Leading effective teams

Tip # 7: Follow a Plan

Any group of people has difficulty moving forward and accomplishing goals if
there is not a specified plan of action. Having a well-developed plan allows the
team to make sure they accomplish goals and provides them with the opportunity
to anticipate difficulties.
A simple planning tool, Wall Mapping, was identified for you earlier. Whether your
plan is simple, or very elaborate and detailed, it is critical that you have one. As
you execute this plan, be sure to.
Focus on milestones and deliverables.
Maintain a process for making and tracking changes
Wall Mapping
Wall Mapping is a simple team approach to planning. This activity is extremely
important, as it identifies the critical elements of the plan you should follow. It
also confirms whether or not you have the right people on the team and shows
where roadblocks and risks may arise.
To identify the tasks required to achieve the desired results, follow these steps.
1. Put a large piece of butcher paper on the wall.
2. Write each major goal on an index card. Tape the cards on the paper
at the far left, equally spaced, one under the other.
3. Write the desired result on an index card at the far right, and place it
halfway down the paper.
4. Draw a line from each index card to the result card. Mark off the time
frames with vertical lines.
5. On colored sticky notes, brainstorm all the tasks that must be done to
accomplish each goal and group them along the goal line in the
approximate order they should be done. Some may need to be done
simultaneously, so they would go together.
6. Look at the total picture of tasks. Sequence them so you and the team
can recognize and account for all the interdependencies.
7. Transfer the tasks to a Gantt chart to determine time frames and
Focus on Milestones and Deliverables
The team leader is responsible for the team’s results. Unfortunately, a common
characteristic of a team is that it often spends a lot of time and energy without
seeing tangible results.
Build your plan around the dates and
commitments that you make with your customer.
Plan your activities to make sure that you give
your customers the services they are expecting.
Customers—internal or external—do not really
care how you deliver. They just want you to
come through. Keep your eye on delivery
milestones and plan to meet them. This is
extremely important in order to avoid the “busyness”
trap—the illusion that because you’re all so
busy, things must be getting done!
Maintain a Process for Making and Tracking Changes
As the team works together, you will
find that plans, tasks, and processes
need to be adjusted. A team needs to
maintain process integrity in both
teaming and work processes.
Define a way that changes can be documented and followed. Doing this allows
you to avoid reinventing the wheel, and also keeps everyone informed of current
The change control process needs to be simple. Otherwise, it will not be faithfully
used. Human beings, like water, tend to take the path of least resistance. The
discipline required to make and track changes should be simple and
straightforward in order to be consistently used and managed.
Session 2: PROVIDE Structure
A house without a framework will never get built, and a team without
structure will collapse under the weight of multiple priorities, changing
tasks, and challenging interpersonal relationships. A team leader should
make sure the team has adequate structure. Remember to:
Tip #5: Document roles and responsibilities.
Tip #6: Develop operating guidelines.
Tip #7: Follow a plan