If we focus on how to get the best out of the team without focusing on the team, we look at process and results without looking at team dynamics. The difference between liking what you do logically, and loving what you do on a deeper emotional level is rooted in the team having good dynamics and feeling like they are part of a purposeful whole. Resetting VCAT is a way we build and re-build the team.
Wait a minute, what’s a VCAT? So glad you (I) asked…
VCAT is essentially a framework for making the team. You need a framework to establish basic functions for process, right? Well, your team naturally needs something of a framework to be able to operate efficiently – by using Visibility, Communications, Accountability, and Transparency. The required efforts to re-evaluate and reset (referred hereto as R&R – the opposite of Rest and Relaxation, a term normally associated) are a bit different now than continuous improvement efforts we normally include in the yearly goals. This is an opportunity to find out how the process works in crisis; as whilst there are crises in local environments requiring other areas to pick up the slack, rarely will we ever have the chance to test it where there isn’t really another oversee your team’s evaluation.
So, if it’s overdone, underdone, needed too much manual effort, didn’t have enough human visual, whatever… this is your chance to find out what could be done differently/better and have justification to make it right.
The following are definitions and some questions to ask.
- Visibility: Making certain the members can see/ hear/ know what is going on in relationship to their areas of responsibility. This is the day-to-day passing of the baton or (for leadership and support elements) knowing where the baton is. The different elements of the team need to know when to do what is needed, like seeing where a ball is in relation to their position on the field.
- R&R – Are there elements within the process that were understood or overlooked because proximity allowed for adjustment? Could things be streamlined now because unnecessary elements came to light? Are there pieces lost in the shuffle that you have to strain to regain visibility or traction in getting it moving?
- Communications: Dealing with the channels regularly used and the relative effectiveness in relaying necessary messages. Communications is often where teams breakdown, especially with sent items going into Outlook folders, Skype messages not processing, or the lack of non-verbal communication cues otherwise present mixing up signals.
- R&R – What communications channels is the team dependent on? What are the redundancies? How much delay is there in using it? Can you maintain operations working exclusively via mobile? Or without mobile? Without web access may be too wild to imagine but should be taken into account especially as cyber attacks on infrastructure grow, making plain our dependencies.
- Accountability: Often mistakenly seen as punitive, it simply means ownership. Who is responsible for what, when?
- R&R – Not only who owns what part, but who supports or provides cross coverage if they are not available? Do they know/feel like they own their parts? Is it a good thing? (If you want to go deeper, look into trust/vulnerability dynamics here.)
- Transparency: The broader brushstrokes of how the whole function fits together, what the overall purpose is and how it fits into larger purposes. Ideally, there should be clarity from person -> team -> group -> division -> enterprise. From the bottom to the top, people have to know how they fit and provide valuable contribution. Moreover, the overall purpose should make sense without having to twist logic.
- R&R – In this case simple questions need to be asked. Can the team trace their part and purpose back to larger groups? Is there shared understanding of what the group is contributing to the vision?
Organisations are the sum of parts. Whilst people are the blood of your organisation, consider your teams the connective tissues. When dealing with questions of risk or governance, team dynamics may not determine the answers, but will provide clarity in seeing them. It may require trust and vulnerability on leadership’s part, shifting culture for effective VCAT, as open honesty in an organisation is never easy. Understanding the faith, dedication and cultural climate generated in response makes a world of difference in what becomes possible.
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