Image

Archive for High Performance Team Building

What would they choose?

Do your employees know what is most important in your company?

Most companies stress a combination of quality, cost control, customer service, and responsiveness to customer requests as priorities for the business, but often these priorities are in conflict with each other.

If your employees had to choose between on-time delivery, meeting specifications, and cutting costs, would they make the same choices you would?

Can they apply your strategic vision to their decision making criteria? Is there a consistent company culture that is reflected in the behavior of every employee?

If you’re unsure, it’s time to ask them.

Ask several employees, at various levels within the company, what they would say the company’s priorities are.

Then, ask them to rank them in order of importance.

Compare what they’ve told you – the real company culture – with what you envision for the business, and set about making them the same.

Communicate to Engage

When email relationships at work become stressful, it is with good reason.

Experts say that only 7% of in-person communication occurs through the words actually spoken: 55% is from body language, 38% is through tone of voice.

Email falls woefully short because it is one-dimensional.  In spite of the “reply” option, communication is really one-way.  Replies to emails allow editing not discussion, fine-tuning not  feedback.

Nancy communicated with her team by email as a matter of process.  She always wanted feedback and input, and asked for it in every email.  But she seldom received any response.  James was a valued member of her team, known for his reliability and quality of work.  But his emails he often seemed aloof and dispassionate.

One Monday, Nancy had prepared her usual email requesting feedback about an important new project. She really wanted to generate some enthusiasm about the project, so she decided to go see James first.

As she asked his opinion, she received concise, short  answers — as usual.  Then she asked “What would you do to ensure the success of this project?”

She was amazed at his response.  His face lit up, and he suggested a kick-off strategy for the project – complete with an idea to having a contest to name the project.

Suddenly Nancy saw a whole new dimension to the project — internal promotion!  And she had never seen that level of enthusiasm fro James before.    

This week, before you send out a group email that’s business as usual, go out of your way to get feedback from another person – in person or by phone. That personal contact will allow you to hear — and possibly see — responses that would be lost by using email.

 When you take the time to engage, it could open new dimensions in your success.

 

 

Own Your Results

The next time you are faced with an unexpected negative result, don’t think about blame- start with yourself, and discover what you could have done differently. Then learn from the negative experience.

Lynn was in charge of a small advertising firm. As part of a Grand Opening initiative, Lynn’s client wanted flyers distributed to every home within a 5-mile radius. Concerned about the store’s image, Lynn emphasized to the contractor that the flyers must be hung neatly and uniformly at every home, and never placed in mailboxes.

Imagine her shock when she drove through the neighborhood and found the flyers neatly displayed at every home, hanging from the garbage cans that had been placed at the curb for pickup!

The easy reaction is to blame the contractor for the terrible execution, fire him and think “lesson learned – bad contractor.” The PowerStep reaction is to think “lesson learned – my instructions were bad. They focused on what NOT to do, instead of what TO do. Next time, I’ll tell the contractor to hang the flyers on the mailboxes, neatly and uniformly”.  

Do they live your vision?

Do your employees know what is most important in your company?

Most companies stress a combination of quality, cost control, customer service, and responsiveness to customer requests as priorities for the business, but often these priorities are in conflict with each other.

If your employees had to choose between on-time delivery, meeting specifications, and cutting costs, would they make the same choices you would?

Can they apply your strategic vision to their decision making criteria? Is there a consistent company culture that is reflected in the behavior of every employee?

If you’re unsure, it’s time to ask them.  

Ask several employees, at various levels within the company, what they would say the company’s priorities are.

Then, ask them to rank them in order of importance.

Compare what they’ve told you – the real company culture – with what you envision for the business, and set about making them the same.

Choose Effective over Efficient

Consider how you plan your day.  Perhaps there is no plan.  Or perhaps there is a detailed plan that is quickly abandoned to solving urgent problems and dealing with critical issues. For many people, daily  activities are determined largely by email, telephone messages and people dropping by with their critical issues- that is, the priorities of others. Daily survival makes it virtually impossible to implement longterm solutions and reach goals. Or so it seems..  

Jannelle always planned her days.  She had a To Do list and carefully checked off each task as it was completed.  She always worked hard and felt productive. Jannelle had mastered efficiency – doing things right. But she was frustrated because there never seemed to be time for important projects.

Jannelle’s goals called for her to complete documentation of a new procedure by Thursday. To meet the deadline, she decided that she was going to schedule 2 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to finish the project.  That meant shutting down email and letting her telephone go to voice mail.  She let her coworkers know that she was unavailable for these 2-hour stretches unless it was a major emergency.

Now she was doing the right things – being effective, instead of efficient. The experience changed Jannelle’s concept of productivity. She realized:

    Working short periods – without interruption – allowed her to do better work faster.
    The “urgent” requests she used to jump for became less critical, when she was not instantly available to her coworkers.
    Her stress level was lower because she was in control of her time.
    Even though she accomplished fewer tasks, she knew she was more productive because she completed the right activities.

This week make an Effective To Do List.  List the few (3-5 maximum) important things you need to accomplish and dedicate the time to making those things happen.  At the end of the week, evaluate your progress.  Your results will show the difference between being efficient and being effective.  

Delegate…Really!

Delegate one responsibility you have never been comfortable delegating before.  Whether large or small, stretch your comfort level.  But be sure to limit the risk and monitor the process not the results. Notice your own reactions. Remember, it is a learning experience for you as well!

Example:  Max put the PowerStep principle into practice. One of his team leaders, Jean, had mentioned a new setup idea that she had. This time Max walked out to the machine with her and they discussed the details. He wasn’t sure it would work but saw the possibilities.

They agreed to try her idea on a short run, without a fixed deadline. They mapped out the process including a contingency plan if it did not work.  Max stayed in his office while Jean followed the plan! 

It worked!  Now, with a few changes, Jean has implemented her full plan. The plan reduced setup time for that machine by one fourth – and increased production output by 6%.

It’s not just mistakes that are costly.  Hesitation to act goes right to your bottom line.