People do make a difference. Or, more specifically, the right blend of the right people, coupled with the right leadership makes the difference. If you’re an executive or top manager staring at a new group you’ve been assigned to lead and concluding you’ve got a lineup that looks destined for last place, it’s time to take action. Of course, most of those actions involve the person staring back at you in the mirror.
Bad News Bears Teams
The mid-’70’s Bad News Bears movie (and it’s 2000’s remake) is an apt descriptor for how many newly appointed managers feel about or perceive their groups. They are brought in to turnaround a measurably under-performing group. They show up, look around and see a Bad News Bears group of under-performers. Their instinct is to overhaul the team immediately. This instinct is often wrong.
What they don’t know at this point is whether there’s ample latent talent waiting for an opportunity to perform, or, whether the group needs to be dismantled and reassembled with new players.This early-awkward period is characterized by fear and a pervasive sense of mistrust. Group members don’t trust the new leader, and either directly or inadvertently, the new leader telegraphs through words and actions they don’t trust the group.
This doom loop of mistrust and fear often manifests in radical, costly, and culture damaging overhauls that further erode morale and trust. However, there’s another way. There’s a process you can apply to accelerate time-to-trust and shift the environment from one of fear to focus and excitement.