Developing a strong team

Whether you are leading a team at work or at your voluntary organization, you already know that the success of that team depends on having a strong team morale. As different people have different point of views, different talents and different backgrounds, it is up to the team leader to create an atmosphere where differences are not only accepted but also embraced. So how do we create this atmosphere?

Having a common vision
The first step in developing a stronger team is having a strong, inspiring common vision. This can be the organizations missions statement, or a mission specially developed by your team. If you choose to develop a team vision, make sure you include each team member in the process, as this will create ownership.

The common vision will be a strong fundament for team members on which they can excel as a team in achieving the goals.

Knowing the roles
A few years ago the Harris polling group did a research on what makes team effective. One of their findings was that of those surveyed, only 19% stated that they know exactly what their role was in the success of the organization. And even when team members know what their tasks are, they will feel less passionate if they don’t realize the importance of their role or the added value that they bring into the team.

As a team leader; clearly establishing the roles, communicating them and getting your team members to buy into them, is one of your major tasks to ensure team success.

Embracing differences
Once you have established clear ideas and expectations of the each team member’s role, and every team member has bought into it, next thing to work on is to create the atmosphere where differences are appreciated and respected. As not all men are alike, might it be in ethnical or sociological background, education or just in the talents they possess, team members must realize that it are the differences that create the competitive advantage for the team.

In fact, nowadays there are so many examples to show that teams with more diversity often achieve better results than others.

Clear communication
Communication is the key to success. Stronger yet, the lack of it can be the reason for teams to fail. As a team, set clear expectations and rules for how you communicate. Communication guidelines should ensure that there is clear and concise communication, both verbal and written. Team members must feel confident and safe enough to address any issue as quickly and honestly as possible. If necessary, get a professional communication trainer or coach to help develop better communication skills and a better team communication.

Lead by example
The days where the leader stood aside screaming out orders are long gone. For a leader to be effective and to ensure you get everyone teamed up to achieve goals, you need to set a clear example. Team members need to see that you are one of them and that your contribution to the team’s success is as much as theirs.

If beating deadlines is important, make sure you beat yours. If you expect your team members never to withhold relevant information from you, don’t withhold information from them.

Once you’ve set the right environment for your people to work together as an effective and efficient team, success will be inevitable. Taking up the role as an exemplary, serving leader will keep the success of your team lasting for a long time.

Check out this video for some nice insights about teamwork and collaboration from the 2009 Cisco CEO, John Chambers.

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Communicating about business failure

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One of the hardest things to talk about is business failure. When your company is performing and you’re getting the results you want, it’s no problem to tell people about how you’re doing. But when things go sour, and you get trapped in that downward spiral it gets very hard to share that. For most business owners the failure of their business is a very hard slap in the face and some have a lot of trouble getting over it.

While talking about the failure might seem counterproductive and seems to portrait you as a wastrel, communicating about it with your most important stakeholders is very important and might even help you get through it and on your feet again.

Communicating with your family and close relatives
If you have a family, they should be the first one to know what’s going on. In fact, they should be informed from the moment you sense that things are going wrong. Discuss the situation with your spouse and talk about what steps you could be taking to prevent losing to much. If you have children, explain the situation. Exactly when it comes to a situation where you will have to cut on expenses, it will help if they know why that’s happening.

If you have close relatives you trust and of whom you know that they can provide you some assistance (financially or morally), talk to them.

Communicating with business partners
Creditors can be the greatest source of your worries. They delivered their services or products to you and are expecting to be paid.  Because of the situation, it might be difficult for you to pay your outstanding bills. This can be a very embarrassing and stressing situation.

When this is the case, make sure to talk to your creditors as soon as possible. Ask for the possibility to pay in installments or to postpone payment. Offer clear solutions so your creditors know what to expect.

Don’t forget to inform all your business partners, explaining that you might be unavailable for business. You don’t want people to wait for products or services you cannot deliver.

Communicating with your customers
While you don’t have to provide all information to your customers, inform them that you will not be able to continue your services. If you have outstanding work, search for ways to delegate it to another provider, so your customer can still get what he was looking for. The last thing you want is an angry client filing a lawsuit against you for not delivering what you promised.

Being an entrepreneur means taking risks.  Taking risks means sometimes you succeed, sometime you fail. And when you fail, absorb the experience and learn from it. Once you are able to take out the lessons you get out of your business failure, you might have the opportunity to work on your next business venture. One that will bring you the entrepreneurial success you are aiming for.

