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Seb Anthony

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Improving team working and performance


At the request of the line manager I have been working with a team of 15 people who are suffering from a lack of motivation, poor time management, low morale, and generally poor performance. This has lead to frequent sickness absence. Through facilitated discussion the group has recognised their issues and brainstormed possible solutions, but I’m now at a loss as to how to get the team to take ownership of the solutions and actually take action on them. Any suggestions?
L Cole

8 Responses

  1. Ownership
    You might want to consider facilitating another session with all the “ideas” and ask the group to prioritise them into easy/hard to do, and on the other axis, high/low impact on job performance.

    Get them to agree what success would look like for each of them (and milestones along the way for long term things).

    Before anyone leaves the room – you then get an “owner” for every area they have agreed is worth doing. This should be someone in the team (not yourself) who is then accountable to the others for doing it. They must then commit to a date when it is to be completed by and when the group can get a progress report.

    You can then offer to help the problem owner get together a team to tackle the issue or to help them find resources and help. You explain you are willing to help them resolve the issue but will not take responsibility for tackling the problem – it is their problem.

    Have review meetings put in the diary to force progress reports and to ensure successes are celebrated.

    (I would love to check the whole area of Performance Management has been covered in their brainstorm but am assuming you have done this. As this is an area I am particularly passionate about I would be happy to discuss it with you further if you would like to contact me on [email protected])

  2. Underpinning causes
    I agree with Margaret that one excellent way forward is to action plan the key/core issues with chunks being taken by individuals to tackle.

    I have never seen a team of disenchanted indivuals where the sole cause was team related. I am sure that you have also isolated some management/organisational issues that require action planning also! It is key to your success here that those management issues are also tackled and foward planned at the same time as the team plans are set.

    The symptom of illness days amongst 15 people in a team is worrying and may have some legal ramifications, if you wish to discuss those please contact me to chat through some pointers to watch for.
    Good luck with it!
    TBD Global Ltd
    0870 241 3998

  3. Passing the buck?
    I’d love to know what the underlying cause is here.

    Is this a case of the line manager instigating training because management has failed?
    “Give them some training and that’ll sort the problem.”

    If so, then your training may fail if it isn’t supported post course by management.

    You may need to address wider concerns head on.

  4. Ownership
    Have you tried asking them what is preventing them from taking ownership of the “solutions” they have apparently generated?

  5. Motivation
    The comments made by the other respondents have captured the essence of what needs to be done ie from the options, what are the best things to do and who is going to do what by when (gaining ownership.

    The only other thing to do is to go back a stage and have independently conducted (someone from outside the organisation) one-to-ones or an idependent focus group meeting to determine what’s behind the behaviour.

  6. Arian Associates Ltd
    Many of the comments below are correct.
    There may however be a simpler solution – is the Line Manager in question the problem ? Is it he/she who needs the training ?
    AND – even though solutions may have been suggested are the team actually now going to be allowed to implement these solutions ?

    Still some questions to answer I would say !

  7. Going beyond “Yes”…
    My former colleague used to say that “Getting to Yes” was easy, going beyond & making something happen is the hard bit!

    I faced a similar situation in a Multinational, where the management was S.E. Asian, & the workers European – with all the culture clashes you can imagine. We never did get past the conflict of viewpoints, because management was not prepared to visit the idea that european workers see things from a european viewpoint & want to react like europeans; and the workers could not grasp that S.E. Asian bosses “had” to follow their traditional management techniques (and expect micromanagement inputs from their superiors..)

    Would suggest you take a look at David Sibbet’s Facilitation Guides, where all the activities are based on the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model (; you might find Eli Goldratt’s books “The Goal” & “Critical Chain” give you a different view on tackling a problem! (ISBNs 0-88427-061-0 & 0-88427-153-6).
    If you’d like to talk through your situation, feel free to give me a call.


  8. Self motivation
    Following the other comments people have made, I would appreciate any tips or advice people have on self motivation.

    I am extremely demotivated myself at the moment and don’t seem to be able to find the motivation for work or much else these days. I would be grateful for any advice people can provide.

    Please email me with any suggestions.

    Many thanks
    Kevin Wilson
    Training Officer


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