compliance allianceIf team members aren’t doing what you need them to do, how do you address that issue?
As a government team leader (with formal authority) or an influencer (with informal authority), your job is to get work done through others, to inspire them to deliver a quality product or service on time and under budget.
If goals and tasks are not being accomplished as expected or as promised, you must get people back on track. Let’s look at two different approaches.
There are two levels of partnership one can drive for: compliance or alliance.
The lowest level of partnership is compliance. Compliance means that team members do what you tell them to do, primarily when you’re closely monitoring their efforts and performance.

Compliance means team members are required to participate. They are engaged in activity, not solutions. They do the bare minimum that tasks or projects demand – and that you demand.

The highest and most desired level of partnership is alliance. Alliance means that team members understand what is required and they understand why such activities are beneficial to them, to their customer, and to their team.

Alliance means team members participate willingly in efforts to exceed standards and improve service and efficiency. They are engaged in solutions, not activity. They are proactive. They exceed what tasks or projects demand.

How do you know if you’re gaining only compliance? You might experience team members:

  • Waiting and watching. They are usually not proactive, they are reactive.
  • Missing milestones. They don’t have a lot of skin in the game – making or missing targets or deadlines isn’t a great concern. They let YOU carry that responsibility.
  • Demonstrating activity when you’re observing. Less activity occurs when you are not observing.
How do you know if you’re gaining alliance? You might experience team members:
  • Applying discretionary energy to their goals and tasks, solving problems on their own.
  • Engaging in discussion with you and peers to deepen their understanding of the opportunity, to understand any parameters that must be considered, or to brainstorm more creative and efficient ways to deliver to standard. Sometimes those discussions will be LIVELY and LOUD.
  • Proactively bringing thought-out recommendations for enhancing product and service delivery.
You will gain alliance more frequently by enabling team members and then holding them accountable.
Enabling team members means you educate them on more than just the elements of the task or project. You help them understand the “why’s”- the strategy, the context, even how the customer will be using the product or service your team is delivering.
Enabling team members means you delegate authority and responsibility to talented, engaged players. They earn the right to act independently by demonstrating their expertise, cooperation, and contributions over time.
Enabling team members means you trust them to be great stewards of your team’s resources and reputation, both inside and outside the organization.
Then, hold team members accountable. Every leader’s job is to ensure that agreed-to standards are met or exceeded – within budget, within timeframes, and at the quality standards your internal and external customer desires and deserves.
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