How better briefing can help teams avoid costly errors

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How was January? Was it good to get back into it after the Christmas break, or are you glad to see the back of it?

I hope you got some benefit or food for thought from my January blog

I’ve been working with a few awesome agency leaders and their equally awesome teams in the last few weeks and one common theme has been a recurring inconsistency in the performance of some team members.

For some leaders, the default position is to instantly blame the team member for making mistakes or simply not delivering.

That can’t be right. We lead, we manage and that means it’s down to us to carry the ultimate responsibility for performance and outcomes - good and bad.

We’re the people who create the culture, the processes and the environment within our businesses. That means we have to take total ownership of any gaps or flaws that enable poor performance to occur.

We can’t eradicate human error but we can certainly minimise it with proper, well-devised processes and approaches that give our people the clarity they need and deserve to deliver what’s expected of them.

Most of the time it’s about how we actually brief people to deliver what we want of them.

If we feel we own a task and if we know with total clarity that we will be held accountable for its successful delivery, then we’re that much more likely to want to succeed.

Of course we all know this. It’s obvious, isn’t it? But how many of us actually brief people in a way that’s fair, clear and minimises the potential for failure and dissatisfaction?

Next time you’re briefing a task or project – whether to a team or an individual – try the following approach as a way of achieving clarity and accountability.

• Here’s the task

• Do you understand what needs doing, when it needs doing by, and how it needs to be done?

• Do you have the skills, resources and support network to do this job?

• Do you understand the context, why it matters, and how it’s going to make a difference to the client, the business, colleagues and the team’s mission?

• Are you willing to accept this task?

• Do you understand the consequences of not doing what you agreed to do?

This approach, adapted to your own style and circumstances, ensures that the team member can’t help but accept total ownership and accountability for what they have been asked to do.They will be fully engaged in the task, want to do well and avoid the embarrassment of facing the consequences of failure.

A great way of enhancing clarity, improving consistency and team engagement, and reducing errors.

Try it!

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