Teams should have a team strategy document. Here’s an example.

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In my prior post, I discussed the need for team managers to produce deliverables that contribute to adding up to managing.  Individual contributors are used to delivering specific items, but when they become mangers, a new manager can believe that there is no longer a need to produce deliverables.  However, this is not true!  A manager for any team should have at least one deliverable:  That is a team strategy document.

It doesn’t matter what team you lead, if the team does not have a team strategy document, then it is the manager’s responsibility to create one.  At the minimum, having a team strategy document is better than not having a team strategy document.   Once a team manager has created a team strategy document, the manager has “delivered” something that is designed to increase the performance of the team.  It is a step in the right direction, and a leading indicator of success.  Not having a strategy document is a leading indicator of failure.

What is on a team strategy document?  It can vary because there are so many teams out there, and so many ways to define strategy.  But there should be some sort of the following elements on it:

The team name

Who is on the team

What the team is trying to accomplish/what it produces

Guiding principles and expectations

Metrics that rate the productivity and quality of the team

Business metrics that the team could affect

The plan for how to meet the metrics that rate the productivity of the team

This is very elementary, but when you add this up, it equals something that can be described as a strategy.  There are many other things that can be included in a strategy document. 

Here’s a simple example of a team strategy document for a team of internal consultants:

Team Name:  Consulting Team

Team Members: Jim, Prudence, Arnie, Alexa, Marty and Trevor

What the team is trying to do: Consult with other organizations within the company using the company consulting framework to institute best practices.  The team engages with other organizations to assess their practices and provide recommendations for improvement.  Then partners with the organization to create implementation plans, and assess success and next steps.

Guiding principles and expectations:  Perform with a high degree of professionalism, use the company consulting framework, be metrics driven, strive toward high customer satisfaction, and make a positive return on investment for the company.

Metrics that rate the productivity of the team:  Number of engagements (at least 6 per year) across at least three functional areas of the company.  Customer satisfaction higher than the prior year.  Tangible qualitative and quantitative measures established to indentify the effectiveness of the engagement over time. 

Business metrics that the team could have an impact on:  Improved measures of productivity of teams engaged with, translating to higher sales, lower costs, and greater shareholder value.

The plan for how to meet the metrics that rate the productivity of the team:  First makes sure everyone on the team is aware of and can follow the consulting framework; Fill in any skill and knowledge gaps on the team; Develop collateral showing prior successes; Utilize an engagement manager who is skilled at identifying potential teams to engage with; Follow the framework and have an engagement contract; Team members suggest improvements for improvement. 

OK, so that’s a start.  Feel free to add more elements to your team strategy document! 

Also, it won’t be perfect on the first draft, or even very thorough, but after the first draft, it will only improve.  After a few iterations, it may even be pretty slick and provide excellent guidance.

Does your team manager produce anything like this?  Is this something that is consistently produced across your organization?  What is on the document?

For you management designers out there, do you design it so that team managers are expected to create and maintain a team strategy document?  Is this something that you can have your managers deliver?

Related articles:

Think of managing a team as a set of deliverables

Strive toward strategic placement of employees based on organizational need

The art of providing expectations: If there are established performance criteria, then make them known!

The art of providing expectations: Get input and the earlier the better

The art of providing expectations: Tie the expectations to the larger strategy

Examples of providing expectations to your team

Examples of using expectations to improve your performance feedback

The Value of Providing Expectations: Positive reinforcement proliferates

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About Walter Oelwein
Walter Oelwein, CMC, CPT, helps managers become better at managing. To do this, he founded Business Performance Consulting, LLC .


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