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  • Writer's pictureFaye Almeshaan

Mastering Team Performance: A Fractional COO's Guide

Leading a team through the twists and turns of scaling can feel like herding cats—challenging and chaotic. As you add more players to the mix, you're likely to encounter communication hiccups, misunderstandings, and the dreaded silos. The formula of more humans in seats not always equating to more output underscores the pivotal role of managing performance as the linchpin to success.

In my journey as a seasoned founder, operator, investor, and now a Fractional COO, I've forged a career collaborating with hundreds of companies. My expertise lies in the art of constructing exceptional, effective teams, with an approach that empowers executive teams and permeates throughout the entire organization.

Establishing Alignment: Define a Clear North Star

Getting a team to march to the same beat is like herding those aforementioned cats—tricky. Step one: set a clear north star. It's not enough for this vision to be crystal clear in your genius brain; everyone on the team needs to get it too. How do you know if everyone gets it? Throw the big question at the team: "What are we trying to accomplish here?" If you get a unified chorus, great, you’re on track! But more often than not, it's usually a mixed bag (some will honestly leave you truly bewildered).

How do you align your team to one north star? Set a clear, specific objective. Avoid vague aspirations like "We want to be the best company ever this year." Opt for precision, such as "Our goal for this year is to launch Product X by Y date." This specificity ensures everyone is aiming in the same direction, fostering cohesion and shared objectives.

Goal Achievement through Collaboration

When you’re aiming for fast-paced growth, an ultimate goal is great to have, but you people may still not be clear on what their role is in getting to that ultimate outcome. The key is not about cracking the whip to hit goals you set for your team but to collaboratively set the right goals. Instead of asking how to make your team hit their goals, pose the question: Are these even the right goals to begin with?

Once the company's North Star is established, encourage your team to contribute to goal-setting. This collaborative process creates buy-in, engagement, motivation, and a sense of ownership. Through cycles of goal-setting, your team will refine their approach, understand limitations, and embrace progressively ambitious targets.

Tracking Performance: Beyond Spreadsheets

Even if your team is all on the same page and has set killer goals, there's a risk of it all fading away like last year's resolutions—unless you have a system in place. Sure, you can track goals on Google Sheets for a while, but once your team becomes a mini army, you need a really robust Performance Management System (PMS). My favorite tool is Lattice. It's like the Swiss Army knife of performance tracking—real-time updates, open communication, and no more "Surprise! The product isn't ready for another 6 weeks" moments.

To ensure these steps don't fall by the wayside, Appoint a dedicated goal project manager. It could be the COO, Chief of Staff, Chief of Shenanigans, or whoever—someone who devotes at least 15% of their time to make sure we're not just setting goals but actually hitting them.

In my journey working with hundreds of startups, I've learned that managing team performance isn't just a job – it's an adventure. From wrangling wild ideas to turning chaos into coordinated brilliance, it’s a multifaceted process that demands strategic foresight, alignment at all levels, and a reliable system for tracking progress.


About Faye

Over the last 12 years, Faye’s worked with, scaled, and invested in 250+ companies that have raised from leading investors, such as Andreessen Horowitz, QED, Lerer Hippeau, Bessemer, Serena, and so many more.

As a seasoned operator, founder, investor, and now Fractional COO she brings a holistic approach to scaling companies. With an emphasis on collaboration, open communication, and transparency, she’s been able to turn around and supercharge the growth of companies globally.

If you’re interested in connecting with Faye, book a call here

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