Setting Goals with Your Team!

No matter what stage of development your team may be at, they’re most effective when the whole group understands and accepts the goals of their assignment. A way to get your team on-board is to allow members to provide feedback on defining and refining project goals. Managers should also provide feedback on establishing and refining these goals. Synergy between team members and managers in establishing project statements will result in achieving these goals, as well. This conversation should normally happen at the initial project meeting, which should also describe team-building goals and information goals.

Effective teams contribute to the achievement of three types of goals throughout the course of a project.

1.      Team-building goals focus on:

          Getting to know each team member. Teams are most effective when they take time to discover each member’s background, skill, work style, etc.

          Learning to work together. Teams need to identify the strengths of each member and set processes in place to work efficiently together.

          Setting ground rules. Members need a common understanding of how the team will conduct itself and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Some of the topics for discussion are meeting attendance, promptness, conversational courtesy, assignments, and breaks.

          Figuring out decision-making processes. A characteristic of ineffective teams is that decisions just seem to happen. Teams need to discuss how decisions will be made to avoid conflicts in the future.

2.      Information goals include:

          Getting updates from team members on progress! Staying connected with your team and making sure everyone is on the same page is important.

          Learning about the tools used to support the team’s various tasks.

          Communicating with stakeholders.

3.      Project goals focus on:

          Understanding the project and each member’s assignment. Teams should be able to ask questions about their tasks and the stakeholders’ expectations.

          Identifying the business needs supported by the goals.

          Understanding the process that will be used. Not only do team members need to understand the overall process, but they also need to understand which steps are their responsibilities.

          Identifying the resources needed. Team members need to discuss resources that might be needed sooner than later in the process. This discussion ensures that necessary resources will be available at their designated times.

          Developing a project plan or outline of how the team will accomplish their goals. Teams need roadmaps. A team leader should discuss the logistics of the project with team members. Breaking the process into smaller steps and assigning duties will help build team collaboration. Team should continue to review and revise these plans as they move toward reaching their goals.

set and reach goal concept

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What Does “Team Growth” Mean to You?

A team, especially one that is in a foodservice operation, has four distinct stages of group development. The four stages of group development were created by Dr. Bruce W. Tuckerman after observation of the different phases in the development and maturity of groups of people.

Forming

The first stage is forming. This is where teams are getting to know each other, as well as learning what will be required of them in order to achieve their assigned goal. This stage is defined by the way the team members approach each other and inspect the limitations of group behavior. The group is also evaluating the manager’s role and leadership. Throughout this stage, the manager takes a larger role in directing the progress of the team. Directing involves telling the group what specifically needs to be accomplished, establishing guidelines, and providing specifics on the five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and How. At this point, the team members are focusing on being part of a team.

Team Feeling:

          Excitement; Optimism; Pride in being selected; Wondering what role and influence they will have; Anxiety; Questioning why they and other team members were selected

Team Behavior:

          Friendly; Agreeable; Deciding how to accomplish tasks; Determining acceptable team behavior; Information gathering; Handling complaints about the organization; Discussing barriers to the task

Leadership Style:

          Directing

Storming

The second stage is storming. At this point, the reality of the project sets in for the team and various interpersonal struggles begin to surface. Typically, this is the most difficult stage for any team to get through, since power clashes and competition between team members are common and are easily seen here. Besides this realization, team members become impatient with their lack of progress and rely more on individual approaches instead of teamwork. At this time, the manager needs to utilize a coaching style to clarify and explain tasks repeatedly. The manager will need to persuade team members often to work together and refocus their efforts.

            Team Feeling:

          Resistance to approaches different from what the team is comfortable with; Swings in attitudes about the team and project; Questioning many aspects of the task

Team Behavior:

          Arguing; Choosing sides; Perceived “pecking order”; Increased tension; Jealousy; Power struggles; Lack of progress; Loss of interest

Leadership Style:

           Coaching

Norming

The third stage, norming, sees team member settling their differences and developing more cohesive and trusting relationships. The team realizes that they can work together and help each other achieve success. The members understand the team’s needs and accept the team ground rules and the roles that each person plays in achieving the project goals. Conflict decreases as these realizations occur and team members develop more confidence in their ability to work together and accomplish the task. At this time, the manager transitions into a leadership style of supporting the team by providing encouragement, listening more than telling, and promoting team discussions.

            Team Feeling:

          Expressing constructive criticism; Membership acceptance; Relief that things are finally going smoothly; Understanding own contribution; Acceptance of membership

Team Behavior:

          Attempts for harmony; Avoiding conflict; Discussing team dynamics; Sense of common purpose; Establishing and monitoring team rules; Expressing ideas

Leadership Style:

          Supporting

 

Performing

At last but not least, the fourth and final stage is performing. This is where team interdependence is recognized. Team members can analyze and solve problems successfully together. They have accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can adapt to meet the needs of each member. The team becomes very productive and truly adds value to the organizations. At this point, the manager can use a delegating style. The manager no longer needs to provide much direction and can periodically monitor the team’s progress with update meetings.

            Team Feeling:

          Insights into group processes; Understanding of each member’s strengths and weaknesses; Satisfaction with progress; Trusting; Friendly; Having fun

Team Behavior:

          Individual behavior modification; Working through team problems; Close attachment to members; Flexibility; Humor; Ownership of results

Leadership Style:

          Delegating

team growth

team grow

WV Family Grief Center

Earlier last week, I was approached by 2nd year students from the School of Pharmacy. They were working on a semester-long service learning project where they needed to collaborate with another WVU student organization. So, they were providing the West Virginia Family Grief Center with a nutritious dinner and asked if the WVU Student Dietetic Association could provide some assistance. The School of Pharmacy students requested we provide the families on Thursday January 31st with information on easy, inexpensive, healthy meal ideas. So, I created handouts on Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Easy Meal Planning. I asked 2 undergraduates to accompany me to the event, to give the undergraduates practice at public speaking. We arrived to the location, on Scott Avenue in Morgantown, at approximately 5:30pm and left the event around 7:45pm. The participants were really receptive of the materials we provided and the coordinator of the center even took extra handouts to leave out for other members of the Church of Christ, where the center meets.

WV Family Grief Ctr