When your team is in trouble, it may seem like any way out is a good way out. It often isn’t. Taking a team in the right direction is crucial at any time, but when the pressure is high and things aren’t going well, getting everyone back on track is especially difficult. Here are a few ways to do that, without falling prey to the common mistakes managers often make when trying to set things aright.
1. LOOK AT PROCESS, NOT JUST PEOPLE
When something goes wrong, too many leaders seek to blame others—it’s an understandable instinct. First reactions in crisis situations are often about sorting out what went wrong and assigning fault. And to be sure, sometimes it really is a person or group of people who screwed up. But often it’s the systems or processes they work within that’s enabled their missteps.
It helps to zoom out a bit before pointing fingers. Take these steps right away:
Closely examine your current strategy. How well was your team executing it before things went awry? What changed? Consider those execution methods from the perspective of your current situation to determine whether changing circumstances have made them less effective.
Next, analyze the impact of the work of your team, partners, and customers. Where did the results start slipping or sales begin to fall off?
Finally, evaluate your present capabilities. Despite the bad turn, what’s your current capacity to execute? What assets and resources do you still have at your command to try something new?
This assessment of your processes should make it easier to take a fresh look at your team’s or company’s strategy, so you can make decisions about how to move forward that aren’t based on personalities or office politics. Usually if there’s turmoil, it means that there’s a part of your process that hasn’t worked as intended for longer than you’d realized. But you need to pin that down before making rash choices. When decisions are made in haste without understanding their full impact, even the most effective leaders fail to get their teams back on track.