Taking the Next Step

Published: March 24, 2015

Somthing is wrong. Diagnosing pain is the easy part. Figuring out what to do about it is harder. Following through with those actions is the hardest. For many businesses, the impending completion of a calendar quarter signals the call to check accountability. Did we do what we promised to do? Sure, the easy part (assessment and planning) was done. Now what? What exactly is my responsibility to this team?

Like most teams, you have probably experienced significant change over the past few months. The best laid plans fall victim to life’s unexpected circumstances. A top performer gets lured to a competitor. A previously reliable supplier goes out of business. The home office decides to restructure the organizational chart. Sure, naming the struggle is simple. Charting a course to cope with the changes is a common strategy exercise. Adapting effectively, however, requires relentless follow-through.

Accountability is more manageable when you view the evolution of a team as a cycle. From this perspective, following through on a task is not a burden to be endured. Rather, it is the fuel that propels the engine of your team’s growth. As members of the team, we each share responsibility in advancing the momentum of the group in whatever way our talent best dictates.

Teams grow continuously. Sometimes, the change is so fast we can barely keep pace. Other times, the transformation is so slow that it goes unnoticed. Either way, there’s always a next step to take.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.