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Chapter 21. Unsticking Stuck Teams > Unsticking ABC’s Stuck Team

Unsticking ABC’s Stuck Team

After several weeks of progress with one distribution channel, ABC’s Distribution Team lost some focus and found their meetings going round and round no matter what they did. Here are some approaches to unstick them, arranged in order of how dramatic each solution would be.

Revisit Basics Situation: The team has lost sight of why it was formed, or the situation has changed requiring refocusing or even disbanding the team
Solution: In a retreat or series of long meetings, have the team reconsider its purpose, review how its strategies are working or adjust its long-range goals by reworking the team charter
Update Master Plan Situation: The master plan was never completed, the situation has changed or the team has strayed from its path
Solution: Have the team scan the situation, validate what works, rethink its approach, consider alternate strategies, update milestones and then rework its master plan
Think Smaller Situation: The team is floundering because of a challenge that’s too great for the time and resources allocated or its members’ skill levels and stage of development
Solution: Scale back the charter’s scope and size of its milestones, have the team seek smaller wins and increase the challenge as confidence grows
Inject New Information Situation: The team’s foundations are solid, but it seems to be aiming in the wrong direction, focusing on unimportant details or operating under delusions or false assumptions
Solution: Refocus the importance of the challenge, feeding them new information or having members get out and talk directly with their customers and suppliers about their circumstances
Training Situation: The team lacks technical or group dynamics knowledge, skill or experience, and the gap blocks progress
Solution: Survey the team’s strengths and weaknesses, design a retreat to achieve a quantum jump and follow up with just-in-time training
Team-Building Retreat Situation: The team hasn’t progressed through its storming stage fast enough to handle the pressure of its performance challenge or strong members; maybe some changes have caused a relapse
Solution: Interview team members to let them vent and identify issues, handle individual conflicts elsewhere, then convene a retreat to open lines of communication and solve common problems using the Troubleshooting Tool.
Adjust Team Membership Situation: The team lacks critical skills or experience and isn’t developing quickly enough; some members aren’t contributing
Solution: When individual attitude adjustment through coaching doesn’t work, change some members’ status to consultant and add replacements who have missing skills or attitudes
Adjust Leadership Situation: The existing team sponsor, team leader or team facilitator isn’t guiding and developing the team fast enough to meet its obligations
Solution: Negotiate a face-saving status change, promote and train an existing player to the new role or (in the worst case) bring in an outside consultant to recharge the team
Rewards Situation: The team is progressing, but they don’t feel that their contributions are valued enough or they’re losing heart by hearing too much criticism
Solution: Rebalance overall feedback to 80% positive versus 20% advice, increase individual recognition, introduce a small-wins-based team reward system and hold more celebrations



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