Get a G.R.I.P. to Avoid Bottom-Line Bottleneck from Leadership Failures

The challenges you face within your team often can be solved by running through and assessing the four keys of G.R.I.P.: goal clarify, role clarity, interaction, and process.

No matter the size of the company or team, we are all responsible for the bottom line. Leaders should feel responsibility for the bottom line, but sometimes can be the bottleneck that limits bottom-line success. We see it all the time as adventure consultants—leaders approach us saying they need to get their team “back on track” or “increase efficiency,” and as we dive deeper, we find some common failures almost every time. It happens so often actually, we rarely conduct a program that doesn’t use our G.R.I.P. model for success to combat these common failures. We outline the model and then put it into action at our adventure facilities with our teambuilding initiatives. We then are able to make the connections back to the workplace, creating flow where a bottleneck once was! Let’s run through the model here.

The G.R.I.P. Model

The first key of G.R.I.P. is GOAL CLARITY. There is no bigger failure that can lead to a bottleneck than not having clearly defined goals. Goal ambiguity can cause a decrease in morale, resulting in poor work ethic, and an abundance of wasted time. To avoid frustration in this area, we work with teams on problem-solving initiatives that have a clearly defined goal. Leaders need to ensure their goal is clear with every member of the team. This sometimes can be difficult, and requires trust from top to bottom. Without trust, team members might not feel comfortable asking for clarity, while leaders often assume that their way of communicating the goal resonates with everyone immediately. Great leaders always follow up with questions to their team to ensure everyone understands the goal of the team.

The second key of G.R.I.P. is ROLE CLARITY. Now that we clearly defined our goal, does everyone know how they are contributing? Role clarity can be immensely motivating, and can minimize a great deal of stress and potential friction within the team. This also creates accountability and ownership, which leaders can follow up on to ensure the team reaches the goal. I love the metaphor given in the book, “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins, of not only getting the right people on the bus, but going to the next step of making sure everyone has the right seat. This often can be difficult within teams, but if you have team members who do not have clearly defined roles, then the leadership might need to make some tough calls to reallocate some of their resources. At the end of the day, if both the leader and team member can articulate their role and how it contributes to the goal, you are heading in the right direction.

The third key of G.R.I.P. is INTERACTION. Communication improvement is one of our most common requests in terms of principles to work on with teams that come through our programs. With the advances in technology, there are so many ways to communicate, but also so many ways to misread communication. Leaders who succeed identify norms within the team of what tools or methods are to be utilized. We drive home the point in our programs by asking the question, “Do you say what you mean, and mean what you say?” This pointed question also requires trust from both parties, teams that have been together for multiple years or teams that might have to build trust if it has been lost in the past. Leaders face the challenge of keeping their teams accountable to the norms established, and that communication exists in whatever form the team needs to succeed.

The fourth and final key of G.R.I.P. is PROCESS. Can leaders navigate their team to collectively agree on the process? One of the best outcomes of teambuilding challenges is that there is usually more than one way to succeed, and this can translate into the workplace. We specifically design challenges in which teams have a certain amount of resources, creating the possibility of several solutions, thus creating an environment where effective communication is required to agree on a process to achieve the goal. We often see that process is the bottleneck as teams try to go from brainstorm to execution. Teams struggle with in-the-moment changes, and especially failure. Leaders should not be afraid to fail! Take failure as an opportunity to recalibrate, take pieces that work, and move forward to another solution. It can be hard to keep up positive communication as you are working through process conception and testing, but the rewards and ultimate team cohesion will prove to be better than ever. We see it all the time with just a few hours of challenges that test the team on how members build and work through the process.

One of the most rewarding pieces of working with teams is getting e-mails months after a program has ended, and leaders giving us an example of how they used G.R.I.P. with their team. Some leaders have even built it into their culture. It is simple to remember, and even catchy to say: “Let’s stop and get a G.R.I.P.” If you use it as a leadership tool and can identify each component, the team will see more results and fewer bottleneck failures that can prevent bottom-line success. More often than not, the challenges you face within your team, just like the ones we create at our adventure facilities, can be solved by running through and assessing the four keys of G.R.I.P. However, just like any model, if left unused, your investment in the teambuilding adventure will just turn into that “fun outing” instead of the turning point for a successful team. Now it is your turn to go and get a G.R.I.P. on your team, and on the bottom line.

Trevon Hauth is the general manager and facilitator at Empower Adventure Middleburg. He has a rich history of outdoor adventures and pursuits. Growing up as a Boy Scout and working towards his Eagle Scout, Hauth was exposed to all the benefits of the outdoors and the education that comes from experiencing nature. Since then, he has obtained a degree in Recreation Management and Outdoor Leadership, as well as his Master’s in Business Administration, which allows him to create one-of-a-kind adventures for both corporate and leisure groups at Empower Adventures. Hauth continues to pursue the outdoors through trail running, camping, and hiking with his wife and three daughters.

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