Monday, May 9, 2011

If They're Not With Us, They're Against Us

There is a lot of "team player" talk from management gurus and consultants like me. Our intent is to get everyone on board and believing the mission statement and living the vision statement. While the phrase leans too much toward a generality and is becoming one of those overused, outmoded phrases in the same vein as "at the end of the day," and "no news is good news," (particularly when used during performance reviews), the concept is vital to the success of your business.

Having employees on the team and really playing their part on the team, is crucial to business success. Most businesses can't afford the luxury of leaving a bench warmer on the team just because he is a nice guy or she is the relative of one of the owners. As painful as it is, and being a business leader has its painful moments, the non-performers must go.

Determining to make every member of your organization a true team player starts with a good delivery of the team's mission.

"We want passion for our business.. workers who can interpret and execute our mission, who want to build a career, not just take a temporary job." --- Howard Schultz

If you have clearly communicated the direction of the business, and continue to make that communication a daily priority, you'll either have devoted team members, or those who are not devoted. The decision then is simple: get rid of the un-devoted!

Employees answered a call when you were hiring for your business. They saw a fit and an opportunity to earn money, advance in their career, fulfill a calling, and a half dozen other reasons. They depend on your leadership to continually reinforce the reason for the business and how their position contributes to that reason.

There are three things that you can begin doing this week to either improve on or validate the reasons for your team members to be a part of your team:

1.) Dust off your mission statement (or write one today if you don't have one!) and either through company face-to-face meeting (preferred), or electronic communication, explain what that mission statement means and how it is one of the driving forces the propels the business.

2.) Do the same with the vision statement, but in this case, create a committee of employees to assist with developing the vision statement. Have the committee get input from all stakeholders including customers and vendors. Make it a company-wide creation so that everyone owns it.

3.) Come up with a company slogan that can be easily memorized. Make it a contest to come up with the best slogan. The winner gets dinner for two someplace nice or some other worthy award. Print bumper stickers or have coffee mugs made up with the slogan. Make the slogan have a meaning that incorporates both the mission and vision statements and what the organization is all about.

Get at least these three things started and watch a team concept develop. You'll begin to see cohesion and individual ownership take place. Yes, you'll still have non-players, but they will become easier to recognize. You're not getting rid of the ones who didn't participate in your slogan rally or statement creations, but the ones who don't believe in the direction of the business.

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