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  • Eric P. Bloom: Department vision, goals and values

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  • Continuing on the LEAPFROG Teambuilding Process, this week’s column is “A - Assemble Goals, Objectives and Values.” Here is a quick recap:
    L - Layout the organizational structure and staff roles and responsibilities.
    E - Establish relationships and trust among teammates.
    As an introduction to this week’s topic, never underestimate the impact that goal setting can have on those you lead. It creates:
    - Common purpose.
    - Feelings of reliance on each other to reach the planned objective.
    - Personally instilled peer pressure to not let the team down.
    - Raising the level of energy.
    - Increased commitment.
    This effect of goal setting works in sports and in the workplace. Regarding values, while goals and objectives define what you want to achieve, values describe the way you want to achieve them. Team values, which are the written embodiment of the business ethics discussed in the last step, define the group’s moral character.
    The steps that follow will provide insights as to how you, the team’s leader/manager can define your team’s goals, objectives and values and then infuse them within your team.
    1. Describe team/project vision and goals
    The process used to define a team’s goals and objectives could be a full day class by itself and in the business world can require weeks of intense introspective, understanding of purpose, future vision, and a realistic grounding in the current day’s environment. The goal here is simply to give you a general understanding of the concept and the process.
    If your team has been created to perform for a long-lasting purpose, such as the formation of the client service group, then your defined goal should be vision-based, rather than project-based and provide long-term direction. This template can be used to help define your group’s vision: “The (group name) group exists to (description of services) by (activities to be performed) so that (purpose of services).”
    If your team is transitory in nature and has been created for the purpose of completing a specific task, such as implementing a new accounting system, and will be disbanded when the project is finished, then your team’s goal statement should be constructed using a SMART goal. Smart is an acronym for specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. SMART goals are a standard industry technique, and further information on them can be easily obtained via a Web search. To help start you on this journey, consider the following sentence template. “The goal of our team is to (specific and measurable goal goes here ) by (date you want to do it) with the goal of (goal goes here). “ An example of a completed statement is, “Reduce network downtime during standard business hours by 35 percent by June 30.” Note that for this goal to truly be SMART, it must also be realistically attainable and relevant to the group’s overall business purpose.
    Page 2 of 2 - 2. Outline team values based on trust, ethics, and teamwork
    A declaration informs your staff and clients of your organization’s core beliefs. A value statement can be used to describe how your staff should treat each other, treat your clients, the expected level of professionalism, and other related topics. To that end, this template can be used to help define your group’s values. “The guiding principles of the (group name) are to (list of your values) with the goal of (your reason for the list of values).”
    3. Make the vision, goals and values visibly noticeable
    The creation of your team’s goals, vision and values have intrinsic value to you as the team’s leader/manager because it can help your actions and decisions toward achieving your desired result. To maximize their effectiveness, you must communicate them to your team in a way that allows your group to internalize them as both their personal goal and the goal for the team. This communication could be posters on the walls, included in their email signatures, as plaques on their desks, or other similar means. The trick is for them to see or hear them often enough until they become part of the culture and fabric of your team.
    4. Lead by example
    As the author of the vision, goals and values statements, you must also embody them in your actions and leadership style. If you don’t, they will simply be words on the page and noise to be ignored. Also, if you are saying one thing and doing another, it will undermine the respect that your team has toward you as their leader.
    5. Praise or punish those following or violating stated values
    Lastly, walking the walk and talking the talk is great. This consistency is very important. Your goal, however, is to also get your team to follow your defined guidelines. The technique of praising the few to motivate the many is a great technique to use to help instill team goals and values into others. Publicly praise those who are following your direction and, as needed, privately discuss your displeasure with those not following your stated direction.
    The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:
    - Goal-setting creates common purpose, a feeling of reliance within your team members, a personal feeling of peer pressure, a higher energy level and increased commitment.
    - Team values define the group’s moral character.
    - As the author of the vision, goals and values statements, you must lead by example.
    Until next time, work hard, work smart, manage well and continue to build your professional brand.
    Eric P. Bloom is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC, a management training company specializing in information technology leadership and is the governing organization of the ITMLP and ITMLE certifications. He is also a keynote speaker, nationally syndicated columnist and author of the books “The CIO’s Guide to Staff Needs, Growth, and Productivity,” “Your IT Career: Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Build Your Professional Brand” and “52 Great Management Tips.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com, follow him on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.
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