Breaking down a problem is a common problem-solving technique. Making teams more efficient has a similar solution. It involves setting interim goals.
The Natural Inefficiency Of Teams
Groups are often inefficient. Their many touch points of communication and interaction make them so. It’s frequent for teams to do almost no work on a project until halfway to the deadline.
At this point, one of two things happens. One, the team kicks into high gear. Or two, it shuts down. The goal now seems too unrealistic. Both are not good. Rushing lowers quality. Not getting it done might be better. At least, work was not wasted on a wasted effort.
Making Teams More Efficient
To avoid this, interim goals help. At first, the obviousness of this makes it sound easy. Here’s a warning. It’s not.
Setting good interim goals have the same challenges as setting good team goals. Moreover, when do interim goals become onerous and micromanaging? A balance exists.
For instance, goals might need personalizing to specific members. Otherwise, the team becomes a team of smaller teams. These smaller teams will have the same efficiency challenges as the large ones.
It’s also not as simple as saying, “Have 25% by ‘Time X’, have 50% done by ‘Time Y’.” This can work, but tasks and specific accomplishments work better. They aren’t as subjective. They also spur motivation better. Saying something’s done makes people feel better than saying it’s halfway there.
Along with interim goals, designating decision makers goes a long way to making teams more efficient. It’s not enough to just say there’s a team leader. The team might think decisions are more consensual.
Also, interim goals and tasks might need someone’s expertise. They might carry greater consequences for some. These factors might change the decision maker.
Too often the decision maker is assumed. This only increases the chance for miscommunication and conflict. “Why is she following up?” “Who made him boss?” This slows things down. It wastes time. State the decision maker. Stating the obvious ensures it’s obvious.
Goals And Decisions
Goals motivate people. Yet, most don’t get going until the hourglass is half empty. Interim goals focused on specific objectives and tasks help. Still, too many things can pop up. Uncertainty always hides. Making teams more efficient with interim goals means clearly stating decision makers too. It reduces time wasted on smoothing out preventable misunderstandings.