Change Management

Does your Business have a Winning Team?

For those of you who love team sports, whether it’s soccer, basketball, rugby and those Irish warriors, GAA, I think it’s safe to say that the importance of team spirit is paramount. And not only that, it’s very obvious that a high team spirit is directly proportional to the overall performance output. You can always tell when a team puts in the so called ‘110%’ or when a team’s spirit is down low, or at 5 minutes to go, your team is losing 1 – 0 and they are pushing hard to get that all important equaliser.

I’ve been a Liverpool soccer fan all my life. I saw them many years ago under the Leadership of Kenny Daglish when they were just an unstoppable force in England and in Europe. Everything they touched turned to gold. They had a winning formula that stretched far past the qualities of each individual player. The same has been also true of our arch nemesis Manchester United under the Leadership of Alex Ferguson. They had something special. No matter how close it was to the final whistle, you could never write off United, and I mean never. This was perfectly demonstrated in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich with just a few minutes to go they were down 1 – 0. It looked over, however not only did they score 1 goal, they scored 2 to win the game before the 90 minute whistle was blown. I couldn’t tell you how many games Manchester United have won in the closing minutes that led them to many Premier League titles. What could they do, that other teams couldn’t? What was it about them that could pull a win so very often in the closing minutes of a game? Whatever it was, it sure wasn’t coincidence!

Some players will have their bad days and when they do, you can be sure that the press is going to crucify them and say they bottle under the pressure. How can individuals cope with this? As I am sure you well know, it’s not easy to take a harsh criticism on a regular basis, we’ve all had our moments of that. However they do, they have no choice, they are in the spotlight. So how do they cope with it?

And what has all this got to do with Business?

I’ve worked with many companies in many sectors over the years. I’ve seen examples of extremely happy and hardworking employees that are always willing to learn and do better. I’ve also worked with people who have become completely disengaged or interested in the job they do. They arrive at work, switch off, do their job with minimal energy and go home at the end of day. Do you think you are going to get good results with people like that? What happens if all your workforce had that attitude? Well I know you don’t, as you wouldn’t be reading this book or still in business!

Just like in team sports, business performance is proportional to the level of motivation your team has. So why wouldn’t you want it to be at it’s best? Why leave it to chance? Do you think a Premier League soccer team leaves their team performance to chance?

This is an area I’m absolutely fascinated with, I have studied many books and taken many courses on the subject of Communication / Sales / Influencing / NLP / Charisma / Presenting / Speaking / Leadership / Management Attitude. I am not saying all this to impress, I am saying it to impress upon you the importance of mastering the art of communication and leadership to create a highly contributing and winning team that delivers consistent great performance.

The image above sums it up very simply for me and I hope it does for you too! In order to have a team that is contributing continually at its max, you need to ensure they are satisfied as best you can. Now before you get blown away with that comment, I am not suggesting you are going to be able to do that for all people in a very quick time frame. No! What I am saying is that you this is not something you work on once in a blue moon in an adhoc fashion. I am talking a little bit daily and I mean just a little bit!

Your Company has Core Goals & Values, which should be higher on the pedestal than money or profits. In fact profits shouldn’t be considered a value at all. Profits and money are a result of having great core values that your customers believe, resonate with and trust, which in turn makes them want to continue to do more business with you. While the main goal of a business is to stay in business and hopefully in a profitable fashion, your business should be a team and customer centric business! Values and Cores are not surface marketing techniques, they should stand for what you are in good times and bad.

Behind all that you have a vision of what Success looks like for your business and you will only achieve that vision successfully through having a team that believes in that vision also. And in order to have your team to understand and believe that vision, you need a strategy that will deliver that message to them on a consistent basis.

However, what does that strategy consist of? And how do you tell your team?

The answer to these questions is not a one size fits all approach, however, the principles will remain constant, it’s application that will differ.

