Generally at this time of year, pockets of the business world seem to find every excuse possible to slow down, change gears, forget about team building and spend the summer holiday period chilling out, whether you actually take a break from the office or not.
The reason I have taken to writing this blog, sitting on a picnic bench, in my local park, is to emphasise the point that to build your team and help them perform better doesn’t mean that you always need to have them, in one place, at the same time and in one location.
Visibility and “Attendeeism” (the art of your manager clocking you in the office and thinking you must be working because you are there) is a short-sighted theory when it comes to building your own team to deliver extra value for your organisation. This viewpoint has little benefit when trying to increase employee engagement, empower your leaders and ultimately increasing your business performance.
The trick at this time of year is to get ahead of the game and use this period effectively when people aren’t about. We can easily outperform others who are just coasting and their favourite phrase is “I will have to wait till everyone else comes back from holiday”. By having a simple strategy and plan to develop our key relationships with our teams during this time, gives us a massive advantage over others in the workplace.
We can also use this time to strengthen key relationships and iron out any interpersonal issues that we may have during “Term Time” and when the business is in full flow.
Business performance should ultimately be at the forefront of any Leaders mind; however, we can only increase the performance of our businesses when we effectively engage and develop our teams. The same teams that support us through the good and the tough times.
Over the last five years and at a Senior level in the corporate world, I made a conscious effort not to waste the summer period as “down time” and when people started disappearing on their well earnt breaks with the friends and families, I set to work on strengthening my team as I carried out some “Routine Team Building Maintenance”.
At the end of the day, I could get into work quicker, because of less traffic, I wasn’t constantly in overwhelm because the Email torrent had slowed right down and people were generally less stressed and happier. Agreed, there wasn’t as much work being produced, but I took the approach as it was like an athlete getting ready for the race. The race that started when the boss comes back on September 1st.
Many successful leaders and businesses take their inspiration and motivation from other Leaders and normally ones that dare to go the other way. You know, the ones that try something new rather than conforming with the norm and status quo.
Just think about some of the most amazing products and services that we have available to us today. Apple, Uber, Tesla and even Amazon are crushing it from a customer services point of view, all because the business model is slightly tilted away from the “Norm”
If your overall business has a strategy to operate, then let’s think about what you could achieve if as an individual if you had your own strategy as well. It’s time to do something different.
You actually have nothing to lose No one is actually going to know what you are doing anyway. (Unless you print this blog out, highlight sections and leave it on your desk!)
So here we go, my three Innovate to Success Golden Nuggets on How to build a High Performing team while they are on holiday.
Reflect, Reset and Refresh your targets.
First of all, let’s take an inward look at exactly how this year is panning out for you. Get your IPR (individual Performance Review) and check your main targets and assess yourself on how you are doing and how well you have cascaded these targets through to your team.
Then start to think about how the individual team members are contributing to those targets. Make notes and if necessary pick a quiet time to have an adhoc coaching session with them to address any issues.
Don’t make it official and get all the paperwork out, just have a chat, be human and see if you can get some additional information that you may not have already known on why something might not be working. You will be amazed what you will find out.
Refresh your Team Meetings.
Take this time to also review how you are communicating with your team and more importantly the essential “Team Meeting”.
Have a look at what others are doing around your organisation and what is working well. Test out a few concepts with a small number of people and see what they think. When you get low attendance at your meetings (due to people being on holiday) then this is a good time for a natural break and reset the format.
When they come back and are raring to go, you can explain to them about the next “Big Push” up to Christmas. This will naturally motivate your team to deliver more as they will see that you are in control and you have a plan.
Ask at the meeting “What can we do as a team to deliver greater results/make more sales/build more network etc, etc. Let them have their say and let THEM talk.
Another tactic is to rotate the chair of the meeting amongst your team. This will scare some and motivate others so be careful that you support individuals in moderation.
Check the Wellbeing of your team.
Finally, and most importantly, check the Wellbeing of your team. There has been a great deal of publicity of Wellbeing and Mental Health recently and if we want to be strong all-round leaders, then we need to ensure that we are self-aware enough to know when things just aren’t alright with our team members.
The easiest way to identify if anything is wrong, is spotting changes in their body language. If you notice that their tone of voice is lower and less energetic that normal or if their posture and demeanour is not as assertive as normal, then make a point to enquire if they are OK.
In my experience, I have always asked others if “Everything is OK” rather than asking if anything is “Wrong”. It’s just more caring and more positive.
An additional tip is to take advantage while meeting attendance is potentially low. You could hold a more engaging and intimate style of meeting where you share some events that are going on in your personal life, for example. This helps you build that important rapport.
Business at the end of the day is about reverse engineering. If we want happy customers that repeatedly buy from us that “know like and trust us”, then we need to have High Performing Teams that also share those values.
More importantly we need a plan to ensure our business success.
Making sure that your personal KPI’s, targets and objectives are effectively cascaded down through your teams (and I mean properly) is a great way of ensuring your success in Business. I see this so many times overlooked and it is so key.
So, let’s use this time during the summer period, to get ahead of the game, get prepared and rather sit back and relax.
Let’s commit to be our best in business.
I hope you have a great day.