“One of the most important things to understand about any team is that it needs to become greater than the sum of its parts,” said Abdallah Salloum, former Senior Executive and General Manager at GE Healthcare. “Yes, people need to perform as individuals. But they also need the tools and the resources to become something greater as a collective than any one of them could be on their own.”
According to Mr. Salloum, when teams aren’t able to meet that standard, many erroneously assume that it has something to do with the individual employees themselves. In his experience, however, it’s more often a symptom of poor team assessment/evaluation, a lack of ongoing development, or both at the same time.
Thankfully, there is a multitude of ways to correct these issues and develop the types of high-functioning teams you need to thrive. You just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way.
Leadership Owns Mission Clarity and a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Once your team has been developed to the point where it is operating as a single unit, it is incumbent on leaders to make the mission and objective crystal clear and emphasize the relentless need to continually improve.
Essentially, “getting the band together” is only one small part of a larger story. Nothing is greater than a purposeful mission. On a daily basis, each team member needs to be learning and leveraging those around them. They need to be empowering others to work better, smarter, and more effectively. They need to be their own greatest champions and advocates but yet play their position and be really great at it.
If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, thankfully the reverse is also true. The stronger those links become, the stronger the chain is – or in this case, the team. But that mentality needs to start all the way at the top, which is why leaders must show that they value continuous improvement and development every bit as much as they want team members to.
Employ Tools and Processes that Empower Collaboration
By far, one of the biggest ways to empower the team development process involves making sure that people have access to the right resources they need to come together in the first place.
“This was something that we saw play out in real-time during the onset of the pandemic,” said Abdallah Salloum. “Overnight, teams were splintered apart when people were working remotely indefinitely. But they still managed to use tools like Zoom, Slack, Teams and Discord to stay in constant communication and collaborate with one another. Just because things are returning to normal doesn’t mean those tools should be going away.”
Indeed, the successful development of any team involves encouraging them to work together as a collective. They need to be close collaborators with their peers, allowing them to see how their hard work fits into the bigger picture. Tools like those outlined above go a long way toward accomplishing precisely that.
Learning to Effectively Manage Team Performance
With regard to properly evaluating teams, leaders need to understand what they’re really looking for. Whether you shipped X amount of products in a quarter or you hit Y dollars in revenue doesn’t tell the complete story.
We all want “A” players on our team but unfortunately that is not achievable nor is it pragmatic – so simple, true and effective team evaluation is a must.
To effectively evaluate the performance of any team, you must first begin by setting realistic goals. They need to be specific, measurable, and, most importantly, achievable. They need to be relevant to what the core business is trying to accomplish, and they need to be time-based – meaning that there is some type of deadline at play.
Any goals that don’t meet all of those criteria aren’t really as suitable for the purposes of evaluation as one might think that they are.
Equally important is a leader’s ability to offer and schedule adequate training for each member of the team. Once you begin to collect performance data and other KPI information, you’ll begin to see where certain weak spots are. This may identify gaps in the team that can be filled by employees operating elsewhere within the company. More often than not, it will help clue you into certain skills that individuals may lack that can be achieved with the right ongoing education.
Either way, it’s an opportunity that you can’t afford to pass up. Not only does it again help properly evaluate how your teams are doing (and what they could be doing better), but it also presents a clear, actionable solution at the same time. This can easily segue directly into one’s larger goals in terms of ongoing team development as well.
About Abdallah Salloum
Abdallah Salloum became a valued part of the GE Healthcare team in 2017. Since then, he has proudly led the company’s flagship MRI supply chain division to a significant $2.5 billion in revenue. Mr. Salloum was also at the forefront of a number of critical changes to the Supplier Management organization, which itself involves 17 different business segments. He was able to drive $19 billion in annual revenue, all while managing 2,800 suppliers. Mr. Salloum has an MBA in Strategic Management from the esteemed Davenport University and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from William Tyndale College.
To learn more about Abdallah Salloum, please visit his Linkedin profile.