where you are on the map. You would need to identify some landmarks to gauge where you are and some checkpoints to measure your progress toward the goal.
Evaluating the right route for your team—even if you know where to go—requires the same assessment. Any leader needs to know the landmarks or checkpoints that lie between the organization and optimal performance.
When assessing where you are as a team, there are two general categories of landmarks or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you can use: tangible and intangible.
As a general leadership rule, you should stay out of the operational weeds. It’s your job to plan and sustain the big-picture and train up the right delegates for detail work.
However, assessing your team well does require a season in the weeds to really understand who is doing what.
Only then can you assess the skills of each team member and position him or her for maximum value and production. Only then can you identify strengths and weaknesses and position each of them in the best possible position to contribute to the team performance.
You’ll want to take a look at things like:
- Wants and needs
- Beliefs and behaviors
- Empowerment levels
Other performance indicators are more easily missed because they don’t show up as numbers or percentages. But oh, do they matter! They are intangible so far as they are the performance indicators of healthy culture, problem-solving, and the relationship between team members. The four intangible KPIs I like to look at first are:
Trust. Trust is the currency of leadership. It starts when your team can trust you and you can trust your team. On the other hand, mistrust creates isolation. Isolation in a team environment always leads to disaster.
So, ask yourself:
- Does my team trust me? Do I trust my team?
- Do external customers trust us?
- Do other departments within the organization trust us?
- Do I know what my team can and can’t do—and how to grow where we are lacking?
Competence. Trust can only take you so far when you’ve got a competence problem. As an InSPIRED leader, you have a responsibility to create and guide a competent team. That means you’ve got to understand your team’s core competencies:
- What is it that your department does?
- What are the critical deliverables?
- What are the critical roles?
- Within the critical roles, what does competency look like?
Communication. All communication is not created equal. Many conversations among/to team members technically use all the right information—but they’re still not communicating. They’re just transmitting. Communication means not only that transmission has occurred, but also that recipients have received the information—and they know what to do with it.
Commitment. We all start with some level of competence, but knowledge in any industry has to be learned. Give me a person who has some level of competence, but is trustworthy with a heart full of commitment—and I can turn that person into a vital and integrated member of the team. You will gain competence every day if your heart is committed.
Becoming a Master Navigator
Together these KPIs make up your team compass. Most leaders focus on the tangibles, but the secret to finding true north is understanding both the measurable performance indicators and the abstract characteristics that set the context and culture for everything you output.
Keep them in your pocket at all times, and it won’t matter where you get dropped—if you can evaluate where your team is now, you can strategize how to get them anywhere.