Best from the worst and potential new norms: Blog No.3 – Goals

Where were we?

Having kicked-off this series with an overview of Performance Climate System (PCS), we then expanded on the nature of Climate itself last week. Today, we will start to explore the six core pillars that the framework of Performance Climate System is built upon: Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. Collectively, they provide a recognisable foundation structure to leadership methodology, specifically as we see it, shaping Climate and thus driving performance. We cluster the first three pillars, Goals, Roles & Processes, under a sub-heading of ‘transactional’ (structural and organisational) elements.  The second three pillars, Adaptability, Connection & Resilience, are grouped under the sub-heading of ‘transformational’ (behavioural) factors. Today, we will examine the first core pillar, Goals, in a little more detail.  

Goals:  The vision and targets the team aims its activity towards

The first question we typically ought to ask ourselves when joining a team is ‘What are we here to do?’. An unclear vision, a lack of goal clarity, or conflicting goals is the most common cause of underperformance in teams.

Strong leadership and direction is clearly essential when forming a new team, or when a leader joins an established team. The initial focus of the leader needs to start with explaining the purpose of the team and how it contributes to the strategy of the organisation. Namely, setting or confirming the vision.  Next the leader needs to define clear and unambiguous specific goals for the team and its individuals. Lastly, the leader needs to be able to articulate, engage and lead the team’s focus with the Goals squarely in mind.

With this in mind, PCS helps leaders and teams examine the bedrock of their ‘Goals’ through three separate lenses:

Vision: This is fundamental and should be simple. ‘What is the mission and purpose of this organisation and team?’.  Namely, establishing the right vision and bringing it to the heart of the team’s endeavours, by really concentrating on ‘what are we here to do and why?’.

Goal Clarity:  The actual roadmap to success, essential for uniting the team’s effort.  In other words, it’s about ensuring understanding of what the goal(s) is (or are), in order to be able to plan and articulate how to achieve them.

Leadership & Direction:  How effectively the leader sets direction and communicates the mission, purpose and goals to team members. It’s about achieving a collaborative plan; setting those specific goals and then communicating them clearly and effectively.

All of these are easy to point towards in a short article like this. But having this cornerstone of Goals-orientated thinking, communication and buy-in from team members is fundamental and cannot be overlooked.  And assuming it is all done effectively, the next PCS core pillar, Roles, should build on this strong starting point. Which we will look at next time.

Toby Ellison, April 2020

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.