Getting your business to work effectively and breaking through to the next level of performance can be tough. In my experience, being able to tap into the potential of your team is a major contributor to a company’s success. Most firms are full of well-meaning people trying to do their best. Part of your role, as the business owner, is to try and tap the existing potential of the good people that already work for you. There are a number of ways to achieve this – here are some of the most effective I’ve found:
Gino Wickman, the author of Traction, refers to the concept of GWC, which is short for:
- Get it
- Want it
- Capacity to do it.
The idea is that each member of your team must tick all three of these boxes.
This means they fully understand what their role entails. This includes the subtleties of their role as well as all the major functions. You may find if the staff member doesn’t ‘get it’, they’re simply in the wrong role, not necessarily the wrong business. In these cases, you might be able to move them to another role that suits.
This means they are motivated to do the job. Gino says “you can’t pay, motivate, force or beg” someone to want it. It’s up to each team member to find that drive for themselves.
This means they have all the necessary capacities to do the job: mental, physical, spiritual, time, knowledge and emotional intelligence. If any one of these three factors is a ‘no’, then it is highly unlikely a person will succeed in the role you’ve hired them for. Try running this simple three-step checklist over your existing team and you’ll find how powerful it is.
2. Personal Development Plans
If you haven’t done so already, ask each staff member to create their own three-year personal development plan. One of the greatest frustrations of business owners is that their staff aren’t as proactive as they could be in developing themselves. Take the initiative and rather than doing it for them, ask your team to take a stab at developing their own plans. Once they’ve done this, you can give feedback on their efforts and assist them with final completion of the plan. Giving team members this autonomy empowers them to become more involved in growing and developing themselves, both for their own benefit and the benefit of the business. Your job is to identify what they might need from you and the business to help them achieve their plans. The plans can be updated annually and progress should be reviewed with each team member on a quarterly basis.
3. Role Specialisation
Consider the roles that each team member performs within the business and try to have them owning a set of tasks that they love and are good at. I know this gets trotted out regularly by various gurus and consultants, but there’s a reason for that; it works. Be careful not to lump your most talented team member with a bunch of jobs because they’re the only one that can do them. Doing so would mean they’d have jobs they dislike but are good at, which is both hugely de-motivating and unfair Simply by tweaking the existing roles of your team and having them work to their strengths (anything they love and are good at) you’ll be amazed what can be unleashed in terms of productivity, staff satisfaction and client satisfaction. Narrowing the focus on a role is often a first step to getting this right. All too often in small firms, people are landed with a wide variety of roles, rather than focusing on what they do best. Addressing this issue can remove a major blockage to accelerated growth. Think of yourself as an employee in this context too. Business owners are the worst offenders when it comes to taking on too many roles within their firm. Outsource jobs as soon as you are able. If you haven’t done it in a while, sit down now and think of one job you could delegate or outsource immediately.
4.The Jack Welch Approach
Jack Welch, the famous former CEO of GE, believed strongly that the key way to create a better organisation was to actively turnover the bottom 10% of staff every year. Yes, that’s right, GE used to go out of their way to lose the people they considered to be in the bottom 10% of their staff. They would then try to hire better people and thus keep increasing the quality of the organisation as a whole. Now if you have a team of five people I know this is not going to apply literally, but the concept is sound. If, after tweaking and developing, there is still a staff member who doesn’t quite cut it you need to move them on and hire someone else who will bring what you need to the role. I know this is difficult, but I also believe that after biting the bullet, both your business and the staff member who’s been moved on will end up better off. Take a look at the performance of your team and see if any of these ideas could be applied. Focusing some effort on improving how each team member functions within the firm can really propel your business forward in leaps and bounds, not to mention increasing each team member’s job satisfaction.
By Brett Davidson