It’s that time again. The time of year we all look forward to. Lambs leaping; skylarks singing, daffodils dancing and rabbits doing… what rabbits do!
Spring is in the air!
And for many of us that means being overcome by a strange urge to spring clean; to de-clutter and spruce up every area of our home and garden; maybe even to decorate - hoping we’ll keep it that way for twelve months (or twelve days if we have children or pets!).
So, what about your business? Any plans for a makeover?
Maybe you’ve had a successful year. Maybe you’ve worked your socks off and done ok, but you’ve lost a bit of your mojo. Maybe you feel like you’re just repeating the same year over and over; doing good, but not really evolving, not taking that big leap forward
We all know it’s difficult to grow a business and still have a life.
Success undoubtedly means more money, but it can all too often mean less time - sometimes no time, to enjoy it; you’ve heard the expression ‘cash rich but time poor’.
Success means a bigger team, bigger challenges, more sleepless nights.
Success it seems, is not all it’s cracked up to be.
But it could be, if only we took the leap. If only we realised that we had all the right ingredients in our business, to make that leap - to spring forward to success - to be time and cash rich - to have a team that performs brilliantly whether we’re there or not.
We have the money. We have the people. What we don’t have are the systems; they are the springboard to success. And by systems I mean a simple logical repeatable way to do every task in your business. I learned that at McDonald's, where systems run the business and people run the systems.
Get your planning system focused on your destination, develop a plan with your people to take you there, and you have a route map to follow. Create Simple Logical and Repeatable systems, and train your people to use them, and you have a team who can work independently, consistently every day to your high standards. Set up a performance management system that keeps them on track, inspires and motivates them, and you free yourself to work ‘on’ your business, to concentrate on those key elements, like strategy, which will take you to the next level.
As your business grows you cannot sustain managing it as you used to. As your business evolves so you need to evolve as a business owner. Spring is a perfect time for a new start; so are you ready to spring forward?
Do one thing: visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or contact me on email@example.com for more information on how MPL can help.
’You can dream, create, draw and come up with the best ideas in the world, but you need people to help you turn your dreams into reality.’
As business owners, we rightly focus a heck of a lot of attention on our external customers and what we can do to give them a great experience. We can often forget that our people are our customers too, and without them, we can’t provide a great service, or grow a successful business.
We want our team to be full of ‘go-to’ people, leaders and high performers. We want them to support us in our vision, to be loyal to the business, to work hard for us; but what do they want in return?
If you had to choose one thing that has the most positive impact on your team what would it be? ‘Communication?’ ‘Involvement?’ ‘Trust?’ What would you be looking for if you were in their shoes?
Below is a list of the top 20 answers to the question, ‘What makes you feel valued at work?’
Take 5 minutes now to think about how your team would rate your ‘delivery’ in each of these areas, and rate yourself from 1-5 (1=unsatisfactory, 2=needs improvement, 3=satisfactory, 4=good, 5=excellent)
How did you do?
Are there a few there that might get rated ‘needs improvement’ or ‘unsatisfactory’? How would you say that affects your people’s performance or your reputation as an employer?
If you’re unhappy with the results, there is no better time to act than now, because as Walt Disney said,
‘You can dream, create, draw and come up with the best ideas in the world, but you need people to help you turn your dreams into reality.’
Value your people, turn YOUR dreams into reality.
Do one thing: We've created a questionnaire for your team members ready to use and a ‘How to' guide of how to use it (please download below).
If you do use it we'd welcome any feedback about how it went and any improvements we can make.
If you feel on a roll our Business Efficiency Test will give you further insight into how each of the key systems in your business is operating - including your customer experience system - and will give you strategies for improving them in a pdf report. Take the test now, to see how you measure up.
As a business owner you know that a high-performing team is essential for a successful business. But how do you start building a team from the group of individuals who currently work for you with all of their different personalities and egos? Any of these sound familiar?
Of course we’re all different - we all have different strengths and different experience, so what can you do, as the leader, to get all of these people to gel as a team?
Well, you can start by viewing individual personality traits in a positive way, and playing to strengths:
But if you’re serious about building a High Performing Team, then here are my top 10 tips:
‘The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.’ - Phil Jackson
Do one thing: Take a close look at your team, and use our checklist to see how you fare.
