19 January 2011

My team management book – what do you think?

During a the new year’s eve collective delusion, I decided it would be fun to write a short ebook to help people to manage teams better. The idea come from the amount of people that came to me to get advice on how to run a team like I ran mine when I was AIESEC Norway’s President.

I set a deadline to finish the book by end May (geez…) and that before my birthday (21st of January) I would have the basic structure in place. And this post is exactly about this last bit, the structure. I will post it here and I would appreciate if you could feedback or give some insights that could help me to improve it. Ah, and if you have ideas for the name of the book, please let me know also.

What I want the book to be:
-          - It’s a funny and easy to read book only about managing/leading a team
-          - If the readers put the tools/advices in the book in practice, it will help them to manage better their teams
-          - Examples to illustrate

What I don’t want the book to be:
-          - Full of theory or impractical
-          - Talk about other aspects of my leadership experience (Organization management/development, change management, strategy, recruitment, finance…)
-          - Personal leadership (I am unsure about this in fact, since there is a component that impacts quite a lot on the management of the team – so I think I will have to touch it a bit)

-          Introduction
o   This is not about theory, it’s based on nothing else than my experience and observations.
o   Read and do it. If you don’t want to try anything or don’t have enough discipline to do it, this book will be useless.
o   Adapt and feel what is right for your leadership style as well as your team needs. There are no 100% formulas for team management, because in the end it is about people

-          Building and starting a new team
o   Build the team or it will build itself
o   What is the foundation of building a team?
§  Team purpose (team mission / vision -> what is success for this team?)
§  Individual roles and responsibilities
§  How we work (How we deal with each other in the team, outside the team and with work/challenges, team values, ground rules, expectations)
§  How we make the team work (team operating processes)
§  When dealing with humans, don’t forget the social stuff
§  Role modeling
o   When a newcomer joins a team that already exists
o   After it is built, it needs more building (Every day is team building day, even if you don’t realize it)

-          Team purpose
o   What is it?
o   How to do it? (both fluffy and hard core)
o   How to use it?
§  Visible
§  Take decisions / get directions
§  Assess current situation
§  Celebrate or change and tweak it

-          Individual roles and responsibilities
o   Breaking down the purpose into the individual (both responsibility and goals)
o   Adapt the job to the people, not the other way around
o   Don’t allow “support” roles to sprawl
o   Don’t allow silos, but don’t allow “everyone is responsible” also
o   Change roles as purpose evolves

-          How we work
o   Team values (building and using)
o   Expectations and Ground rules (building and using)

-          Team operational processes
o   Prioritizing what to do and what not to do (planning and stuff)
o   Decision making (who and when)
o   Team learning
o   Team Meetings
§  What to use it for? When not to use it?
§  How often
§  Calling
§  Preparing
§  Conducting
§  After the meeting and follow up
§  Tools for idea generation
§  Tools for decision making
o   Individual meetings
§  What to use it for? When not to use it?
·         Team member oriented
·         Professional oriented
·         Maximizing strengths and minimizing weaknesses
·         They really want your honest assessment
·         Don’t give all the answers, but don’t play riddles in the dark
§  How often
§  (ask, don’t assume)
§  Tools

-         Team members’ relationships
o   GTKEO (constantly)
o   Building trust in the team
o   Feedback
o   Social agenda

 -         The team is a reflex of the leader
o   As a leader, everything is your fault (seriously) -> consistency role model
o   Feel it and speak up (ask, don’t assume), even if you are unsure, test and listen
o   Doggie style: reinforce good behavior, call out bad behavior
o   Give honest feedback and ask for it (and then listen carefully!)
o   “I was wrong” and “I don’t know” are source of power, not weakness
o   Incentivizing mistakes, but not sloppiness
o   Solution oriented approach

 -         The easy team management checklist


  1. I'm gonna buy your book and you'd better sign it :)

  2. First things first: writing. Then we talk about signatures, hehe


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