How to embrace your team's strengths to meet deadlines

White and green text on a blue background reads, "Evaluate strengths. Be nimble. Get the right tools."

No one likes missing deadlines, and your clients certainly don’t want to lose valuable time when you do miss one. Below are some insights into how to identify and use the strengths of your team to make sure everyone is on time, all the time.

Evaluate Strengths

Invest in learning about your team member’s best qualities, and how they relate to the work your organization does. This may seem obvious, but days are busy. Be intentional about taking the time to explore this in a meaningful way, and identify how different team members fit into how work gets done. You may find this falls outside of their specific job descriptions (that’s the best part about those “duties as assigned” lines). This shouldn’t be used to make up for a poor performer, but can be used as a way to empower a team member to shine.
A great resource that can help facilitate this process is the Clifton StrengthsFinder – this self-assessment is a great first step in creating a matrix of strengths to drive not only deadlines but other areas of your business as well.

Be Nimble

Once you understand your team’s strengths, create a process that leverages them. Map out and clarify roles, reporting, and communication expectations. Then – and this is important – acknowledge that this is just the beginning. So often we get so caught up in creating a process and implementing it, that we don’t take the time to evaluate if it is really working.
Don’t get so tied to process that you can’t be nimble. The unexpected always happens – continue to evaluate and evolve to ensure that it is working.

The Right Tools Meet Deadlines

At our firm, we use a specific project management tool software system (that we essentially live and die by) to track and meet deadlines. There are quite a few on the market, designed for companies of all sizes. The program we use also lets us communicate directly with clients, making it seamless.
Using calendar reminders that break long projects into their smaller pieces also helps to stay on track.
Remember, a tool is only as good as you make it – make sure to include clear and consistent training on any new software or other tools with team members. Perhaps your team member who has the strongest understanding of the tool can head up training, too.

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