And if you or a manager in your business could use some help then check out our MPL ‘Managers' Development Programme.’ Our structured 6-month online programme is aimed at developing the mindset and the skill set of business owners and their managers.
Details and testimonials here:
Thanks for reading.
’Development can help great people be even better - but if you have a pound to spend, spend 70p getting the right person in the door.’
In a recent blog I recommended having your ‘aces in their places’ when it comes to peopling your customer journey. And conversely there will be times when you need to part company with someone who, despite yours and perhaps their best efforts, isn’t improving. In these cases the sooner you realise they’re not the right fit and have an honest conversation with them, the better for both of you.
I’m sure we all know people who’ve had a career change who said, ‘Blimey, wish I’d done this years ago’.
The truth is though, that while effective performance management is easier if you’re giving informal feedback throughout the year, it’s much, much easier if you’ve recruited the right person for you and your business in the first place.
So what do I mean by the right person for you?
I mean the person whose values match your own; who has all of the personal attributes that will see them easily fit into the way you and your team work; their work ethic, their energy, their positive view of life - that sort of thing. Their CV will only tell you what they have experience of, not how they did it, or whether they were any good at it.
Of course, if you’re going to hire to your values, then you have to be really clear about what they are, and that brings me back to two of the most important questions for any business owner to be able to answer:
1. Where are you going?
2. What do you stand for?
If you picked up a pen and paper now to jot down your values, what would you write? Integrity? A passion for Customer service? Continuous learning? Consistency? Having fun…?
And how do those values show up in your business? How do you demonstrate through your every day actions that these are your values? How obvious are they to your team, and what about to your customers?
Once you’re really clear about what you stand for, your values, then you can use them to recruit the right people; the people who stand for the same things.
So, if your core value is integrity and passion for Customers, you won’t want to hire a salesperson who focuses on getting a sale at all costs. If you’re all about making business fun, then you’re not going to take on someone who struggles to find their personality every morning. You get my drift.
A great way to get the right people to interview is to put together a job description that shares the following three pieces of information:
You want this person to fit into your team and hit the ground running, so it’s vital that they know in advance what that means, whether they can see themselves in the portrait you’ve given them. It’s not about hiring Mini Me – you may be an ideas person needing to hire a detail person, for example – it’s about being a good match. Hiring and training cost a lot of money, and you want to get it right first time.
Yes, of course, you’ll have a probation period, but you really don’t want to have to let someone go because you didn’t suss out up front that they didn’t share your values, or that they don’t have the right skills, and then pay to go through the whole process again.
The world is full of businesses who have the ‘wrong’ employees – people with the wrong skills, the wrong values, the wrong attitude, for the business they are in.
I don’t know much about Paul Russell, but he was right on the mark when he said,
‘Development can help great people be even better - but if I had a dollar to spend, I'd spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.’
Do one thing: Review your hiring system and ask, ‘Am I hiring to my values?
In my business I often come across managers with one thing in common; they are flying by the seat of their pants! People who are ‘accidental managers’. You know, the great team member who is plucked from their team and given a management role or the talented business owner who finds themselves managing people as their business grows. They have little or no training or development and rely on what they’ve learned along the way from managers around them, good or bad. And if you need a great management role model, we can learn some really crucial lessons from Ole at Man Utd.
Lesson 1 - Nurture your Culture
Many clients say to me, ‘I really want to improve the culture of my business. I want to get it right.’ So what can we learn from Ole? First of all, he had a really clear idea of what he wanted the culture of Man U to be. The thing with culture is that it starts with values; it starts with the values of the person at the top. Ole clearly is a man who has strong values, a really clear idea of how he wants to operate. And how quickly did he get those players to buy in. Despite the massive egos and the big superstar baggage everyone came on board.
It’s always easier to instil a culture from scratch than turn an existing one around. Yet that’s just what he did in a remarkably short space of time.
So great first lesson, nurture the culture you want to build. Think about your values; what do you stand for? Then act them every day.
