The same holds true for the health of your business. Your company may be facing incredible opportunities for growth. You may have great ideas that have the potential to turn your industry on its head. But if your team isn’t healthy, those opportunities really don’t matter because, chances are, your business won’t be in a position to act.
How do you know if your team is healthy or not? Here are five areas where you can gauge the overall health of the leadership group that’s running your company.
- Trust: Do your team members trust one another? Do they have confidence in the knowledge, skills, integrity, work ethic, and reliability of other departments? Remember that trust is earned—not mandated. Are you working to build trust among team members? Without it, your business won’t get far.
- Conflict: We may not like conflict, but it’s going to happen. The big issue is not how to avoid conflict, but how to resolve it. If team members are afraid of conflict they may avoid it altogether and that’s dangerous. Sometimes it needs to happen. Are you training your key people to resolve conflicts in a way that benefits the company? Or are you sweeping things under the carpet in hopes that the uncomfortable encounters will simply go away?
- Commitment: It’s easy to talk a good game, but do your key players have the kind of commitment to make sure they follow through on the commitments they make? By the way, failing to fulfill commitments is a leading cause of the absence of trust. What are you doing to help team members grow in commitment?
- Accountability: Do you have team members who avoid accepting responsibility? It’s impossible to build trust or commitment if people aren’t accountable for what they do. This isn’t about assigning blame. This is about acknowledging the impact one person (or department) has on another. Each team member needs to “own” the results of his or her actions (or inaction). If the default response is, “It’s not my fault!” you may have a problem. What you want is: “We dropped the ball. Here’s why. Here’s what we’re doing so that it won’t happen again.”
- Results: Teams can argue about philosophy. They can disagree about methodology. But what they can’t ignore—or at least shouldn’t ignore—are results. Don’t let emotions or differences of opinion cloud the facts. Make sure you have accurate measurements of results. It’s not helpful to say, “I don’t like the way we did that.” What is helpful is to say, “Our goal was to increase sales by 10 percent and we only increased by 2 percent. How do we fix that?”
Healthy, functional teams are critical if you’re going to scale your business. Maybe it’s time for a check-up. If your team exhibits a lack of trust, an avoidance of conflict, a lack of commitment, an aversion to accountability, or an inability to focus on results, you may need to take action in order to return them to health.