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How to focus your team

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I’ve been thinking about this blog and I’ve come to the conclusion that you get a pretty easy deal.  At some point during your week, you take a break from your work and spend a couple of minutes read my latest blog post.  Perhaps you drink a cup of tea at the same time; perhaps you use it as an excuse to do a bit of planning.  Perhaps you think about picking up the phone to call me in to do some work for you but then think better of it.  However you spend that time, you don’t really have to work that hard.

And I’m normally happy about that – I like to make your life easier, if I possibly can.  This week is different.  This week, I’d like you to get involved and do a little bit of work for me.  If you’re in a management team, I’d like you to participate an experiment.  As is the often case with experiments, I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I think it’ll be interesting to give it a go and see what happens and I hope you’ll agree.

Next time your management team is together, ask them to write down the answers to the following three questions:

  • What is the one thing that’s made (your organisation) so successful up until now?
  • What is the one thing that’s stopping (your organisation) being even more successful?
  • What’s the one thing that, if we as a management team did it, would make all the difference to (your organisation) in the future.

If you like, you can apply it to your division rather than your organisation as a whole – it doesn’t really matter and you can pick whichever is most relevant to you and your management team.  The writing bit is important, though, and you want to make sure nobody “cheats” because the next stage of this is to compare the answers that people have given.

I don’t know what answers your management team will give but I’m willing to bet that, whatever they are, you’ll find you get mostly different answers from every person on the team.  I’m willing to bet that your team has no real consensus on what’s made you successful, no concurrence on what’s holding you back and no agreement on the best thing to do next.

If my bet is right and that’s the case, there are a couple of follow-up questions you might ask:

  • What are the consequences of this difference?
  • What are we going to do about it?

Good luck and let me know how you get on…

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