Achieving success at work takes planning and team buy-in. It is something that is rarely accomplished alone.
If you are only responsible for yourself, then you can do your own goal planning and set up your own systems that will bring your own success.
However, in most places of employment and even volunteer organizations, it takes a team to achieve results and results won’t happen without everyone working together and doing their part to make the whole system productive.
If your team results are less than stellar or even if they are acceptable but you desire improvements, step back and assess what needs to be tweaked or changed to increase sales or productivity or to change anything that is holding your company back from achieving a higher level of success.
First, of all, however, we need to address team buy-in. If you don’t have buy-in from all of the players, it’s unlikely you’re going to get the results you desire.
So, let’s start there…with a meeting to create buy-in.
Are you ready?
Spend time before the meeting preparing so that you have a clear presentation of an overall performance measure that needs to be improved, a timeliness issue or an overall problem that needs to be addressed.
If possible, prior to the group meeting, meet with a particularly influential member of the team and go over changes that need to be made. Let them be your advocate and supporter during the initial meeting. This step is not imperative but it can help, especially if you have naysayers in the group.
During the team meeting, have an open discussion regarding the performance issue that needs to be improved. Allow everyone to share their assessment of the situation. Document all of the suggestions and comments and be willing to compromise on a solution as long as the end result achieves the ultimate goal.
Do you need more sales? Do you need greater output? Has attendance at a yearly event been down? Does timeliness for project completion need to be improved?
Once you determine what needs improvement, then comes the hard part. Your group has to come up with objectives that will improve your outcomes.
Set Clear objectives
Set Clear objectives For What needs to be achieved or improved.
Now that you have everyone on the same page as to what needs to be improved and you’ve determined a few ways to make that happen, it’s time to lay out a few clear objectives as to how you are going to achieve your goal.
If you need more sales, then your salesforce may need to make more sales calls or improve their sales pitch or even learn how to overcome objections. If you need to increase attendance at an event, is the problem with outreach to attract an audience, or does the event center have a transportation or parking issue?
Let’s say you have a problem with timeliness. Perhaps your end result is fine, it’s just not timely. Perhaps employees are working on other things and are consistently waiting until the last part of the quarter to start on a job. Because they are not starting timely, their 90-day projects are taking more like 120 days and customers are complaining!
If this was your scenario, then as a group, you would break down all of the major steps it takes to complete your project from start to finish. Next, you would divide your steps into 3 segments of to do’s to be completed in 30-day chunks so that a third of the project is completed every 30 days. Your objective would be to complete steps 1, 2 3 and 4 on your to-do list in the first 30 days. Then, of course, you would complete steps 5, 6, 7 and 8 during the second phase, and steps 9, 10, 11 and 12 during the last 30 days to bring the project to successful completion in 90 days.
Another easy example might be improving the attendance at an event. Perhaps you determine you need greater outreach. Set up objectives to increase the areas of the city you are targeting. Provide shuttle buses to take attendees to and from the event. Reward those who regularly attend with discounted tickets. Offer door prizes for those in attendance. Offer incentives for those who come as a group like discounts on tickets, refreshments, t-shirts, etc.
As seen in the examples above, each performance issue or project is going to be unique to your business so it’s impossible to give a concrete example for every business dilemma. Take the time to brainstorm with your group to narrow down the problem and create objectives for your unique situations.
Clearly Monitor the Progress
Once you have clearly defined objectives, post a graph, chart, or diagram that can be used to show the progress you are making on your goals.
Post your chart(s) in a highly visible area where all employees can see the results. Make sure your charts are easy to update and are updated regularly preferably after weekly team meetings.
I personally use whiteboards and dry erase markers listing the names of clients going down the left-hand column and the major tasks needed to bring jobs to completion going across the top of the board. We use a color-coding system and each employee’s work is identified by a specific color. At any given time, employees can see the progress they have made toward the completion of their goals.
The same process could be used with a whiteboard and sticky notes in a similar manner shown in the picture above.
Have regularly scheduled Team Meetings
Have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss progress and make course corrections if necessary.
Either during the meeting or immediately after, update the progress on the goalkeeping systems that you are utilizing.
As a leader, recognize those who are making progress and meeting the goal objectives. Encourage everyone to support each other and cheer each other on.
If there are any barriers, discuss ways to eliminate or overcome them.
Continue working on the objective until everyone consistently completes the objectives and the new way of working becomes a habit and it is no longer a problem.
Once that goal is achieved, identify another problem area and work through the process again.
