Your team has valuable experience; allow your team to use those experiences!
Table Of Contents
Engagement Can Start With Getting To Know Your Team, A ‘Thinking Partner’ Can Help!
A thinking partner is essential to leadership; especially when big decisions or important decisions must be made. When bouncing ideas with a thinking partner it boosts many skills, here are a few: communication, motivation, and leadership. These skills are always important in many upper management and leadership roles; Sally is discovering the importance of these skills.
Sally reflected on the questions she asked her coach the last time they met, and the perspectives brought to her attention.
What is on the Horizon (near future) for your team? How will you communicate what is beyond the Horizon in a way that is compelling for your team?
For a review on the Horizon refer to the previous post.
Leaders Use Engagement With Assessment: Get To Know Your Team Individually First
The first point Sally had on her mind was to get to know her team individually. Being new to her position and spending time trying to figure out why customer service reviews were declining over the last 18 months was something Sally thought would be worth investigating and potentially creating a turn-around goal.
Sally decided she wanted to look beyond the Horizon in her department; she wanted to set a new customer service precedence, especially since customer service reviews were down 12 percent over the last 18 months. These numbers affected sales, repeat business, and retention of valued customers not only locally but also decreases the national customer service percentages of their 5 Star organization.
Sally arranged to meet with her five team members individually, she wanted to get to know them personally, and professionally. She also wanted to know their thoughts, feelings, insights of the department and low customer service numbers. What worked in the past, where is the department now, and what caused customer service reviews to plummet?
Team member assessments:
- Outgoing, personable, future focused, likes to maximize his strengths, engage in meaningful conversations and transform plans into forward thinking results.
- Likes to fish.
- What worked in the past? Asking more questions to make sure customer is completely satisfied. Where is the department now? Mistakes are not addressed promptly. What caused customer service reviews to plummet? No supervision, left to figure it out on our own.
- Casual, takes action and get results quickly. Likes options, likes facts, observant, focused on the here and now. Wants specifics, if there is no clarity in the message it stresses her out. Likes to reflect on past and present experiences.
- Likes being around people, loves to socialize and have fun.
- What worked in the past? Had a single point of contact. Where is the department now? No support. What caused customer service reviews to plummet? No supervision for the past 4-6 months.
- Responsible and reliable, when he promises something he keeps his word. Likes doing the right thing; when put in charge of something he executes and gets it done.
- Likes listening to music, running, and reading.
- What worked in the past? Had a single point of contact. Where is the department now? Young and inexperienced. What caused customer service reviews to plummet? No supervision for the 4-6 months; the single point of contact transferred to a different department.
- Strong attachment to known procedures and practices, is meticulous and hard working. Struggles with change and creating time for strategy and creative solutions.
- Likes playing baseball and going to baseball games.
- What worked in the past? Had a single point of contact. Where is the department now? No support. What caused customer service reviews to plummet? No supervision.
- Communication is very important, loves metaphors, likes to speak metaphorically. Organized, task and detail oriented; is a finisher and likes closure.
- Likes cooking, baking and trying new recipes. Likes trying new foods and going to high-end restaurants.
- What worked in the past? Patience with the customer especially when they cannot describe the problem they were having.
- Where is the department now? Mistakes are not addressed promptly. What caused customer service reviews to plummet? No point of contact.
Sally thanked everyone for meeting with her; she took copious notes and on Thursday afternoon Sally called to schedule a meeting with her coach. She had compiled enough information to have a productive meeting with her coach; she was excited to share. The day of the meeting was fast approaching; Sally organized her notes, and she had one question in mind. She was curious to know about the E in the HEART model.
Hi Sally, I am ready to hear what you have accomplished these past two weeks. You look eager to share. Yes, I was able to meet individually with my team members. I wanted to get to know each of them individually and to get their point of view why customer service numbers have dropped over the last 18 months.
Throughout my assessments, I discovered what worked in the past, where the department is now, and what happened that cause the numbers to decline. The consensus for the three questions boils down to the department had a single point of contact. The current team demographics is young and unexperienced, and the team members all agreed there has been no supervision for the 4-6 months; the single point of contact transferred to a different department.
A Leaders Ultimate Goal: Attain A Team Buy-in!
Leaders Use Engagement With Group Consensus
This is good information Sally; might I suggest you now meet with your team as a group and present these ideas to find out what the group consensus is versus individual consensus. Additionally, have you shared what is on the Horizon, if not this is a good time to bring this up as well. Your ultimate goal is to attain team buy-in.
Ah, Sally said as she pondered her next move. She realized there was no team spirit, no team collaboration, no team buy-in of any kind. I have my work cut out for me as there has been no sense of team since the last point of contact left.
I think my first move should be to establish each individual as a team member with roles. A cohesive engaged team is the name of the game right? Just then Sally recalled her coach talking about the acronym HEART the first time they met and she was curious. What is the E in the HEART model?
I am glad you asked Sally; the E is Engage, and leaders use engagement! Remember when you talk to your team, you want to create and establish momentum, it sounds like they are hungry for it. Share what’s on the Horizon and ask them what’s most important; build a community of support where they feel respected. They have experience you are not aware of yet and this is the perfect opportunity for you to engage them.
Sally went to work on reestablishing the team. She scheduled a mandatory team meeting two weeks out to give everyone a chance to get caught up on their current projects. On the day of the team meeting Sally greeted everyone with breakfast, flip charts and colored markers. When they walked in the conference room they were surprised at what they saw; their comments were that of curious energy and enthusiasm.
Once Sally moved past the small talk, she invited everyone to ponder ideas about what is on the Horizon for their team and what would be a good goal to bring customer service review up. She explained; you are part of this team; you bring to the table your own unique experiences and talents. Focus your effort on the one goal that will make the biggest difference.
After four hours of working together as a group, switching tables and working with each member of their team, and sharing ideas, the group presented the following.
- Raise customer service by 10% in the next quarter
- Reestablish professional etiquette in the department and organization
- Reestablish professional communication boundaries
- Establish bottom line up front (BLUF) message delivery, both verbal and written/electronic
In short, the group decided of the three ideas presented, one priority to raise customer service reviews by 10% in the next quarter. By establishing professional etiquette with bottom line up front message delivery, both verbal and written/electronic was important to raise customer service. Sally was pleased the team came to a conclusion they all agreed to work on together. Her next question to the team was, what will this take and how soon are you all willing to start? To her utter amazement everyone on the team said training and now.
Appreciate Your Team’s Experience
Sally said great, let’s do this team! Sally informed them that she will initiate training soon and will get back to them with a date. Sally said, any final comments? Everyone stood up and gave Sally a standing ovation. They were thrilled that she was taking initiative and letting them bring their own experiences to the table. They thanked her for embodying leadership, motivation and inspiration so the team could bring their best effort to the table.
Sally couldn’t wait to talk to her coach about the good news. She knew what the Horizon was and she received buy-in from her team. The reviews she continued to receive throughout the weeks from her team were nothing short of raving reviews and all for letting them bring their true selves to the meeting.
Leaders use engagement! Allow your team to tap into their own experiences and you will be extremely surprised with the outcome! When a team sees their involvement influenced a crucial decision or major development, they feel empowered and motivated!