When you’re looking to grow a scale-ready business there are two essential foundations that you need to build:
- Simple logical and repeatable systems in every area of your operation, and
- A high performing team who take ownership for their role and run your systems effectively.
Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the importance of ‘proper’ training, and how to get it right, and we’ve also looked at delegation as a tool for further development – helping your team member to fulfil their potential and take both themselves and your business to new heights.
These are two great ways to build the skills and confidence of your team, and certainly should be your starting point, which is why we’ve spent so much time on them.
But there are other ways too – in fact there are 7 great ways to achieve operational excellence, and give every team member the broader skills and confidence they need to take ownership for their role.
These are my top 7 – I’d love to know what you’d add to this list.
Developing the Training Map for every role in your business; creating your How To guides which show your one right way to do every task; training your team member to follow that one right way, giving them feedback when they slip or cut corners.
Using delegation as a way to develop your team member rather than just getting something off your to do list! (see last week’s blog)
Involving your team in your planning process so that they understand the ‘why’ of what you’re asking them to do; improving their ownership and commitment. Work with them to agree the most simple, logical and repeatable way of doing key tasks along the customer journey, teaching them the importance of consistency and customer service.
Ask them how they feel you could improve your operation – and listen to what they say, implementing their ideas whenever possible to give them the confidence and belief that you value their input.
4. Presenting to Peers
Getting someone to present to a small group, particularly of their peers, is a fabulous development exercise.
Start small, asking each team member to come to your weekly team meeting prepared to share what they feel has gone well that week, the challenges they’ve faced since the last meeting, any wins and so on.
Get them to stand up when they do their bit, making it feel like a presentation, and give them feedback on how to improve.
If you’ve got somebody who’s really struggling in a particular area, maybe they’re an introvert and they’re struggling to be heard in a noisy team; or maybe they’re someone with real potential who has a tendency to self destruct; finding them a mentor outside of the team or in another part of the business, who’s been where they are now, who understands what they are going through, can be a really good way of supporting their development.
Training a team member to act as a mentor can be a brilliant opportunity too. It’s a great way to develop communication skills (mainly listening and questioning) as well as facilitating and feedback.
6. Visiting customers or suppliers
Take team members out to meet customers and suppliers, to learn how their work adds value and fits into the bigger picture. Ask them to keep an eye out for improvement ideas and to look for ways to improve and develop the business relationship, and then discuss what they’ve learned on the journey home, or back at base.
Add even more value by asking them to pull together a short presentation to present at the next team meeting.
7. Your Example
Remember that you cast your shadow of the leader every single day.
Every time you walk into your workplace, every time you pick up the phone, every time you’re on zoom, every time you write an email, however you interact with your team; you are casting your shadow over them and they feel your presence. Is it a positive, inspiring shadow, ‘Come on! We are a team. We can do this’?
Or a dark, brooding shadow, ‘Oh Lord, (s)he’s in such a bad mood today. This is going to be the day from hell’! Be the example you want your people to follow, because you are the person they follow and copy, for good, bad or ugly.
If you want to build a high performing team, then as their leader, it’s down to you to make sure that they have all the information, resources and support they need to grow, develop and take ownership. Your team are essential to your business success, so I’m sure you’ll agree – they’re worth the effort.
Do one thing: Choose one of the 7 ideas for developing your team that you haven’t used before, and give it a go.
NB Team Development is step 4 of a 9 step roadmap that we lead our clients along, to build the business-critical systems that will make your business scale-ready, and free you from the day to day of your operation.