Thursday, May 31, 2012

Does Teamwork Training Really Work?

A lot of chit-chat goes on at training events about teamwork and the importance of it. We cover teamwork and provide teamwork training during our training events and with small businesses. Unfortunately, there is usually a lot of fluff involved with teamwork training at some events that doesn't really cut the chase of teamwork building at all. Attendees at these events are bored with the same old training modules and often leave them with relief that it is over. What should be covered for businesses interested in providing good teamwork training is the basics of what a team in business should comprise.

First, a team is a collaboration of individuals working toward the same goal or goals. It is really that simple. Why complicate it? It is management's responsibility to make sure that team members are placed on the correct team though. In other words, a business leader should know the personalities of each team member and should understand the dynamics of putting people together who can compliment one another. Using a DISC profile system or one similar to determine each type of personality is extremely helpful and important.

Second, team members can only help to serve as great team members as the extent of their knowledge of their job description. Translated: they have to know what to do. Again, this is the job of the business leader. Communication is so important and includes using common communication tools such as job descriptions, employee handbooks, mission, vision, and purpose statements, and more. This second step must be in place in order to have a smooth running team that works in the same direction toward the same goals.

Finally, teamwork training. Good teamwork training that includes eye-opening team building exercises is needed, and needed frequently. We've all heard that Abe Lincoln is quoted as saying that if he had all day to chop down a tree, he would spend the first half of the day sharpening his axe. Teamwork training and team building exercises is sharpening that axe. Team building exercises should include activities that get all team members involved. It should be a gradual process that makes some members feel just a little uncomfortable. The concept is to get team members that always take charge, (based on their already determined personality or DISC profile), to step aside and allow some of the more quieter types to make things happen, based on the exercise. The goal of this type of training is to get all involved to walk away with a clearer sense of how their role in the business helps to solve a problem or contribute to the greater good of the business.

Don't fear teamwork training. When done properly, it really works!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Employee Engagement

One of the most challenging aspects of people management is keeping all team members engaged. A workforce with employee engagement is obviously more productive than one that is not engaged. Business leaders who make it a priority to make sure they have an engaged workforce reap the rewards of improved morale, increased productivity, a better bottom line, and a more loyal team.

Good softward management systems are available for businesses to use to increase the engagement of employees. Often times, employee engagement is a symptom of other things not being addressed in the workplace such as management and leadership practices, communication breakdowns, poorly conducted performance reviews, monetary and other motivational practices, and more. Smart business leaders keep their team members engaged in their work. The first step to improving employee engagement is understand what employee engagement is and then to begin the process of improving communication between the owners and/or management of the company and the employees. Click Here to learn about how your business can better achieve employee engagement among team members.

Communication begins with making sure that all communication tools such as employee handbooks, job descriptions, and mission, vision, and purpose statements are implemented and communicated to all team members, but business leaders also need a good management system that can provide results. Mass Ingenuity is the answer. They are a consulting and product company that created the NOW Management System, perfect for improving operating effectiveness and efficiency.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Goober's Customer Service Secrets

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen" --- Ernest Hemmingway

George Lindsey, the actor who played the character Goober Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show, died yesterday at the age of 83. His character took over the position of Mayberry's gas station attendant after Gomer Pyle joined the Marines. Lindsey went on to play the same character on the hit show Hee Haw, and in stand-up comedy shows for many years. While loved for his innocence and simplicity, leaders can learn a great deal from how Goober ran his station.

Three Goober traits we can adopt today:

1.) First, Goober never formed an opinion about a person until he really had a chance to know him or her. He always listened, I mean really listened, to what the customer had to say before responding. Of course Goober would listen with his mouth open in child-like anticipation, but he still listened. When we do the same (minus the open mouth), we not only hear what the customers want, need, are complaining about, etc., but we see how they say it. We can witness in their body language more of what they are trying to communicate. Goober could sense what the customer was needing and addressed those needs.

2.) Next, Goober was passionate about fixing the problem. He worked relentlessly trying to get the car running, fix the flat, provide alternative transportation, and anything and everything else that would help to make the customer happy. Goober knew his job and not only wanted to provide satisfaction to his customers, but he would make sure that if he found another problem not addressed by the customer, he would fix that too. He always knew that if the customer was happy, then he and the town of Mayberry were happy.

3.) Finally, Goober knew that he knew when a project was right. His standards were often above the customer's and he stubbornly stood his ground when it came to making a repair or pumping gas. Goober's confidence in his abilities spilled over to the service he provided for his customers. He doggedly worked until the vehicle purred like a kitten even if the customer didn't bring the vehicle in for that kind of treatment. Goober's pride in his workmanship didn't allow for him to cut corners or skip over quality for the sake of quantity. This led him to develop a reputation for being perfectionist and in more than one episode caused Andy Griffith to recommend Goober to a customer as the greatest mechanic around.

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