(This article was originally published in the Sunday Star Times, December 13, 2015 – find that here.)
Discovering your team’s strengths and weaknesses can boost your firm’s reputation in the world…
Why do we put up with things that we know are not good enough happening over and over?
Most of us are not big fans of confrontation and we push some conversations into the too hard basket. These things that we put up with are a bad look for our business in the eyes of our customers and your team.
I am going to share a very easy to implement tip on how you can address some of these recurring “average to bad things” in your business that you need to knock on the head to have better customer retention, more word of mouth recommendations and to have your team more motivated and excited about taking your business forward.
In my younger days, I ran a large finance team. I had done a good job of running a finance team of about 25 people and got a promotion to lead a team of 150 accountants. I was reasonably confident of doing a good job and having every person in the larger team step up and add more value to their mainly internal customers.
I was going to replicate what had already worked for me. The key to my previous team being successful was that we had very clearly agreed what our minimum standards of performance and behaviors were. We called them “The Ten Commandments”.
These Ten Commandments were the agreed way we would do our job and how we would make our customer feel. Some would say they were like our core values. I am a big believer in having known core values that are lived and breathed. Our Ten Commandments were part core values but also identified some practical, physical things that we would do 24/7.
They were not our KPIs – rather a checklist that every person had to physically go through when they finished a job for an internal customer, to consider “did I deliver on this list of 10 things that I should be delivering to all my customers”.
With these “Ten Commandments”, we wanted to give the high performing people something to exceed and we wanted to show the lesser performers or the up and comers what was considered world-class in how we delivered to our customers.
When I was running the smaller team we all got together one day and identified what the best in our team did day in, day out. We also identified what set them apart from the average or weaker performers. We identified what our customers loved and what they hated.
All of this came together to form our Ten Commandments, which were the 10 things that must be delivered, day in, day out for our customers to love us and for team members to be considered A-graders.
Within 6 months, these minimum standards were lived and breathed 99 per cent of the time and our customers really noticed the efforts we were going to, to make them happy and to truly add value.
And thanks to us implementing, it made me personally look good. Bosses look good when their teams perform well. We formally reviewed our performance against the minimum standards every single week.
What part of your business or your team are you constantly accepting second best? What do the best people in your business and team do that others do not? What do your customers tell you they like and what have you done to make sure that your customers get more of what they like and you ensure they will not receive the service or delivery that makes them be disappointed with your company or team?
If you have not identified your minimum standards you expect, then there is every chance that some people give a great experience and others are letting you and the greater business down.
By you brainstorming the “dream” minimum standards that need to be delivered, it will greatly help any under-performers, as they will have more clarity in what you expect and the level to which they need to perform.
And when they know the formal standards you expect, it makes your job in managing people so much easier too.
How about over your Christmas break, if you think on anything about “work”, think about what are the minimum standards you need to implement into your business so you have the highest chance of extremely satisfied customers and of the general standard of performance in your team jumping up a notch or two.
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach who owns www.businesschanging.com and www.accme.co where you can sign up for regular business-thinking questions and build a living action point list. He is co-founder of www.nurturechange.com the Fiji business retreat November 2016.