Tag Archives: procurement teams

Reward and recognition – the neglected tool for successful teams

holiday-cocktail

It is surprising just how many corporate executives fail to understand that it’s the simple things that make a difference.

Whenever I am working with the indirect expenditure in client organizations, I build cross-business, cross-functional teams. These teams are given clear objectives and goals and asked to build a team charter outlining their mission, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. In many cases, the teams are launched with some training and development and a mission to gather data. Within 4 weeks, the team returns to make a presentation to senior executives outlining the mission, goals savings opportunities, risks and strategies. For many of the team members, this is their first exposure corporate executives.

Once approved, the team is given 4 additional weeks to bring the project plan back and an implementation team will be assigned. I also suggest that individual performance reflect the team performance so everyone has a stake in the game. The teams I’ve worked with have delivered cost improvement, process improvement, risk reduction and in many cases, increased shareholder equity.

When complete, I suggest the executives reward the team. They are normally surprised and many have asked me what should the reward be. I always say anything that recognizes that the team worked on the project in addition to their regular job, fostered collaboration and brought extraordinary results to the business. The reward is never about money, but always about a recognition that there was a major contribution to the business.

One CEO arranged for the team members and their significant other be picked up by limo and treated to dinner at the best restaurant in town. A small token of appreciation was given along with participation of the executive team. It’s been several years, but the team still talks about how they were recognized.

The company had many volunteers to join teams and make a big contribution. It’s best to understand that rewards like this bring loyalty and incentivize team members and other employees to be part of success. It’s a small price to pay for the benefits that are gained by collaboration, communication and success.

How do you reward good team performance?

5 characteristics that drive high-performing teams

blue-angels-navy-precision-planes

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of teams. It’s always interesting to observe the teams and question why some teams succeed, while others flounder and eventually fail. Here are five characteristics the best performing teams have in common.

  1. Clear responsibility, authority and accountability must be assigned to the team. The team with responsibility and accountability is likely to fail if they lack the authority to act.
  2. Vision, mission and alignment to the business plan is a core criterion for success. If a team doesn’t have a charter with an agreed mission, the team will operate like a rudderless ship. It’s essential that the team works hard at the front of a project to understand the vision for the project, mission and joint goals. As part of the alignment of the business plan, the team must also understand how to measure its own performance and the success of the program.
  3. Management awareness and commitment to the team. One of the key elements for high-performing teams is the selection of team members. In today’s business environment when everybody is extremely busy, it’s essential for management to make a commitment of resources to the project. One other essential element is that the team success or failure reflects on the individual’s performance.
  4. Funding is always an issue when it comes to cross functional teams. I ‘ve seen teams struggle and fail when “who is paying for the project?” is unclear. Travel always seems to be a contentious issue when it comes to teams, especially if it’s global travel. One way to be successful is to create a budget upfront or agree with key line managers how much travel is involved and what time constraints will be placed on their department resources for this project. By addressing this issue at the start, team and project leaders can be assured that it won’t be an issue later in the project at a critical point.
  5. Reward and recognition is an essential part to assuring team success. Many team members are working on projects in addition to their regular workload. When a team is successful, it’s the responsibility of management to recognize their contribution to the business and develop some simple reward as a token of appreciation.

Many companies work to drive cross-business teams to meet business goals. Using these key elements as a project leader will improve the chances of having a high performing, successful team.

Will your team succeed?

What have you done for them lately?

I worked with a food industry client whose team was dedicated, hard working, and focused on their mission to reduce costs and deliver value. It was extremely competitive industry and the media reported that competitors were doing poorly based on price increases on commodities and raw materials. When this client reported a 57% increase in profit with a 9% increase in sales for the quarter, it became obvious to all that the procurement team was driving the results.

When I had a conversation with the CEO about providing a reward and recognition for this hard working team, he was astonished that I would ask what he planned to do for the team. Admitting he’d not thought of holding an event to reward and recognize the entire team, he was willing to try. He decided to host a dinner at the city’s finest restaurant. He invited all of the purchasing employees and their significant others and arranged a limo pickup for each. The CEO provided a nice gift for both the employees and their guests and thanked the guests for their sacrifice for the company to achieve this milestone. Needless to say, this recognition was the talk of the company for a long time. The team continued to excel and later the CEO acknowledged that this low cost activity provided many benefits long after the event occurred.

When economic and business conditions deteriorate, many companies cut employee reward activities when they are needed most. Low cost events can pull the team together and focus them on a shared vision and mission. While most companies acknowledge teambuilding as a key to organization development, they fail to see how a reward event can drive:

• Goal alignment
• Interpersonal relationships
• Role clarification
• Improved problem solving skills
• Sense of purpose

I think every leader should budget and plan for team events globally. These do not need to be elaborate nor expensive to be effective. The ability to have fun, get to know others in a non-work/political setting, and build understanding and trust go a long way to improving team performance and team dynamics. Don’t wait for a formal meeting or strategy session to do some teambuilding, although that is what many firms do. With finding and retaining talent a challenge, don’t forget the importance of a feeling of belonging to a team and company.

Looking for ideas for team activities? Here’s a good list I read recently “5 Team Building Activities That Don’t Suck”, January 2, 2015 — Posted By Kim Tracy Prince. And, here’s a list of fun events I’ve seen:

1. Whirly Ball
2. Bocce ball
3. Paint Ball
4. Picnic in the parking lot on a work day
5. Bowling
6. Attend a sports event

Casey Stengel said: “Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.”

What will you do for your team?