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5 Hacks for Growing Your Team's Capacity

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In times of constant change, we, as leaders, are often challenged with doing more with less. It can often be a reality – less resources, less people, and more ambitious goals. You can look at this from a negative lens. Or you can see the opportunity.

Below are five ways to generate learning opportunities, and in turn, build your team’s capacity.

1. Conduct quarterly growth conversations. It is interesting how so many companies focus on growth and development within the first sixty days of a person’s role, and then it quickly turns to quotas and KPIs. Where did the development go? Be intentional about growth and have conversations on a regular basis about it.

2. Create stretch assignments. Look at projects in new ways. While you may worry about someone getting “off task”, it is often the opposite when someone is doing something different that interests them. It often reinvigorates. It is common in our space to believe in an ideal mix of training experiences for people. The mix should be 10% formal training, 20% coaching, and 70% on-the-job training. Stretch assignments are the “on-the-job” part. Make sure you are taking advantage of these opportunities.

3. Lead team conversations. When there is a difficult decision to make or opportunity to vet for the team, do not always feel that you, as the leader, need to run the meeting. It is a wonderful opportunity for a high potential on your team to get the experience and perspective by conducting a meeting. Teach them how to run it. And if you don’t have a replicable model, we have a team model that creates common language.

4. Have shadow hours. How many people on your team do not know what the others do? When this has come up on our team, we encourage people to shadow other team members. Allow an hour of someone’s time to be devoted to shadow and help someone else. This is often eye-opening for some team members, when they realize what the other members really do. For people really interested, they can start to learn new skills and create necessary crossover when the team is in a bind.

5. Use more coaching, less advice giving. One of the issues with giving advice is that you are not helping to foster problem solving skills. You are creating a dependent relationship, and one that often results in more questions for you. Instead, when someone comes to you with a question, help facilitate their own insights. When you have a successful coaching conversation, it helps your team member generate ideas to both intellectually and emotionally connect to a resolution.

Which hack will you try? And please share: How do you grow your team’s abilities?  


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