Dear Ken Keller,
The year is almost over and I am ready to make some changes in my business so that the company and all of its employees have a better year in 2017.
I want the company to grow, and I want to give raises and help people meet their personal and professional goals. This sounds like a lot of work, but if we can do this, I think it will solidify our team, improve our teamwork and set the stage for a number of good years.
We can use some good news. The past 10 years have not been what we wanted them to be and I think we are overdue for some success.
Where do I get started? — Jim P.
You have some lofty goals to meet, but it sounds like you are up to the challenges and rewards of growth.
My first question to you: How does your team feel about what you have planned? Have you discussed it with any of them? What comments did you receive? Or, will this be a surprise when everyone returns to work after New Year’s Day?
If this is a team effort, you should include your team members in the process so that they understand what is expected of them, what rewards they will receive and how they can keep track of progress.
I believe that you need to look at this effort from the perspective that you are the head coach and your employees are the players. You have a specific role to play and so do each one of them.
My first suggestion is that you sit down in a quiet place and define what “winning” is for 2017. If it means growing revenue, adding clients, and increasing profits, then you need to clearly define those numbers by day, week, month, quarter and year.
Second, you will need to determine how you will communicate these numbers to your employees, because if you want them to fully commit, they need to know the score at all times.
In other words, what does your company scoreboard look like? People always want to know the score. If you don’t provide it, they won’t be anywhere near as interested as you need them to be to win.
Third, it’s not enough for each employee to be able to see the score. They need to know what they can do, individually, to improve that score. If you do not do these two key things, most of those on your team will become, if they aren’t already, passive spectators watching to see what happens.
Fourth, you need to be able to answer the question that each employee will be asking when you announce this big effort: what’s in it for me?
Your employees are no different than anyone else on the planet. They want to know what they will receive if they lay out the effort and do all that you ask them to do.
Will it be the same rewards you have given them for the last 10 years? Or will it be something more, something that they can be proud of earning, so much so that they will ask you at some point in 2017 what you have in mind for 2018?
That kind of enthusiasm cannot be bought. You want to coach your players to win and winning becomes addictive.
I recommend that you purchase the book, “The Dream Catcher,” by Matthew Kelly. In this business parable, the owner of a struggling company learns how he can get the business results that he wants when he helps his employees achieve their personal dreams.
Finally, a few words about your team members; you may well find that some are more valuable than others, some are playing in the wrong positions and some should probably being playing on another team. As you come to these realizations about your team, make needed changes quickly and without regret.
People want to be on a winning team. Your objective as the coach is to find the best players possible to win in 2017 and beyond.
Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at [email protected]. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.