My favorite NFL team is the New England Patriots. Outside of New England, many are tired of the fact and the ways they consistently win, but win they do. One crucial discipline of their leadership is that they fall in ‘like’ with their players, not in love. This approach allows them to make sometimes hard decisions about which players to keep and not. The team’s objectives are bigger than any team member. They are equally adept at evaluating players cut by other teams and turn them into key contributors of their own. Not counting injuries, they annually ‘turnover’ 25% of the team, always with an eye to get better.
It sounds cold, but it’s really about focus. It’s good management to be evaluating team members to determine if they have the skills, commitment, and knowledge to achieve today’s objectives vs. the ones you hired them for months/years ago. Professional sports/dance/theatre/music have objective measures for determining a team member’s ability to deliver. Do you? Yes, turnover is costly, but so is missing your targets. The top questions:
- Are you identifying the skills and abilities needed to achieve your current objectives?
- Are you identifying your team member’s skills that must be developed?
- Are you significantly and meaningfully investing in developing those specific skills?
- Are you measuring their progress to ensure your investment is working?
- Are you making changes in staff and assignments based on their ability to succeed?
A leader/manager that is actively ensuring the best possible team, answers ‘yes’ to all. It’s not cold, it’s focus. ‘Cold’ is saying ‘yes’ to #5 without intense focus on #’s 1-4. Say yes to all!