Goal Reviewing

We’ve been very privileged to work with some really successful teams in sport. We’ve worked with them in the most pressurised of sporting environments at world championships and Olympic Games. More importantly, we’ve seen them hold their nerve and deliver world-beating performances at these critical occasions.

The lessons we’ve learned from these teams have some useful take away messages that apply in any high performing context, so we thought we’d share them with you to provide some food for thought to see how some of the simple ideas can apply to your teams with a view to helping improve performance.

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Lesson #2 - Goal Reviewing for Competitive Learning

Having focused on setting goals to unite your team in Lesson #1, this time we’re focusing on great team work around learning from performances. We actually believe goal setting should be renamed GOAL REVIEWING as it’s that learning element associated with goals that really has the biggest performance impact.

We see many teams set goals, but never learn from them properly, so if the process was called goal reviewing it would point the team behaviour towards the most important part of the process more explicitly, rather than creating the current situation where people feel that setting goals is the critical element. If the focus was on goal reviewing teams would quickly learn that the quality of the goals that were set in the first place limited the quality of learning that could take place, so the emphasis would soon shift towards ensuring that really effective and clear goals have been consistently set in order that we can review with maximum confidence, which in turn allows the setting of even more focused and appropriate goals next time around.

We’re keen to focus on this reviewing and learning element of team behaviour as we think it’s an area where teams can get a lot of momentum in a relatively short space of time.

The most successful teams we’ve seen have had a belief that they learn more quickly and more effectively than their opponents. They realise that the effectiveness of their communication after training, between performances and throughout the course of a season is critical to maintaining momentum, confidence and motivation. Through a simple approach that promotes effective evaluation of all targets that have been set the teams get really good at capturing the critical information that will unite their thinking and move them forwards with confidence that they are focusing on the right things to give them the most control over taking a step forward.

Great teams know what to review

All the performers on the team are aware of the goals that had been set for a performance and they know that their main job is to identify how well the team executed the intended goals. The gap between what was intended to be delivered in terms of process, and the actual process delivered forms the basis of all of the communications, analysis and forward planning. This is not about reviewing what was achieved, but is focused on understanding the ingredients that went into producing the performance. Whether technical goal, tactical goal, mindset goal, physical goal or team dynamic goal, the team will objectively determine the extent to which the planned deliver level was achieved.

So, when was the last time your team asked “how well did we do what we said we were going to do?” And remember, the question is focused on the process that was intended to be delivered, not the end result!

Knowing how to review

The teams we’ve seen deliver the best reviews recognise that it’s a responsibility of everyone on the team to provide their perspective in order that everyone learns from everybody else. They also recognise that the feedback being provided is performance focused and not personal attacks. They recognise that the same, effective questions need to be asked and answered with the same degree of conviction regardless of the actual result – in fact the best teams we’ve seen actually review successes with the urgency and passion usually associated with a failure and they review a failed performance in a more relaxed approach. The teams therefore recognise that the mindset you have going in to a review will influence the quality and nature of the conversations that take place, so they get very good at setting the tone for the review to ensure that critical information is not lost as a result of a poor reviewing mentality.

So, how good is your team and reviewing successes with passion and urgency?

Knowing when to review

In terms of knowing when to review, this actually means that the best teams know that they have to review pretty much all of the time. They recognise that a performance or a training session is not over until they have learned from it, so reviewing is actually a regular part of the process of being a team. Reviewing is not something that happens once in a while or when major changes have to be made. Reviewing is a critical part of gaining control over performance and ensuring that progress is not left to chance , but is a function of a considered, constant gathering of performance focused information.

  • How consistently does your team carry out reviews?
  • Are you reviewing frequently enough to ensure that performance is being proactively managed?
  • Can your team become more skilful at reviewing?