3 Key Steps to getting improved performance from your team
The greatest asset any company has are the people at its core. The success, innovations and future of any company rest squarely on your staff or team. The greater their performance, individually and as a whole, the greater your success. And when your team is clicking and winning, nothing can make you feel more secure, certain and unstoppable.
But what do you do when your team isn’t performing? We all know the frustration of a team of smart, experienced people that just aren’t getting the results. The best supervisors and leaders rise to the occasion by closely managing their peoples’ activities to achieve improvements, but often with little avail and much effort. We turn to coaches, consultants and a near endless supply of HR or management material to solve the problem that seems like it shouldn’t exist to begin with.
Fortunately, nearly all problems, save those of the marketplace (economic instability) or technology (systems going down) can be solved quite easily without rolling out multi-million dollar technology upgrades or with costly restructuring, but rather by following these 3 easy steps:
Step 1 – Get people tapped into their best motivation
I’ve yet to see a single problem that can’t be solved by people. Even the challenge of getting mankind to the moon was solved by people. And it is the same with any business challenge, that when people are deeply engaged and enrolled, or as we like to say ‘tapped in’, success is just a matter of time. So the question is now: how to get your people tapped in?
The answer is far simpler than you’d expect: don’t thrust a goal on your people and ask them to take-on your reasons for being emotionally engaged as they own. Instead, ask them what their goals are, and then to answer how the company’s goal can be an expression or extension of that. Great example: a national food chain was looking to improve customer satisfaction scores. Most front line and senior retail staff had ‘better pay’ and ‘better working conditions’ as their top priorities. The seasoned VP Retail Operations asked the staff to see that only with higher customer satisfaction would they be able to get more consumer traffic, better bottom lines and thus the ability to invest into the things that mattered most. In other words, “you bring the wood and I’ll bring the nails .. but without the wood we can’t build much”. The retail staff made it personal, with most locations setting up scoreboards for real-time ratings and a goal in mind, with the promise from senior management to roll out various workplace improvements as goals were met. This is a classic case of letting your team create their own emotional engagement! By the way, that national food chain went on to experience 400% revenue growth over the next 4 years.
Step 2 – Create Open Metrics
There’s a reason why fitness watches work; people like to see progress and connect with a win. I remember hearing my Dad say that ‘no one is going to pay $150 or more for a thing that tells you how many steps you took’. Flash forward to current day and it’s not uncommon to find people walking circles in their kitchens late at night to add on the few steps required to reach their 10k steps.
The same logic holds true for the workplace, we are motivated to ‘see wins’, and when we can’t, well — out of sight, out of mind. We’ve been encouraging clients to have group visual metric boards for years because, quite simply, they always work. And we also ask people to form ‘rotating triads’ amongst their teams, so that every week you have to meet briefly with 2 others and discuss what you are doing that works and what could be improved. This also helps to create a culture where ‘failure’ is not only openly discussed, but powerfully de-stigmatized. When failure isn’t a determination in your survival but rather your approach to handling failure, you’ll find people are far more motivated, less defensive and more proactive to seek out resources with less fear of judgement and consequences.
Step 3 — Make the work count
Let’s be honest, no matter how attractive or appealing a job is, after any period of time, a job is just a job. Over my years I’ve been amazed to find that people, even with enormous salaries, start to see their jobs as just that, jobs. That’s because human nature is such that if we do anything for a sufficiently long enough period of time, it’s impact starts to wear off. Be it the best vistas, best homes, best cars or even the best jobs .. given enough time they all become “stale”. This is why it’s incredibly important to make the work that people do, even if it’s mundane, count emotionally.
One of our favourite strategies is to introduce a charitable goal to the workplace. Now, I’m not talking about selling some girl guide cookies or a bake sale for the local high school football team. I’m talking about doing something that creates legacy and that makes people feel like their mundane daily jobs and tasks actually make a difference. Some simple examples are setting a goal that if the first milestone in a sales goal is met, the company will be able to meet it’s commitment to working a soup kitchen or building a house for a family in need and actually taking the company out for a day to contribute to that. I’ve witnessed more that a few executive teams take on Habitat for Humanity day-long build projects and what’s most impactful is to see not only the team bonding, but to see more than a few tears shed at the end of the day when they meet the family receiving the home. The company employees start to see their jobs as ‘more than just jobs’ and that their time spent doing ‘mundane daily tasks’ goes towards a company culture that makes a difference in the world. Pride in your workplace soon follows, as does the desire to help ensure that your company thrives to do it again. And at the end of the day, we truly all just want to make a difference and know that what we do, even if mundane, makes a difference.
The common elements of all these tips is that even the least productive employees have the capability to move mountains, if it matters to them. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your employees is to make it easier for them to emotionally connect with the jobs so that they too can experience their best selves.
We are excited to be partnering with ReVenture, a leading Management Consulting and Strategy company for Performance Coaching. For more information on how to motivate your team or for further insights and strategies on creating a peak performance culture, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We offer free strategy sessions where we commit to uncovering 3 strategies you can take action on immediately to get results. To book your free strategy session, contact us at email@example.com with the subject line “Strategy Session Request” and our team will respond within 24 hrs to set up your meeting.
Best of luck from GCG and ReVenture!
Written by Julian Bolster, President ReVenture, GCG Performance Coaching Partner
Julian Bolster is a leadership coach and business success engineer. He is driven by the idea that ‘Anything is Possible’ and is committed to helping leaders and executives deliver the best leadership, performance and innovative business solutions to organizations.
Over the past 20 years in business, Julian has developed proven techniques for achieving business success. Over the past decade, Julian has worked with thousands of people from over 26 countries. Celebrated as one of the top 1% of leadership engineers globally, Julian has co-authored alongside some of today’s biggest names including Deepak Chopra and Dr. Ken Blanchard. Julian’s products have been translated into 17 languages and he has appeared on TV and radio as a leading expert in professional development. Julian’s incredible story of personal survival and triumph has inspired people across the globe to realize his motto, that ‘Anything is Possible’. Julian is the chosen advisor to global organizations, governments, celebrities, royalty, and leading-edge companies seeking innovation and evolution.