Next year will be here soon. As the new year begins, your leadership will be shouldered with the same challenges. Team gaps that slowed progress this year will still be present unless the team structure, department, and organization change.\nHave you recently been asked to step in and help transform an underperforming team? What\u2019s the first thing you do? Maybe you quickly identify low-hanging fruit (immediate gaps) that could be solved in under 30 days. Next, you might explore tactical areas (short-term wins) that could be addressed in 30-90 days. Finally, you may look at strategic areas that would take more than 90 days to solve (game changers). There\u2019s just one problem. You\u2019re taking the same approach and applying the same tools as your predecessor.\nStop asking your team what activities they\u2019re doing. That approach doesn\u2019t work. What does work is defining \u201cgood\u201d up front.\nUse influence to define \u201cgood\u201d\nConstructed for the 1889 World\u2019s Fair, the Eiffel Tower today remains one of the most-visited monuments in the world that visitors have to pay to see. The tower spans 324 meters\u2014about the height of an 81-story building. Maurice Koechlin and \u00c9mile Nouguier were co-designers of the Eiffel Tower and published the first designs of the tower in 1884. However, credit for the tower\u2019s final design and engineering is usually attributed to Gustave Eiffel.\nEiffel had a vision of what good looked like, which was based on the influence of existing architectural excellence. Eiffel could have modeled the tower\u2019s structure to be similar to the copper Statue of Liberty designed by French sculptor Fr\u00e9d\u00e9ric Auguste Bartholdi. His vision could have mirrored the Washington Monument, designed originally by the architect Robert Mills and constructed of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss. The Washington Monument was also the tallest structure in the world at the time. Eiffel might have leveraged the design of the Cologne Cathedral as a model of architectural brilliance, illuminating the original Medieval plan. The cathedral was completed in 1880 and is constructed of stone with wooden internal features.\nDespite the more than 5,300 plans and drawings that had been created for the tower, Eiffel took an alternative approach. He first defined good and then took advantage of progressive materials available at the time\u2014specifically, puddling iron, a precursor to construction steel.\nFocus on the right stuff\nYou\u2019re not alone in your struggle. Each day in the office, you\u2019re putting out fires. Business relationship managers (BRMs) are fighting to move from tactical order takers to trusted strategic partners. You strive to have that strategic discussion, pontificating upon a mythical day in which there\u2019s team stability and consistent value delivery nine months down the road.\nInevitably, the harsh reality of today\u2019s organizational dysfunction brings you back to address recurring problems\u2014problems thought to have been previously solved. Do any of these sound familiar?\n\nThe license for one of your development products expired.\nA vendor was working at risk after a statement-of-work expired.\nResources had been working hard\u2014just on the wrong stuff.\nWork appeared to be happening, but the outcomes weren\u2019t being realized.\nThe team size was perceived as bloated, yet delivery continued to waffle.\nA hero complex was embraced when issues arose, and root-cause analysis was an afterthought.\nOperational urgencies had bled out strategic energy.\n\nOften, leaders fail to define good before taking action. When absorbing a new team that\u2019s struggling to perform or recharging an existing team, don\u2019t ask everyone on the team what activities they perform. At best, you\u2019ll document the current state of activities that defined low performance; at worst, you\u2019ll miss the real activities not being performed that directly contribute to the dysfunction of the team. You must first define good.\nA blueprint for organizational redesign\nLet\u2019s take a lesson from Eiffel about his approach to building the Eiffel Tower. A similar approach can be used to shift organizations from low-performing to high-performing.\nThe Applied Convergence for Organizational Excellence approach (ACOE, pronounced as \u201cace\u201d) is a technique I\u2019ve modeled over the years. The process has 10 steps to help you define good for your organization or team.\n\nApply frameworks for influence\nElaborate specialized roles\nAlign capabilities to roles\nAssess the capabilities\nClarify the roles\nDefine good\nMap individuals to roles\nInterview for role misalignment\nReset job responsibilities\nShare the vision\n\nYou now have defined good.\nIlluminating the journey to good\nApply frameworks for influence means basing your capabilities on one or more frameworks such as Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT), Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), IT Service Management (ITSM), Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), or IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF).\nElaborate specialized roles means you expand each capability or function into roles that would be applicable for the most mature and specialized organization.\nAlign capabilities to roles refers to defining twelve core roles and aligns all capabilities into one of these twelve roles.\nAssess the capabilities involves reviewing each capability to determine the maturity level of that capability (0% non-existent, 25% developing, 50% defined, 75% managed, or 100% optimized).\nClarify the roles means capturing individual feedback and ensuring that resources participate and provide feedback on the roles.\nDefine good is a step that sets the stage for what good looks like in terms of organizational capabilities and roles.\nMap individuals to roles refers to linking existing individuals to the newly defined roles.\nInterview for role misalignment involves asking each individual in a role today to identify responsibilities they believe are within their job description. It doesn\u2019t matter if the resource says, \u201cyes, it\u2019s in my role\u201d or \u201cno, that\u2019s outside my responsibility.\u201d Your goal is to identify the gaps not being addressed today; e.g., the gap between poor performance and your definition of good. A simple application of this step is to put the role responsibilities in a two-column, PowerPoint slide and then highlight any responsibility the resource feels is outside the scope of their work in blue. The responsibilities in blue highlight the organizational gaps by role to get to good.\nReset job responsibilities means creating a new job baseline for the resources and establishing clear ownership for all capabilities and functions.\nFinally, Share the vision is a process that communicates the converged vision of the new capabilities and roles across your organization.\nAt this point, you\u2019ve defined good. The current organization's responsibilities are clear, and the gaps to advance the organization to good are identified by role.\nChampagne at the top\nIt\u2019s important to consider the influence of great organizations when designing organizational structures to foster high-performance teams. However, like Eiffel, be sure to apply new materials, ideas, tools, and techniques in your approach. The creators of existing organizations didn\u2019t have the luxury of incorporating these new patterns and designs into their models. If they did, maybe they\u2019d be on top of the Eiffel Tower, toasting at the champagne bar. It\u2019s hard to beat a good glass of bubbly.\nYour peers are going to suggest you survey individuals to understand organizational gaps by taking an inventory to capture all the aspects of poor performance. Think differently\u2014play chess while your competitors are playing checkers\u2014and begin by defining good.