Lesson 2 - Build Unity
Prior to Ole it seemed to be ‘the staff and the players’ or at least ‘the manager and the players’. You only had to look at the body language and eye contact, or lack of it. This was reinforced by the manager’s public criticism of his players and team selection. Then the rumour mill started about bust ups and personality clashes. Ole immediately started to build unity in his language and actions;
it’s always, ‘We, the team,’ ‘We, the squad,’ ‘We, the club’. I absolutely love that he’s brilliant at sharing praise, shouldering blame and reinforcing the positives. Just look at the individuals within that team and how well he brought them together and instilled ‘we are one team; we are united.’
So the second lesson is unity. Make your business one team.
Lesson 3 - Inspire and Motivate
One of the common questions I get asked by people on our Managers’ Development Programme is, ’What's the difference between a manager and leader?’
There'll be books written on how managers are the logistic experts, they keep things ticking along. A big part of a management role is making sure that the attention to detail is there, that mistakes aren’t made and if they are, that they're learned from and so on.
But these days in any business, you have to be a leader as well. You have to inspire and motivate the team, and modest as his media persona is, Ole is clearly a very inspiring and motivating guy. He didn't immediately crack the whip. I’ll bet when he first met with the squad, he took them into a room and shared his vision of what it was like to be a Man U player and how privileged they were to wear the shirt. That would be his style.
That is something I find that a lot of managers and business owners miss. They miss sharing their vision. ‘Where is this all headed? Where are we all going together as a team and why?’ He inspired and motivated them so well.
He clearly showed them how much he believed in them, and as a result, they believed in themselves. He’s also been great at supporting those who were having a hard time. Look at the difference in confidence in young Rashford who played with his eyes on the ground unable to hit a barn door and then look at the difference under Ole, confidence and self-belief is oozing from his pores. Yes, he recognised this was crucial for success but also just because this was in line with his values, that he would look after his people. He would keep each individual feeling confident and part of the team.
He also treated them like adults. Sometimes, particularly new/young managers feel their role is to be the boss, to talk at people, to tell them what to do. When you have adults or adult conversations with people in your team, when you give them the training and development and support that they need, when you really believe in them and remember that you have a responsibility to help them to fulfil their potential, that's when you get your team to take ownership. That's when people start to step up and go, ‘All right. I'm responsible for this. This is my job.’ And you can see that now at United, the team are taking ownership. They are taking responsibility, and they’re acting like adults.
Third lesson - look to inspire and motivate your team to build ownership and belief.
Lesson 4 - Have fun!
It’s become obvious over the last few months that Man U players are enjoying their football again. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off them and they’re playing with the swagger of teams of old. And Ole himself is chilled and smiling, setting the tone.
We are lucky with what we do, a lot of us, and why not have fun doing it? Why not encourage our teams to have fun? People are at work for so many hours of the day, it's part of our responsibility as managers to help people enjoy it, not dread coming into work and be managed by us.
Fourth lesson - create an enjoyable workplace. This goes back to culture and values as well.
Lesson 5 - Learn, learn, and then learn some more!
The final thing that I really wanted to bring up as a lesson from Ole is his desire to learn, his desire to be the best possible manager he can be. And one of the things that stops us learning is our ego. Not for Ole. Instead of Alex Ferguson being the ghost of Christmas past or the old guys in the balcony criticising their fellow Muppets, Ole’s got him in giving talks to the players. He’s brought back Mike Phelan, Utd through and through and gaining from his years of ‘been there, done that’. And you get the impression that Ole is like a sponge soaking up knowledge and experience so he can do the best for the club, the fans and the players.
That's really what I want for each of you. I want you to be the best possible people managers that you can be; the best leaders. So think about the lessons from Ole. Think about your values and your culture. Think about how you can create unity in your team. Think about the development and support that you're giving, not to the team as a whole, not just to the stars, but to every single individual, however minor their role is in the team.
Think about how much you're inspiring and motivating the team who work with you. Think about how you're going to become a better manager, a better leader; what you need to do and the skills you need to develop. Explore where you can learn the lessons you need to learn to keep improving, keep developing, and be the best manager that you can be.
Fifth lesson - keep on learning.
Do one thing: do your team members know how you started and where you’re heading? If not, start by sharing with them the story of your business.
And if you or a manager in your business could use some help then check out our MPL ‘Managers' Development Programme’. Our structured 6-month online programme is aimed at developing the mindset and the skill set of business owners and their managers.
Details and testimonials here:
Thanks for reading.
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)