Most leaders don't have the luxury of building their teams from scratch. Instead they're put in charge of an existing group, and they need guidance on the best way to take over and improve performance. Watkins, an expert on transitions, suggests a three-step approach: Assess. Act quickly to size up the personnel you've inherited, systematically gathering data from one-on-one chats, team meetings, and other sources. Reflect, too, on the business challenges you face, the kinds of people you want in various roles, and the degree to which they need to collaborate. Reshape. Adjust the makeup of the team by moving people to new positions, shifting their responsibilities, or replacing them. Make sure that everyone is aligned on goals and how to achieve them--you may need to change the team's stated direction. Consider also making changes in the way the team operates (reducing the frequency of meetings, for example, or creating new subteams). Then establish ground rules and processes to sustain desired behaviors, and revisit those periodically. Accelerate team development. Set your people up for some early wins. Initial successes will boost everyone's confidence and reinforce the value of your new operating model, thus paving the way for ongoing growth.
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