Is your business ready to compete at the highest level? Do your employees work well together and execute your game plan? These ideas are front and center as we enter the time of the year when NFL teams are in their summer training camps, preparing for the upcoming season. A great deal of time is spent preparing the team, including physical training, reviewing the playbook and learning to work together as a cohesive unit. What can you do to ensure that your team is ready? Here are a few smart ideas:
1) Annual Strategy Review: Do your employees know how you plan to succeed? We would conduct meetings every year with smaller groups of employees (10-15) to review our strategy for the upcoming year. We took the time to thoughtfully explain our goals and objectives – and answered any questions that they had. A key item was WII-FM (“What’s In It For Me”). Just like a football team, every one needs to understand that they play an important and integral role in your success.
2) Monthly Team Meetings: Do your folks know the score? We would have monthly meetings with all employees (including 2nd and 3rd shifts) to review our progress vs. goals, any new updates and emerging customer or competitive information. We would also review key performance metrics (quality, on-time shipping, order entry, production yields, units shipped) so that everyone knew our team’s performance.
3) Employee Status Updates: Does every team member know how they are doing? Every manager would review with their direct reports the status vs. individual goals on a regular basis (quarterly at a minimum). Our objective was that there would not be any surprises at an annual review. Every employee should know how they are doing – and if they need to step up their performance.
4) Training Sessions: Do your folks know the playbook? An extremely important component, which can be broken out into several areas, depending on your business. This includes sessions on: a) new products/services; b) on-boarding new employees; c) emergency response – fire drills, related safety training; d) new processes/ skills (Six Sigma, Lean, and technical skills).
5) Electronic Communications: Targeted emails/newsletters can be useful tools to keep employees’ families, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders up-to-date on important information. You want everyone to celebrate and share in the success of your team.
Preparing your team to succeed is an important aspect of leadership. These are a few ideas to start the conversation. How do you get your team ready?