Best from the worst and potential new norms: Blog No.4 – Roles

Blog No.4 – Roles

It’s not quite Netflix, but if you have been following the series so far, you’ll know that these blogs are lifting the lid on Performance Climate System (PCS). It is the leadership and team performance analytical tool built around the concept of organisational Climate. Simply, how leadership affects climate and how climate drives team performance.

Today’s episode focusses on the second of the six foundation blocks that PCS evaluates. Starting with Goals last week, we now move on to Roles. If you are reading this out of sequence, next week we will discuss Processes, then Adaptability, Connection and Resilience in the weeks thereafter.

What we mean by…..

Roles: the right internal organisation of team strengths and capabilities

The theory is straight forward. Acting on it and constantly refining it is where the skill lies. In thinking about Roles, we are really exploring role clarity and the contribution of the different players in the team. It is the ‘Who’ of team performance. In high performing teams, each team member fully understands their own role and responsibilities. They also understand what others do in the team and can take over or cover gaps when necessary. The leader’s task is fundamental in ensuring sufficient people with the necessary balance of skills are deployed in the right areas. We call it team balance. PCS also assesses the extent to which the team feels it has the right resources and structure to deliver on the goals and objectives. 

Alongside our own frameworks, the PCS Pro report analysis also incorporates Dr Bruce Tuckman’s ‘Stages of Team Development’ model. Of the stages that Tuckman defines (Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing), getting ‘Roles’ right should be a key component during the ‘forming’ stage of team development. Possible subsequent role conflict is a significant cause of competing behaviours in a ‘storming’ team.

Roles, in more detail:

As with each of PCS’s six leadership pillars, Roles is broken down in to three elements:

Roles & Responsibilities:  Do team members have clear roles and responsibilities that are aligned to the team purpose (itself based on ‘Goals’ – see previous blog #3)? PCS assesses whether actual, detailed and effective job descriptions are in place and covering relevant skills. It ensures that they are backed up by appropriate induction and understanding of responsibilities across a team. It also looks at boundaries, gaps and overlaps between individuals’ terms of reference.

Team Balance:  Are the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles. Namely, is it genuinely clear to everyone that the necessary capabilities and capacities are embedded, in order to deliver on the team’s Goal-led output? Equally, what is being done to address gaps, empower flexibility, ensure currency of skills and validate that the team balance can deliver on the team’s purpose.

Resources & Structure:  Is the team and organisation structured and resourced effectively to deliver high performance? In this section, PCS validates that the right resources are in place for the team to effectively achieve its mandate, whilst verifying that the team structure is actually right for purpose. Equally, could either resources or structure be better or more optimal now whilst also future-proofed so far as possible?

Once all these ‘Roles’ factors are clearly established, based on the vision set within PCS’s ‘Goals’ pillar, any team ought to be well placed to move on to look at how it will drive its productivity and performance. In next week’s instalment we will delve in to PCS’ take on assessing organisational ‘Processes’.

Toby Ellison, May 2020

Are the roles clear in your team?

If you’re a HR or L&D leader looking for an objective and analytical way to assess how your remote teams and their leaders are performing in the current climate, look no further than our PCS Lite tool. Quick, simple and online, PCS Lite is a survey-based tool which gives you a snap-shot of how your teams and leaders are performing in 6 key areas critical to team performance and wellbeing. The resulting report will highlight areas for attention and give practical advice on how to improve them resulting in happier, healthier and more productive teams. Try PCS Lite here.

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.