Team talent audits are usually done during team formation, but they’re perhaps an even more effective tool to use when a team has gone stale or floundered in its mission. Effective teams need to capitalize on the strengths and weaknesses of members as those capabilities relate to achieving the goals of the team. Over time, goals change and this can require a frank re-assessment of team roles, strengths, and weaknesses.
A team talent audit should start with the development of current goals and objectives. The talent audit exercise that you can access through the links below can be completed by team members using the team goals as a filter for relevance. We are interested in assessing for individual strengths not just weaknesses. When strengths are combined and considered with team goals, then team weaknesses can be identified, potentially suggesting the need for new capabilities and even new members to plug the gap. The team audit will help the group share candid information on capabilities and work together to identify the best person on the team for each role.
Setting Team Goals and Objectives
Goals can’t be general or they become meaningless. Each member or team role should have specific, actionable goals. For example, while a team may have a general goal describing maintaining communication with other teams or departments, member objectives should incorporate each members responsibilities and specifically describe their communication liaison role and especially–what the outcomes of the role should be.
Creating Productive Conversations that Lead to New Business
Getting new clients is one of the critical challenges for any small business. There are innumerable networking opportunities and nearly all consultants rely on these kinds of formal and informal contacts in a less threatening atmosphere to lead to new business. One key is really taking advantage of the opportunities you get. You probably already have a style and general tactical plan for how you present your capabilities and weave them together with a problem or goal that a prospects business may have. Steve Gladis, author of The Coach Approach Leader, suggests a model you might find helpful to center your approach with prospects on a proactive problem probing and analysis model.
Steve says “one of the best uses of the coach-approach comes when you’re working with established clients or developing new business and new clients. So, the next time you’re at an event or a social gathering try this approach:”
- Most often, the person hosting an event knows the business interests of most people coming to the event—so you might ask him or her which people might be good connections for you. Knowing this can focus your time and attention.
- Set some limits. Let’s assume that you’d like to meet three critical people whom the host has pointed out to you. And let’s also assume that you have about an hour to stay at the event. Thus, you have about 20 minutes to spend with each new prospect.
- Walk up to someone you might want to meet and introduce yourself. Then allow the person to do the same. Ask about their company.
- Next, apply the coaching clock. You probably only have a few minutes and must use them wisely. Remember the 4-I’s—and start the discussion by asking, “So in your company, what’s one of the biggest issues you’re facing?”
- When the person tells you the issue, probe this issue by asking Who? What? How? and Open-Ended questions. When you think you know the important issue, paraphrase it to test whether or not you have it right. Don’t proceed further until you do.
- Next, employ the second “I” (of the 4-I’s) and ask about the impact of the present situation (on this issue). What’s the financial, social, emotional impact it’s having on the company and on the prospect? Try to establish its “pain” priority for the person and the company.
- Next, to the third “I”—the Ideal State. Ask what the ideal state would look like if it were possible. Probe this to get a very accurate and detailed description, and don’t let them undercut themselves by putting down their own ideal state by saying, “Yeah, but that’s not happening.” Stick close to the ideal state.
- Next, the fourth “I”—Intention. Here’s where there’s a slight variance. When you listen to the problem, consider if there’s someone in your company who could help them. Or, perhaps there’s another company that you could refer, knowing that it might be a good fit. Even if you have no idea how to help, just listening so intently focused on the problem will elicit the person’s good thoughts—and the possibility of recommending you to someone she/he knows.
- After you’ve heard someone articulate a major problem, you’ve provided a great service, one that won’t soon be forgotten. And, following such a coach-approach experience, your prospect will most likely WANT to hear about your company. Consider that people who ask you about what your company does puts you in a very strong position—all because you used the coach-approach and showed that you cared about your prospect and your prospect’s business. She/he reciprocates by listening to you.