Uncovering the root cause of poor team performance

Is your team struggling to perform, and you’re not sure what’s going on? Are you having challenges with delivery, but you can’t put your finger on the problem? I’m going to provide some insights to help answer these questions.

Hi, I’m Peter Nichol, Data Science CIO.

One of the challenges we experience as executive leaders is that we focus on all the qualifiable delivery aspects. For example, we concentrate on the number of product launches, the number of projects delivered, or the number of sprints deployed. In doing this, we forget about the softer side of delivery; i.e., the values, beliefs, and behaviors the team embraces to enable delivery and achieve successful outcomes.

I want to share a couple of ideas that will help you as a leader. These techniques allow you to dial in to the softer side of delivery and assess what’s required for your team to win. This will give you the confidence to know whether the team is performing or not. These assessments and maturity tools are available to professional members with training provided by the BRM Institute.

The first idea is a business value ability assessment. This assessment helps to measure maturity and determine whether you’re connecting behaviors to outcomes. It determines where your team is from a maturity perspective:

  • Sporadic: occasionally does stuff to identify value
  • Definable: usually performs steps to capture value
  • Attainable: always takes steps to understand the value
  • Optimized: focus on dialing in and quantifying the business value

The assessment allows leaders to get a better framework of which behaviors and social aspects drive and contribute to successful team deliveries.

The second assessment is called a cultural readiness assessment. This assessment asks questions that help narrow down which internal and external factors impact your delivery and your delivery success.

The assessment focuses on stimulating, surfacing, and shaping business value. The questions help identify the values, beliefs, and behaviors that your team is enabling. The assessment answers the question, Is the team using the right behaviors to enable the outcomes? Questions uncover not just what outcomes were achieved but how they were achieved.

For example, a question might probe into budgeting and explore not whether the team is budgeting but how that’s being done; i.e., from the top down or the bottom up. The question won’t ask whether the team is successful. It will filter out the behaviors driving performance and similarly ask whether those behaviors are healthy. Another question might explore whether the team celebrates successes and then immediately asks whether failures are also celebrated. A question won’t simply ask how team members rise to be leaders but rather how those leaders are elevated.

When you go through these exercises, you discover that the results uncover correlations and causations between team behaviors, performance, and outcomes. From this assessment, we, as leaders, begin to understand the softer side of delivery.

Hopefully, you can experiment with a couple of techniques and discover if they can work for you. If you’re interested in more details, I’ll put a link in the post so you can get some additional information from datasciencecio.com.

Hi, I’m Peter Nichol, Data Science CIO. Have a great day!

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Peter is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to CIO.com on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.