There come’s a moment in every team’s lifespan, when they start to drift.
They become complacent.
They go onto auto-pilot.
They start going through the motions.
What they build is definitely not what the customer asked for.
In short, they drift.
Everyone knows how to “wake up” your team, fix the drift, get them back on track and figure out what’s going on (if not, there is a way to fix that).
Identifying it before it becomes too late is another task altogether that can be harder for managers, especially new managers to figure out.
Some early warning signs include;
- Wishy/Washy answers to what the individual is doing.
- Meetings that talk about things that are happening but not being accomplished.
- Attendees that work with the team, leave feeling confused more often than not.
- Communication drops.
- The team defends themselves in front of other groups constantly instead of working with them.
When I start to see any of these signs / symptoms start to appear, I know something is happening, I know the team is starting to drift and I know it’s time to step in and stop the drift before it gets too far.
Fixing Team Drift early on is doable, fixing it later in the development cycle, is very, very hard to do and is generally accompanied by very negative consequences that are hard on everyone.