Do you ever get tired of reminding employees to do their jobs in accordance with the documented policies, procedures, and systems? Do you feel like a kindergarten teacher trying to get your children to stay in line? Have you experienced any of these challenges lately: missing deadlines, customer complaints, and recurring annoyances? How often? What is it costing you in time, productivity, and customer retention? Well, few things in business are less glamorous than reviewing your office or operations policies and procedures. It’s way more fun to sell things and make money than it is to make and uphold the rules. However, the successful growth of your company will depend on your staff’s ability to execute these policies and procedures consistently.
Many business owners find themselves in a similar place after a while – their business is doing pretty well and they are making a decent living, but there is something missing. They don’t feel as fulfilled at the office as they thought they would, and they feel like something is missing from the team. Everyone comes in, does their job, and takes pretty good care of the customers, yet the little things that would make it great never seem to get done unless you do them yourselves. When you begin to feel this, it most likely means you, your team, and your business have come down with a case of “Good Enough-itis”, where everyone performs just “good enough” to get by, but nobody excels.
Do you ever get tired of correcting your team (or spouse or kids)? Well, if you’ve ever read the book “Whale Done”, you know that trainers figured out early on that you can’t “Correct” a killer whale, but you can “Re-Direct” it instead to accomplish the same thing! While your team members are certainly not the same as a pod of killer whales (I hope), they probably prefer the same approach to helping them choose better actions when they need help doing so. So what does Re-Direction look like in the workplace?
In my coaching sessions so far this week, the topic of Setting Expectations has come up several times. It usually starts with, “So-and-so didn’t do what I expected again.” My first question is almost always, “Are you sure he/she knew what you expected?” The typical answer is “I think so…I told him/her a couple times.” Does this pattern sound or look familiar to you? Are you getting tired of this conversation yet?
Let’s face it, at one time or another you have experienced the joy and wonder of working in a team environment. (Hopefully, you picked up on the sarcasm here…I’m laying it on pretty thick!) Don’t get me wrong, working in a team can be great when members are aligned and working together to accomplish the task before them. But, there are also those times when working with a team can feel like you’ve been sentenced to a life in prison with no chance of parole.
Take a minute to picture the following scenario. You’ve just arrived at the pool to relax with your family when out of nowhere a mother and father rush their young toddler up to the lifeguard on duty. The young girl is motionless and the panic is starting to build in the parents’ faces. Calmly and controlled, the lifeguard springs into action and within minutes a team of people descend to administer treatment to the young girl and bring her back to life.
We’ve all heard it from our friends, co-workers, networking partners and pretty much everybody who ever tried to tell someone else what to do – “they just didn’t listen to me”, or some form of that statement. Well I have good news and bad news for you, and the good news is that you are probably right! The bad news is that there is also a high likelihood that it’s your fault anyways.