As employees follow through and complete tasks, it is important to recognize each team member who achieves the objectives.
Schedule quarterly recognition celebrations
During times when employees are successfully working through performance issues, recognition for a job well done is imperative.
According to Cutting Edge PR, “Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rise, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.”
Tokens of appreciation can be big or small. Recognition in front of the group and a certificate is often enough to affirm the value of many employees.
However, there are bigger ways to show appreciation depending on your budget. Here are a few:
- Have an after-hours celebration dinner where employees are recognized for their achievements and contributions. Serve all of your employee’s favorite desserts!
- During weekly or monthly meetings, reward employees with gift cards to restaurants or bookstores.
- Once the goal is achieved, take a celebration trip to a movie theater. Go early in the day when there isn’t much traffic. Enjoy the movie, popcorn, candy, and the cushy, heated theater seats. You can also rent out an auditorium if you have the budget to do so, and provide gift cards to cover the cost of the concessions.
- Lunch at a restaurant and a scavenger hunt in a beautiful park is also a great way to reward employees with a day out of the office after successful project completions.
- If your group is adventurous, a trip to an escape room is always fun. Escape rooms can be entertaining and they are a good team-building activity. The object of an escape room is for a team of people to work to uncover clues, work puzzles and solve mysteries until all the clues are put together to solve a final puzzle that results in your escape from the room. They are a lot of fun and require everyone to work together to beat the clock and escape from the locked room.
Gear your recognitions toward what motivates your group to succeed. If you’re unsure how your team would like to be recognized, send out a survey and ask them.
Order supplies online and have them delivered
When working on a major improvement plan, it’s important to make sure team members have the tools they need to do the work that is requested of them. Besides laptops and cell phones, do they have notebooks, new pens, file folders, paper clips, staplers, etc. to do what they need to do?
Everyone loves new office supplies. Order everything that is needed for your project and when it all comes in, make sure the distribution is a celebration.
Below are just a few ideas of colorful, inexpensive supplies that would brighten the office and your employees day!
Expanding File Folders with 5 Pockets Plastic Snap Closure Paper Organizer Document Holder for Office Travel
Sticky Notes 3×3, Bright Colorful Stickies, 12 Pads
Enviroshades 8.5×11.75 Assorted Legal Pad 6/Pack
10 PACK 1 Divider – 2 Inch Tyvek Expansions – 2 Prongs Designed to Organize Standard Office Reports – Letter Size, Blue
Pentel EnerGel Retractable Liquid Gel Pen, Assorted Ink, 8-Pack
Redi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes, Tabbed Lined Note Pad,
Sharpie Liquid Highlighters, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 10 Count
There are many, many other supplies that could be needed for your project.
Ask for help
If anyone gets overwhelmed during the project encourage them to ask for help!
In our last article, we discussed asking for help when needed and that advice applies here as well.
If you need more time to make changes, ask leadership for more time. Ask for guidance and direction as well.
If the process becomes overwhelming, then you may have to ask for help from another program or another team in another area of the state. Usually, people are happy to lend a hand. If others do help, make sure to recognize their contribution and sacrifices. It’s important they know you appreciate them and they will be more willing to assist if you need help in the future.
Allow and Encourage Downtime
Finally, after a huge project, schedule employee vacations. Taking time off helps employees stay healthy and mentally capable of handling job duties in a calm, diplomatic manner. Taking time off is good for business.
There comes a time when our minds and bodies go into overload and it becomes nearly impossible to add more information, more tasks, and more to-dos to your list or your employee’s lists. Vacation time allows your body and mind to heal and to relax so you can go back to work with a clear mind ready to re-engage in work activities.
Let’s Review Everything We Have Learned-
- Step back and assess what needs to be tweaked or changed to increase sales or productivity or to change anything that is holding your company back from achieving a higher level of success.
- Address team buy-in. If you don’t have buy-in from all of the players, it’s unlikely you’re going to get the results you desire.
- Set a few clear objectives for what needs to be achieved.
- Once you have clearly defined objections, post a graph, chart, diagram, or anything that can be used to show the progress you are making on your goals.
- Have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss progress and make course corrections, if necessary.
- During times when employees are successfully working through performance issues, recognition for a job well done is imperative.
- When working on a major improvement plan, it’s important to make sure team members have the tools they need to do the work that is requested of them.
- Encourage employees to ask for help if they need it.
- Lastly, take time off. Vacation time allows your body and mind to heal and to relax so you can be more effective when you return to work.
Let me know in the comments below how you successfully manage to be a working mom?