This past week I realized that there CAN definitely be too many cooks in the kitchen. I don’t cook very often so for me to even use that analogy, it is way too crowded! I believe in everyone having a role and everyone’s role having value, but when the line gets fuzzy between the two, I find myself getting uncomfortable and having to trust my gut. Enough is enough, time to trim some fat!
What is fat in a team project? To me, it is anything that is unnecessary, overindulgent or undefinable. But how do you cut what you cannot see? You have to make an honest evaluation of your team’s strengths and weaknesses for starters.
Like any good recipe, here are the necessary ingredients for a good end result where no one goes away hungry. First ask a few necessary questions in your team self-evaluation:
- What’s working right about your team
- What’s not working the way it should
- What weakness can be developed into a strength
- Can this team get you from where you are to where you should be
The next step is to re-evaluate your teams’ structure:
- Shared team vision
- Clear team goals
- Clear team roles
- Effective and clearly defined leadership
Lastly, you have to ask hard questions like:
- Is every member giving their personal best
- Are the personal objectives of one member stronger than the objectives of the group
- Does every member of the team have a designated and valuable role
- Is the responsibility and dedication commensurate with the compensation
One positive way to get the answers to these questions is in the form of peer evaluations instead of self-evaluations. Devise a system in which the participation of each team member is anonymous as to not put the group under pressure. They are more likely to be honest about their feelings if the others won’t know it was them who had a specific concern or doubt. The greatest way to do all of this is a survey that the group can fill out. It is then that you can address where to trim and by how much.
These days, in this economy, fat is fat and facts are facts. And it doesn’t always mean completely cutting out an element or team member from the process; it can mean realigning and reassigning tasks that are more appropriate. One thing that is important to remember: one weak link can undermine a project or even the reputation of the group. It is important that each team member feel strongly about the others’ role in the success of the project.
While cutting back through self-evaluation sounds like a rogue form of corporate fat-trimming, it really is the quickest way to stop, take inventory and evaluate the direction of a project and the effectiveness of each member of the team; something every team should be willing to do for the good of the whole.
So whether it’s a company project or a t-bone steak dinner for 20 you’re cooking up, make sure there is one chef, many capable cooks and an abundance of servers and dishwashers on hand to see that it, in the end, is fit for a king…or queen!