Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 2

Last week we covered Points 1 – 6, so this week we will outline a few more strategies for developing your staff:

7. Assess Their Commitment To Your Business’ Goals

This is an “imprecise measure,” but what you are looking for at this stage in the assessment process is an indication as to whether this person is a “committed” or a “renegade”.

The committed are “joiners”; they like other people; they like working with others, collaborating and teaming to build projects larger than they can handle alone. They look for causes to join, visions to buy into, and goals to meet.

Renegades are “users”; they intend to use the business, its resources and the position almost solely for their own ends. Sure, they will “do the work” – they may even be highly productive – but they tend to view their work as the product of their efforts alone (or at least see themselves alone as deserving of credit for any results to which they contribute). The often have a poor opinion of the others in their crew, and seldom step out to lift, grow or assist others – unless there is a clear pay-off involved.

A simple test for this factor is to ask questions that explore about how they feel or felt about their last or previous positions. renegades tend to give the game away with comments that display arrogance, ego, negativity and lack of respect for others. Committed generally convey a positive account of their experience.

8. Clearly Convey Your Core Concepts

If you want someone to give more than their physical presence and base labor to your business, you are going to have to sell them your Vision for the business (the “picture of perfection” towards which you are striving; your Mission (the path you are following to achieve that Vision); your Values (the boundaries of behavior along that path); your Goals (the milestones on the path; dated measures of performance); and your Code of Conduct (the way we treat each other, our Customers, and the assets of the business).

When it comes to your Core Concepts, don’t make the mistake that many larger corporations make in spending huge resources on having a expert in semantics design great sounding concepts; having an artist render them under glass and hang them in the boardroom and reception area; and then never looking at or talking about them again – except to quote them in their Annual Report.

Your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct should be wound into the daily fabric of your business and the lives of those who make it work.

When you go out into the labor market seeking new team members, you need to carry these Core Concepts with you both as a beacon (to attract those who resonate to them) and as a touchstone (against which to test each candidate’s personal core concepts for alignment with your own).

It’s going to be a lot easier and less costly to incorporate someone into the team whose core concepts already resonate with your own.

9. Craft A Powerful Investment Process

When you bring any new team member on board, you are faced with an inevitable investment of time and resources so as to enable them to come up to speed and meet your performance requirements as quickly as possible. So why not convey this process – explicitly – as the beginnings of your on-going “Investment in Them”?

Their first month or so on the job will set a tone that is likely to persist, so invest the time and thought required to design an excellent process – a system – that provides each new team member with:
• A clear understanding of our “Investing in You” philosophy.
• A detailed Job Description and/or Contract that is framed around results and outcomes, rather than activities and tasks, detailing all performance requirements, assessment processes, and any rewards associated with those.
• A clear statement of your termination process.
• An Organization Chart that clearly depicts the formal lines of communication, support and command and their position, responsibilities and authority within that structure.
• An introduction to and (actual, verbal) discussion about your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct – and a written copy to which to refer thereafter.
• A Team Member Guide introducing each member with a self-written thumbnail sketch, to speed the development of relationships and integration into the team.
• Statutory materials – OH&S guidelines, employment matters, etc.
• Position-related information (i.e., for a salesperson, this would include background on key account clients)
• A duplicated sign-off receipt that verifies that all of this material has been received by, and explained to, your new recruit.
Consider your responsibility for, and the benefits of, creating and managing a social process that quickly folds new recruits into the team and promotes the relationship building essential to high productivity and staff longevity.

10. Design A Performance Assessment & Recognition Process

When staff are asked, “Is your boss happy with your performance?”, too often the reply is, “He must be; he hasn’t fired me yet!”

Is this level of feedback likely to promote top performance among team members? Or could it be done better?

There are two key points to any assessment and recognition process: The period of assessment should be agreed and honored (how many bosses do you know who keep putting off periodic performance reviews?); and the assessment criteria must be transparent, mutually-agreed between the parties (at the outset! – no point trying to change the rules mid-game) and as objective as possible.

The best way to achieve transparency is to agree on one or more objective measures of performance; for a sales person, that may be sales revenue or gross profit per period; for administration staff it may be a maximum turn around time for quotations, or the timely filing of tax or other regulatory returns. Whatever the measure, it should be directly related to the results required of the position, and progress towards it should be regularly discernible by all parties (that is, the assessed person should not find out the result during the assessment, but should have been progressively aware of their performance throughout the period of assessment).

One important factor in creating an effective review process is the frame of mind in which it is administered! If, in the understanding of the parties, the assessment is to determine “whether they have failed or not”, the process will be cast in a negative light – and will probably be avoided by all parties as well!

If, on the other hand, the assessment process is seen as part of the team member’s personal and professional development (a sort of periodic look from which their next course of support and development will be planned) it will more likely be viewed in a much more positive light – and be carried out!

So how are you doing so far? Hopefully, you see the merit of the approach. More next time.

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© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

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