The young manager sitting in front of me was both frustrated and perplexed. He was enthusiastically committed to getting the best possible results from his team and had been working hard to get them all “on board” with his vision of what was possible in terms of outcomes, both in Sales and Customer Satisfaction. The brand that his franchise was a part of tracked both of these and provided incentives for success in both. He wanted his team to qualify for the incentives and there were additional benefits in terms of their commissions, not to mention the sense of satisfaction and achievement on an individual and team basis.
But something wasn’t working. He just couldn’t get them to consistently deliver on the goals they agreed on.
We talked through the history of his time as a manager. He was younger than most of the team, he had a strong personal success record in the positions that he was now managing and he had been fast-tracked to management by a business owner who had seen his potential & backed him into the rôle. It all sounded good.
The challenge that emerged was that he was so enthusiastic about a variety of projects that he wanted to implement, that he was sending confusing messages to the team. He would communicate his plan for a promotional opportunity or a customer follow-up strategy and his team would respond positively, aligning themselves with his vision of success.
So far; so good!
Then came the tricky part…
Before the team had consolidated their activities and created some results, he would have a new idea. He would enthusiastically tell the team about his new plan and they would adjust their activities accordingly.
Then (you can guess what happens next!), he would have another idea…
Eventually, the team got dispirited by the constant adjustments and changes of direction, so they just stopped trying. They were confused about what they were expected to do, so it was easier to effectively do nothing!
The solution was simple (when you are looking in, from the position of expert external observer that a coach can take!). The manager had to S-L-O-W the flow of new ideas and be patient – allow sufficient time for the team to get aligned to the goals and start creating some results before a new idea, project or strategy was introduced.
Team optimisation requires alignment, of team members with each other and with the goals of their section & of the organisation. Making careful adjustments to increase alignment will generate major improvements in team effectiveness and results. Once everyone is lined-up and things are travelling smoothly, additional changes can be introduced.
(If you would like an initial conversation about a “corporate chiropractic” for your team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0419 940864.)