Reach peak performance through the magic of teams: Part 2/3

Aug 20, 2021
Setting Expectations
Over this series, we've been deep-diving into building out a multi-disciplinary, multi-talented team. We've been using a family doctor setting as an example and an idea of the required operations. So, let's assume you review the unit and spot that you could replace a team of, say, four doctors with two doctors, two paramedic practitioners, and a pharmacist. At that next phase of maturity, you've expanded the pipeline for supply and can meet demand, and indeed it's a simple question of maths. Yes and no.
Implementing such a team takes a lot more. Creating expectations is a crucial first step. Especially if you're introducing new roles, understand that you operate in a biased culture that doesn't fully understand the functions you're introducing but knows you want more capacity. Beware of recruiting alternative roles and assuming they will be a mini-version of the position you're filling. That sets everyone up to fail. Be clear and realistic at the outset, it will evolve, but you need a stable platform to build from.
The next step is ensuring you have full ownership among your leadership team. Especially in highly technical teams, there can be a professional bias against recruiting anything other than a direct replacement. At worst, some team members may see this as an opportunity to offload the nonsense they don't want to handle. That may well be true but denotes an attitude of the professional hierarchy, and we all know which way the proverbial can flow. That sentiment can also signal the perceived value of the task. For example, a job might seem menial to a skilled technician but engaging or challenging to a different member of the team and vital to a consumer. Which is the correct answer for the whole organisation? A task carried out by a less expensive or less skilled team member is no less valuable.
These conversations can also highlight whether members of the leadership team are skeptical about introducing a different team member. That isn't to say that you can't proceed without full consent. Still, the wary leader must, as a minimum, endorse the decision and ensure that their "reserve judgement" status withstands every corridor or closed-door conversation, every behaviour, and interaction. Reserving judgment is not the same as being unbiased. Leaders don't always need to agree to an innovation fully but must be congruent in giving that innovation every chance to thrive.
One of the other reasons why this step is vital is a core element of delegation. Leaders may delegate authority for a task to another person and sometimes still hold responsibility for that task. In this example, a doctor leader can delegate prescribing medicine to a qualified member of the team. Does that hand over full clinical responsibility? In the event of an error, was it simply the other person's job? Absolutely not.
Irrespective of company structure, a board of directors is individually and severally responsible for the organization's activities. When you bring in other team members, you do transfer activity, but as a group of leaders need to examine and be comfortable with the level of decision-making, support, and training. Raise concerns at the outset. Don't set the team up to fail. Ensure you recognise that there will be errors (as there are in any innovation) and own responsibility for the decision made. Failing to speak out is a typical executive faux-pas for many projects intended to avoid conflict but can stop the business from moving forward.
One of the most practical strategic activities is to develop a framework of a series of protocols that outline delegated power and decision making or shared and where support and supervision lie within a system. Also, be clear about where accountability sits within a system. A clear framework is critical in a regulated service but is vital in most organisations.
To recap -
  1. you know how many of what/who,
  2. you're on board
  3. and understand the decisions that are and are not being made
Can you now go ahead and recruit? Of course, but there is one more essential point to come. And you guessed it, that comes next week!
In our next article, we'll be tackling this fundamental question: How do you prime the organisation and your customers for the change to optimise success?

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.