How To Optimize Team Performance After Summer

Recovering from summer Fridays can be hard, and you might notice your team is lagging. If your team is lagging, you’re suffering, and in most cases, so is your company’s bottom line.

Of course, sleeping on your desk or procrastinating on Facebook is unacceptable any time of year, but it’s expected that it will take a little bit of time to transition back into the full swing of things after the lazy days of summer.

Today I’m going to shorten that learning curve by sharing the three best ways we have seen leaders get their team back on track and optimize performance after the summer months without becoming the “mean manager.”

Let’s dive in…

  • Get clear on intentions.Everything starts with an intention. Whether you want to meet a new partner, get in shape, or land a new job, you set out with an intention.Intentions set the tone for any experience and it’s important that every person on your team sets a clear intention for fall.Whether it’s higher sales, increased productivity, or a stronger sense of camaraderie with another teammate, each person should have a strong intention as they go into fall.Set up a 15 minute meeting with your team and ask them to come prepared with their intention so you can all share them briefly and get on the same page. Make sure you set an intention too.This sets the stage for the next step as well…

  • Set SMART goals.Even if it’s not traditionally a time for performance reviews or goal setting, it’s a great idea to set goals in early October, after the last bits of summer have faded.If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, the acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.This is the gold standard for goal setting.Intentions can be broader, while SMART goals should be very specific.An example of a weak goal would be, “Improve revenue in October.”A SMART goal would be, “Improve digital product revenue by 10% by November 1st through selling five more units per week.”This goal is specific because it’s focused on digital products. It’s measurable because you’ll know you’re on track by ensuring you sell five additional units each week.It’s attainable and realistic because it’s a small increase – not massive.It’s time bound because the goal-setter wants to achieve this goal by November 1st.Have each team member set at least three SMART goals for fall and pair people up to review each other’s goals and provide feedback. You can be a final set of eyes after the peer review process.

  • Cushion the blow.Coming back from the summer months can be a little jarring. Many people choose to take the majority of their time off from June through August, and most companies have summer Fridays to boot.Returning to a fast-paced environment naturally takes adjusting, and you can cushion the blow without spending a lot of money or coddling your team.Two simple things you can do are provide extra snacks around the office, or special treats like a surprise bowl of fresh fruit in the common area or cupcakes on a Friday.This small act will make your team feel appreciated and understood, and will give them a little boost as they ease back into the fast pace of fall.I would also recommend scheduling a team outing in October or November to boost morale and give team members a chance to reconnect after the often-scattered summer months.With all the travel happening, team members usually don’t see each other as much during the hot months and may feel disconnected upon returning in the fall.Schedule a cocktail hour, fun breakfast, or dinner out – whatever’s feasible and simple for you. Your team will appreciate this chance to connect and get excited and inspired to bring full focus to every moment they’re at their desk.

  • If you’re feeling a little frustrated with your team and it’s draining your precious energy too, these three steps will turn everything around.Implement intention setting, SMART goals, and small extra perks immediately to get your team up to speed after summer.

    When will you implement these three steps? What’s your game plan?

    Comment below – we can’t wait to hear your strategy and support you.

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