Slide1So one of the main aspects to your strategy so your team understands what you want to achieve is actually taking a step back and listening to what is important to them. Of all the years’ experience I have had working, with some of the toughest Unions there is, nothing has ever been more successful than listening to their wants and needs. Now again, before you go off on one wondering how on earth this can be achieved without your team taking complete advantage. That’s not the point of the exercise, the exercise is ALL ABOUT RESPECT on both sides. When you want to grow your business, start with growing your team! Start asking them what does success look like for them, do you know?

Depending on the levels within your business the application can vary, so lets take an example of a business that has 3 main levels to it, that is, Directors, Managers & Employees.

For there to be excellent communication and alignment with the strategy, a formula is needed!

Lets take Joe, a hard worker, always puts in over time, whenever he is needed to stay back he does, very committed, however his wife has 2 young kids screaming at her every evening and the last thing she wants to hear is that Joe is working late again and won’t be home until 9, maybe 10pm. But Joe feels he has no choice, he needs this job to support his family, so more and more he begins to resent his job. Never does his boss say thank you in fact his boss expects it off Joe and Joe has never said no.

Then there is Emily, who has huge career aspirations. She is fresh out of college and extremely motivated to work hard and learn and is prepared to stay back willingly to participate as much as possible, however in actual fact may not be contributing a whole lot, at the moment, as her effectiveness is low. If she can keep that motivation up when she knows her job inside out that will be fantastic. Will that be the case, who knows, maybe, has she been given a reason to?

And what about Damien, he feels he’s stuck in a role that he can’t excel in, that don’t play to his strengths and it’s not challenging him. He wants to enjoy his job, it’s not just about getting a pay check at the end of the month.  However if he continues, he will get disillusioned and become disengaged from the workforce. What a waste of talent.

And I could describe many more character types for you, however my point is that while a company has 1, Solid, Vision of Success, your team have many different ideas of what success looks like for them. What success is for one person could be absolute failure for another. Their ideas of success are based on

– Personal Goals

– Values

– Career Aspirations

– Work – Life needs

– Professional Compensation

– Personal Growth

– Work Life Balance

And everyone is pursuing their own vision of success.

So where am I going with this?

Of the 3 character examples I described above, can you relate to any of them? Do you have any of those people working for you now? Are you relying on their attitudes to perform at their peak for your business?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, never mind all 3, you are in a position where you are leaving your business performance to chance.  When the stakes are very high, like a Premiership soccer team there is nothing left to chance. Every player, no matter what level, youth, 2nd team, 1st team, is put through the latest and top rated nutrition plan for their needs, the latest and top rated training program for their performance and the latest and top rated psychology program to ensure every angle is absolutely covered, why? So there is nothing left to chance, AND in this day and age, Premier league football is a business! And just like any business, the stakes are high, lots of money and reputation are at stake. They understand this.

In business, nothing should be left to chance, and that holds through whether you are an entrepreneur, an SME owner or a CEO of a multinational. And if you are leaving to chance, all I can say is that you are throwing future earnings and profits literally down the drain.

So going back to our 3 Tier Business structure lets look at this in more detail and break down the responsibilities and accountability required at each level. Again I would like to emphasize, this is about respect and contribution is required at all levels of the business. This is not just top down, or bottom up. This is finding the synergies and exploiting them and you can’t do that unless you explore what opportunities are available to you and your business. And what business A will find will be different than Business B, and that’s fine, you take what potential is available to you and you bring it to life.

If you are starting this process from scratch, it is safe to say that you are starting your journey along a Change Program. While this sounds like a daunting task, and I can tell you first hand, it’s not straight road, you’ll take some twists and turns, go over a few bumps, some steep hills, however you will get where you need to be. As you have heard me mention already, this is about a little bit often. It’s not about the odd company survey, or company day or night out, or even a regular team building exercise. THIS IS A DAILY ACTIVITY! If you heard this every 2nd line of every chapter, you still wouldn’t here this enough.