Team Building | By Nick Thomson | Read time minutes
It's common for tasks to get hectic as you near the end of a fiscal year. Nearing deadlines, hitting targets, multitasking, creating reports, performance evaluations, etc., can jam-pack the last quarter with pressing responsibilities.
The chaos this time of the year can overwhelm some team members, hindering the company's progress. So, strategising an action plan ahead of time, from start to finish, will not only streamline the process and ensure you hit your annual goals but also ensure it gets done without last-moment mishaps.
Without further ado, let's dive into Q4 planning to manage your company's deadlines better while also maintaining the momentum and progress of your team.
Prepping Your Team
1. Be Clear About Your Expectations
Informing your team about what you expect allows them to take action on their responsibilities to achieve the best results. Clearly define the task, its goals, and each team member's role. Avoid including tasks suddenly, especially since this can come off as a surprise and lead to them losing sight of what's essential.
2. Delegate Tasks Appropriately
Everyone is gifted with a set of skills, and in a company, it is crucial to identify the strengths and weaknesses among your employees. Use the diversity among employees to allocate tasks that align with their expertise so your team can complete them to the best of their ability. Remember that doing so will ensure your company has high-quality output and hasty work to complete a task.
3. Maintain Consistent Communication
Saying communication in the workplace is vital is an understatement; it's the holy grail of any successful endeavour. Schedule meet-ups with your team as often as required to make sure everyone is on track with their responsibilities and to receive an update about their progress. Encourage them to communicate among themselves because teamwork only leads to more productivity and a solution-based approach.
4. Encourage Feedback From Team Members
Considering your team is directly involved in the workings of your company, considering their feedback is an invaluable resource. Sharing their input about the process can give insight into ideas you may have overlooked. They can identify potential problems before they turn into actual problems, and knowing this will only help your company grow.
5. Positive Reinforcement Over Successes
Offering feedback to the team about the highs and lows is a secret ingredient to ensuring everything stays on track. However, studies have shown that emphasising positive feedback for a job well done motivates employees and instils confidence and accountability. So, if your team is doing well, don't hesitate to tell them! It'll only make them feel proud of their work, and they'd be more than happy to continue performing this way.
6. Offer Training And Development Opportunities
Some team members may possess every skill they need to get a task done, but sometimes, they may find it difficult when dealing with time management or task prioritisation, and that's where things can get tricky. Using Excel to organise your work is one of the best tools to stay ahead of tasks. There are numerous ways to teach your team the skills they lack, and one of them is utilising online portals like Acuity Training in London that offer courses in technical and soft skills.
7. Set An Example For The Team
Leading by example involves working with your team instead of just commanding tasks and responsibilities. When your team sees that you are putting in effort to see the results, it changes their perspective of work from being a burden to doing something that adds value. Modelling good leadership behaviour and offering support to complete specific tasks builds trust and mutual respect.
Dealing With Tasks And Deadlines
1. Categorise Tasks And Goals
Roughly jot down all the goals and the tasks that need completing to achieve them. Now, break it down further by categorising the tasks into three sections: critical, important, and additional. The tasks that directly affect your Q4 goals and are absolutely non-negotiable would fall under the critical category. Important tasks are necessary for the overall outcome of your last quarter. Lastly, tasks that are significant but do not directly impact your progress would be categorised as additional.
2. Set Realistic Goals and Deadlines
The next step is to ensure your team meets the deadlines, but for that to go smoothly, you have to set them realistically for each project. This involves segregating one project into manageable tasks. Then, you can move on to assigning responsibilities, defining the scope, and explaining quality standards. Inform your team members about these expectations to ensure they understand and agree with them. Doing so will only help avoid frustration, confusion, and scope creep.
3. Use Project Management Tools
No matter how big or small, you need to invest in some project management tools if you're working on multiple projects. You can stay ahead of deadlines by automating tasks or reminders and keeping track of their progress. You can also use these tools to centralise documents and information, allowing ease of collaboration among team members. It also helps you visualise every project stage and analyse data by generating internal reports. Some software also comes with a feature that sets alerts for potential risks, which can avoid wasting time on costly mistakes.
4. Practice Rotating Tasks and Responsibilities
Rotating responsibilities and tasks among team members allows them to explore their interests, experiment with new ideas, and acquire different knowledge. Doing so doesn't just create versatile team members by allowing them to get a 360-degree look at your company's functions, which means they can step in when you need backup to complete certain tasks. Task rotation also increases employee retention and satisfaction because it allows them to grow as professionals instead of feeling stuck in a monotonous job for the rest of their lives.
To wrap it up, planning, identifying, and setting your goals or expectations with your team are the first steps to a successful last quarter. Although implementing these strategies can be daunting, once they're in place, you will see how your company's growth benefits.
Recommended read: How to Build a High-Performance Project Team, by Duncan Haughey.