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#504: Listen to the Team

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, February 17, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011
In working with the key members of my client's project team, I have trouble gauging how well they really feel the project is progressing. When asked in meetings, everyone nods in agreement that everything is fine, but I'm not sure if that is the case. Do you have any helpful ideas to help determine their real thoughts?

Consider a two part process. First, write down a set of criteria you feel are appropriate for evaluating whether the project is "on track." These might include financial factors, timeliness, process efficiency, error or rework rates, satisfaction measures of process owners or customers, or measures of performance improvement.

Second, talk informally and individually with each member of the team. Ask how they think it is going and what, specifically, they think is working well or not. Ask them to rate the progress and their satisfaction against the common criteria you laid out (take note of any exception they take to your criteria and adjust as appropriate). Also, ask them what they would change to improve the process, specifically what, in their responsibilities, they would be willing to change. You may be surprised at how much you learn from the process and how much goodwill you can create with each team member by soliciting their advice.

Tip: By taking this action, you are setting up expectations for action. Make sure you respond quickly and publicly to your findings. At a minimum, acknowledge the strengths and opportunities for improvement raised in your discussions.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client staff  communication  consulting skills  engagement management  goodwill 

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Raymond W. Suarez CMC says...
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011
Great strategy. It also helps during the project kickoff and planning stages to develop milestones and criteria for success in advance, and to share them with the project sponsors and team for input and buy-in.
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