We’ve all experienced it at one time in our lives or another, you “think” you’re working on a team for the collective good BUT someone is constantly demonstrating destructive, self-serving behaviors. These individuals’ behaviors put the team’s collaboration at risk all in the vein to make themselves look smarter or more-hard working than their counterparts. Ironically, often times that competitive, back-stabbing conduct is a direct result of the metrics put in place by the team’s leader. So, how do you encourage peaceful, productive collaboration?
Here are four suggestions on how to use metrics to foster healthy, constructive collaboration:
1. Mind your metrics. You want your team to act like a cohesive unit; measure for that. Keep away from metrics that focus on an individual’s performance. People will behave accordingly to how they are measured. That’s the beauty of metrics. Be smart when setting up performance measure and focus on those that will encourage the members to pull together – not apart. Some examples of such types of metrics are:
Cycle time – from Feature Request to Feature Deployment
Bug ratio by severity (factoring in a feature complexity scale)
Team interaction within the organization
Customer satisfaction level
Eagerness to learn / bring new ideas to the table
2. Have those who are being measured develop the project metrics.
Nothing ensures better buy-in. If your team is part and parcel in determining how their success will be measured they will be more willing to work productively towards those goals. Empowerment is key to a successful team environment.
3. Stay away from focusing on individual strengths or weaknesses.
The whole reason you’ve built a TEAM is because there is no ONE person equipped for the job at hand. If you expend energy highlighting any one person’s shortcomings it will feed the competitive fire in the others and the overall performance of the team will diminish greatly.
4. Reward good team-like behavior when you see it.
If you experience a great example of a collaborate effort don’t take it for granted.
And a final thought for good measure – consider social media. No, I am not suggesting your team start Face Booking. There are collaboration software tools available that can do wonders for improving communication and motivating members to set meaningful metrics. These tools provide an easy and fast way to share ideas, comment on other’s ideas and bring up issues or questions.
I am sure there are many other ways to encourage collaboration and minimize destructive competitive behaviors. Send me some. If I like it, my offer of buying your next Starbucks still stands.
Posted by: Brad Murphy, Founder & CEO of Gear Stream. You can reach Brad via LinkedIn.