This is the third episode in a mini-series of 7 discussing how to successfully take over a new team. Today’s episode focuses on the next step in the process, gaining insight into what matters to your team.
Gaining insight into what matters to your team is important for several reasons. First, you want your team to feel heard and you need to create an opportunity to allow that to happen. Second, you need to get some quick wins, some action, and you need to have your team “all rowing in the same direction.” This is how you accomplish all of those important pieces.
So let’s diving into this. The first thing you are going to do is you are going to ask them a series of questions. You want each person on your team to answer the questions individually and submit them to you. Do not make this a discussion, because you are going to need to compile the details and reflect back. (Emails will serve you well here.) But I will dive into all of those details a bit later. Let’s focus on the questions right now. What are you going to ask:
1. What needs to change?**
2. What needs to stay the same?**
3. What can you help with or support them on?
4. What is one thing they are proud of their team for accomplishing and delivering on right now?
**The first question, and actually the second, are questions you won’t be able to ask if you are creating a brand new team. They need to be asked only to a team you are taking over, because they will have had enough time in their roles to actually answer those questions.
You need to decide how you are going to introduce these questions. I would recommend you introduce them either on a call, a video, or even by recording a voice note and emailing it to them. The point is that they are still learning you and emails are tough in that instance. Explain to them what you are doing and why it matters in a way that they can hear your voice, your tone, and your sincerity. Then send the questions in an email. In the email, give them a deadline to turn the answers around to you, remind them to work independently, and have them reach out to you if needed.
This episode is a shorter episode because the work really comes into place after you get their answers back. That’s what the next episode will walk you through, how you create your plan of action. So let’s not jump into that yet.
For today, I want you to create a draft document of how you would introduce these questions to your team: what you would say, how you would phrase it, the method of communication you would use to introduce the questions, and then I want you to create the draft email with these questions being presented. Decide how much time you will allow them to think and respond. Prepare your plan on how you will gain the insight into what matters to your team.