Is Your Team Stuck in 'P'?By: Brian Ward
Sometimes teams struggle when it comes to taking action. Spending too much time in the 'P' (planning stage) can cause well intentioned efforts to fizzle out. It can happen to the best of teams, even yours. Using an automobile analogy, here are some solutions you might want to try to get your team unstuck and moving smoothly along the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) highway.
Let's suppose that you were the owner of a high powered racing car, that competes in all the major racing events. You have assembled a team to design, produce, maintain, repair and of course drive the car. But it always seems that the car spends more time in the pit (P) than on the track (D)...and even less time reviewing/improving (C/A) - something is terribly wrong.
Start by asking the following questions...add to them as you see fit:
N stands for Norms...
Establishing team norms is essential for success. For example, developing team processes for decision making and problem solving, including dealing with emergencies, will help to establish norms around how the team will deal with situations as they arise. Another norm is treating each other with respect, which can be easy when things are going smoothly...but wait till things get a little chaotic!
R stands for Resilience
Not everything is under the control of the team, and it sometimes takes courage and determination to deal with obstacles to team performance. Building individual capacity to handle these tough situations is essential. For example training in conflict management skills will help the team members recognize when conflict has arisen and what actions to take that are appropriate.
Here's hoping that your team can keep its motor running and stay on track...but if it gets stuck in 'P' again, you know what to do!
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