As an owner, director or manager there is an expectation that you have all of the answers to current challenges, which may be hindering your ability to grow your business. Of course this isn’t true, but the pressure is on you to perform and have all of the right answers when required.
Sadly, business life isn’t this easy. Many business owners may know a huge amount about the business but this doesn’t always mean that their ideas will be the best ones.
For a business to survive and thrive there needs to be a vast bank of knowledge, respect for all employee opinions and an ego-clear area which allows these opinions to be heard, tested and rewarded if they are of sufficient merit. The culture of the business must allow this to happen. After all, the business is the grateful receiver of the results obtained through implementation of ideas. It is not enough for a business to grow on its own – there must be a mechanism to grow the people too.
For those who have read my previous articles, you’re probably aware that I am a huge believer in team effort. To coin the old saying from the word TEAM, Together, Everyone Achieves More…and in my eyes, this is the key to greatness, sustainability through continuous profitability.
Here’s how to get the best ideas from your team…
To work as a team, you need to demonstrate you are a team. Frequently I am met with inter-departmental tussles in companies. How on earth can you be a team if you do not respect, learn from and understand one another? Of course, some of these tussles happen in the boardroom where managers may be jockeying for position or recognition. However, the greater good for the company rarely comes through one individual but from a collective.
Let’s move on and explain the system I have used successfully in so many industries. In your team, you will need to set the scene:
- What are the key challenges you are facing
- Which topics need to be covered that will either overcome these challenges or move the business towards a more positive outcome?
Once you understand the situation, here’s what you do…
1) Arrange a meeting when all your team can attend. It may be you need to run two teams purely to remain operational, covering phone calls etc.
2) Provide the challenge/question for your team.
3) During the meeting, explain the problem/challenge, the background and what outcome the business requires. It may be there isn’t an outcome but a result that is either a massive benefit to your customers and/or your business.
4) Allow every member of your team to put forward suggestions to solve the challenge. There are no bad answers here and you need to recognize every suggestion as a possibility to ensure you keep the team in a positive mindset.
5) When you have all of the answers, ask your team to place the suggestions in order of priority for implementation. You may find there are so many good answers that this is a hard task. On the flip side, you may not receive too many suggestions initially as the team needs to feel secure with this method and learn to trust you.
6) Create a file with the challenge and all of the suggestions.
7) As you now have a prioritized list of possibilities, you decide which answer is the one you will implement (hopefully this will be the highest priority too but budgets and/or time may dictate another option needs to be considered and tested first.
8) Create an action plan to follow through and create the changes in the business to test the suggestion. This action plan must have deadlines and you also need to assign tasks to various team members to deliver on this topic. As a growth opportunity, you may find that the person who suggested the answer would be ideal at leading the action plan…it’s just a suggestion and worth a try!
9) Monitor the outcome. Whoever is driving the changes needs to report to you frequently so that you are fully aware where the team are in delivering the program of change and also what results have happened since implementation.
10) Make sure you praise and reward good work, dedication etc. This goes a long way towards driving morale and keeping the team on track. It also ensures that future projects will be undertaken with as much, if not more energy as the team discovers how serious you are at working together.
This is a tried and tested system for creating change in any organization. A nice side effect of this is that new recruits can look back at what you have achieved together and quickly settle into the company.
You’re not finished yet…once you complete the priority suggestion, what would happen if you action other suggestions on this topic? Perhaps a combination will bring far greater rewards/results than initially projected. Never under-estimate the power of compounding ideas. Combinations may work so well together that you out-perform the targets you set or hoped for.
Continue running through the list until you have completed all of the key tasks under a topic. Run a meeting to explain what has been achieved through your teams input. Always ask if there are any other suggestions to continue the improvements as early changes may allow provide opportunities for more ideas.
This is a tried and tested process that allows your team to help solve the problems or challenges your business is facing today. Once you are implementing and monitoring results you may find the culture in your business changes in a positive way, especially if you are rewarding the person for the idea. This system provides massive growth opportunities for your people and your business. As I say in marketing, test, test, test and hopefully you’ll achieve results through the implementation of ideas, perhaps ideas you would never have thought of.Tapping Into A Key Asset To Help Grow Your Business Click To Tweet