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Eight Actions Anyone Can Take to Influence a Team’s Success

By Lisa Woods (1156 words)
Posted in Leadership & Teambuilding on May 22, 2012

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We've all had the unfortunate experience of spending our day tied up in unproductive meetings.  So what are you doing to ensure you don’t waste your time or the time of others?  It does not matter whether you are a VP, Team Leader, have an MBA, or none of the above, because the power of influence transcends titles and educational backgrounds.  It is a reflection of ones ability to communicate, be understood and inspire actions in others.  So let’s focus on improving your ability to influence success.  Here are eight actions you can implement in your current team environment to gain influence no matter what your job is today.


1: Identify the attributes/expertise of team members.

What do you bring to the table and what attributes do other team members bring?  Figure out a way to identify these things and share them with the group.  Anyone can begin this exercise by starting with him or herself, then sitting down with others on the team to put an expertise matrix together.  Once you get it started, the others have something that they can add to or adjust.  You will provide the entire group with a resource document to help in assigning tasks, as well as a go-to guide for internal team resources.  It also brings value if you include external resources in the document.


2: Create multiple project leadership and support roles within the team.

As a member of the team you can volunteer to lead a breakout group, or if you are in charge, assign leadership of breakout groups to each member of the team, as well as assign support groups.  A support group is a portion of the team dedicated to the breakout leader.  Everyone leads something and follows something.  This cross-collaboration will ensure everyone is supportive of one another’s success because they want the support for their own project.


3: Conduct all actionable work outside of team meetings.

The main reason we feel our time is wasted in meetings is because it is.  Meetings should not be the beginning of work, or the continuation of what was discussed the last time you had a meeting.  The real actionable work should be conducted outside and prior to the meeting.


4: Involve non-team members and give appropriate credit to them.

Pull others into your work if you think they can add value and help move things along.  By doing so you are building your credibility as a leader.  Take every opportunity to give these individuals credit whether they are in the room or not.  People find out through the grapevine if you are giving credit to them; it pays dividends.


5: Create a formal meeting structure/routine.

You start this with your own actions in each meeting.  By creating a routine that is informative, productive and repetitive, others will follow your lead.  The lack of this initiative leads to mundane, useless meetings…be the one to correct that.


6: Ensure meeting time is used for updating others on completed work, committing to next steps, and finalizing collective decisions.

You can control this action no matter who you are.  If you come prepared to the meeting, you can make it productive, show you have done your part to move things along and walk out with actionable items that others will jump on because they see productivity.  The group will respect the fact that you are getting things done, and you will set the stage for what is expected from the rest of the team.


7: Create a success metric for the team.

Your team may have a mission, a purpose, or a project definition…but does it have a success metric?  You should be able to establish key metrics that can be monitored by the team to judge if goals are being met.  A sales team can review new accounts by person & by group, Operations can review reduction of quality complaints, or lead-times, a project team can review milestone dates.  What is the purpose of your team, and how can you visualize success?  Once again, you don’t need to lead the team to propose and create a success metric.


8: Rotate meeting facilitation throughout the group.

Active participation in team meetings improves when each member of the team has an appreciation for leading the meeting, as well as participating in it.   If you are the team leader, you can implement this right away.  If you are a member of the team, you can ask to lead a meeting and encourage this process for others.


Part of being on a team is participation.  If you just show up to meetings because they are on your calendar, then you can’ t complain that your time is being wasted because you are part of the problem.  Step up, implement these eight actions in your team and begin the process of influencing change.  At the end of the day you will see that people will follow your lead, meetings will be more productive, you will show more success and will probably spend less time in meetings.  The reason we have meetings so often is because they are unproductive.  If everyone grows confidence that goals are being met outside of the meeting, the inevitable result is to meet less often.


I hope this perspective is helpful to you in your day-to-day life.  Test out these concepts and share your results with us.  Others can benefit from your experiences.  Good luck!




Written by Lisa WoodsPresident ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.


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Comments (7)

Jon posted on: May 28, 2012

These are good pointers. But I found that if team meetings take up more that 10% of your work week, you're running a classroom or social club, not a business. At some point, people have to actually do work.

Tony Pashigian - LinkedIn posted on: June 29, 2012

The breakout group, working on all actionable items outside of the meeting, updating others on completed work (or status), and rotating facilitation around are fantastic reminders to anybody that is conducting team meetings. Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

John Bazyk posted on: June 29, 2012

I'm a BD manager, this was a huge concern for me. In past jobs while not in management I found long meetings useless and costly. A 1 hour meeting is not one hour. It's an hour for every employee there. 5 employees equals 5 hrs. Plus the time spent getting back on task.

I personally feel that most information given in a meeting can be shared in a short short email or a 15 minute meeting first thing in the morning.

You of course need to follow up with everyone on what was discussed in the email to ensure everyone is on the same page. But this can be done in passing.

Lena Benjamin posted on: September 5, 2012

Excellent Lisa - many thanks for this there are some actionable points involving participation of each team member in meetings - definitely great for motivating the team and ensuring a sense of purpose as opposed to having meetings for meeting sake!

Padma m posted on: September 12, 2012

Very Interesting, Thanks for sharing :)

Caroline Clarke posted on: September 28, 2012

Framework provide pre-read allowing time on information to be digested before coming together - brain storm SWOT on target integration strategies; who what when where why and how short medium and longer term objectives - look to calibrating realistic goals - participants embrace and respect all contributions - ensure participants understand timelines on input and output - an index on terms of reference - being on the same page - ensure all stakeholders are included – fine tuning recap and outline program objectives for next meeting.

CEO posted on: March 29, 2013

Too many meetings these days. Everyone seems to need a meeting to think.
Common Sense and a 15 minute meeting on Monday and Friday. Thats it!

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