Best Practices of our Client Teams
At Critical Path Strategies, one of our most rewarding experiences involves coaching client account teams. As coaches, we provide support for account teams as they use Critical Path Strategies processes and tools to develop and implement strategies to produce extraordinary results with their key clients.
It has been our experience that the account teams that deliver the most value to their customers and their companies share five common best practice behaviors.
The team is focused on the client—they understand the client’s business and approach the client proactively. High-performance teams are dedicated to delivering value to their clients. They know their client and the challenges that are impacting the client’s business. They personalize and align their offerings and deliverables in ways that their clients value and that differentiate them from their competitors. These teams are proactively engaged to offer insights and provide creative and innovative solutions.
The team has a clearly defined Extraordinary Goal that resonates with each team member. Members of high-performance teams share common goals. They have jointly defined and documented their goals for the client account. It is common for these goals to evolve over time, but in every case, their Extraordinary Goal reflects the client focus of the account team and results in extraordinary performance. These account teams transcend “business as usual” in the achievement of their Extraordinary Goal.
The team has a strategy and plan to attain its Extraordinary Goal High-performance teams have a plan with easily monitored steps or milestones that will help them achieve their Extraordinary Goal. This plan is developed collaboratively and evolves over time as the selling environment and client needs change. There are assignments for individual team members and dates by which those actions are to be completed. The plan is updated to reflect the accomplishment of planned milestones and the addition of new milestones. Together, the strategy and plan are the roadmap to achieve the Extraordinary Goal.
The team demands that members of the team are accountable to each other for assigned tasks High-performance teams get things done—they implement the plan and make the strategy work. Individual team members commit to each other to make things happen. They prepare for client-facing meetings with clearly defined roles and objectives. Milestones and action items are completed on time. Team members step in and share the load when another member needs help. No individual wants to let the other members of the team down.
The members of the team regularly communicate with one another about the status of the plan High-performance teams communicate regularly, whether in virtual meetings, face-to-face, or via email and messaging platforms. The key aspect is that they meet as a team and work together to move toward the Extraordinary Goal. As a result of regular team communication, synergy and team dynamics create a field for success. Team members become committed. The extraordinary goal becomes “doable.” The team members know the “most important best next actions,” who on the team is accountable for these actions, and when the action is scheduled for completion. As one member of a high-performance team has told us, “We communicate as if our lives depend on it.”
Consistent use of these “Best Practices” differentiates a high-performance team. They start with a focus on the client and never lose that focus. They have an Extraordinary Goal that demands creativity and performance. They take the time to create a plan that supports the goal and they know the dynamics of the client and of the plan. They communicate and collaborate with each other. They are committed to action and will not let the other members of the team down. These are the “high-performance teams.”