Marciano S. Lie A Young
http://www.marcianolieayoung.com
http://www.twitter.com/marcianolie

Keeping talent in your company

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If you have been doing a good job hiring the right employees you definitely have some real talents in your company who provide a lot of added value to your company every day. Knowing what they’re worth, you would probably like to do everything possible to keep them in your company. To effectively do so, you will first need to know why they work for you at the first place.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons people work for a company, maybe you will find some of the reasons why your talented employees are still hanging around.

Appreciation
Everyone loves to be appreciated. At work, at home, within the community. In companies we can show our appreciation by the salaries and bonuses we pay, but most of all by the way we treat our employees.

Meaningfulness
Talented people often have a strong sense of wanting to be part of something big. Whether is that big project, your company expansion or the growth of your annual sales. They want to see that their input matters and contributes to the bigger picture.

Sharing success
Your will make proud employees if you share the companies successes with them. I once had a client who treated all the employees with ice cream whenever they landed a big contract. This is not about the ice cream but about the gesture. In this way you show your appreciation and you acknowledge their part in the success your company has achieved.

Development
No one is too old to learn something new. Or too smart. Not even your most talented employee. By providing development opportunities to your employees you help them in reaching personal goals. Also, the smarter and better trained your employees are, the better results you will achieve on the long term.

Autonomy
Talented employee enjoy one thing the most; having the autonomy to take decisions without having to run to their manager every time. As a manager you should learn to appreciate the hidden treasures that autonomy brings into play; like creative problem-solving, leadership and management skills.

Relations
How do your employees work together? Do they appreciate each other’s work, are they perfectly aligned, is your company one happy family?  How much energy to you spend in creating a warm atmosphere in your company? If you are able to create a strong sense of belonging, employees will be less inclined to leave, because it will feel like leaving behind family.

So what’s your role as manager?
If you want to keep the talent in your company, it’s your job to do what it takes to keep everyone happy and make sure they’re having fun.

Develop a strategy that focuses on appreciating your employees, meaningfulness, sharing success, employee development, delegated autonomy and creating warm relations within the company. In this way your employees will think twice before wanting to leave your company and together you will build on more success for your employee, your company and of course for yourself.

 

Marciano S. Lie A Young
http://www.marcianolieayoung.com
http://www.twitter.com/marcianolie

Excellent Customer Service – An Attitude not a Department!

Customer-Service

The customer is always right; that the first rule of any successful business! The goal of a prosperous dealing is to provide a customer service which is not only the finest but also remarkable.
Customers are the lifeblood of any organization. A good customer is an assurance of a good business done and understanding your customers whether via phone, email or in person is the hallmark of an excellent service. Good etiquettes and professional skills increase the chances of a satisfied customer and organizations where the customers are not acknowledged lose clients and eventually face business failure. The customer should have reasons to come back to you every time he needs your services.

A business is successful when a company realizes that solving customer’s problems on time is the bottom-line. A good customer service doesn’t need any business to be perfect; it just needs it to act right at the right time. Building goodwill and trust among the customers is the key to more sales and hence more profits, but success is not always about money; it’s about loyal customers and good reputation. Kind words spoken to the customers travel very fast and are worth more than costly advertising strategies!

Business must realize that they are not doing any client a favor by providing them services, but that actually the client is favoring the company by choosing them over other competitors. Satisfied clients will keep coming back and eventually bring referrals just because of the good service that they received. More clients will of course lead to more profits, provided that the service that the company provided is good enough to provide customer satisfaction and create customer loyalty.

Providing excellent customer service is not even a very difficult task, for example offering a glass of water to the customers on a hot day doesn’t cost much but it will create more impact than the thousand dollars ad you’ve placed on the most visited street in town!

Companies that realize they need to put the needs of their customers up front know that this gives them a competitive advantage over companies that don’t. They know that thinking from the perspective of the client and focusing on delivering only high quality services will automatically result in the increase of sales. Since getting new customers is far more expensive than keeping the current ones, spending money on the improvement of customer satisfaction and customer retention is a very small move for any company.

Marciano S. Lie A Young
http://www.marcianolieayoung.com
http://www.twitter.com/marcianolie

Business tips for small business owners

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Walk, don’t run
“Simplicity it the ultimate sophistication”. Words by Leonardo da Vinci, artist and engineer from the 15th century. And Leonardo was right. As a small business owner, when it comes to creating success in your business, simplicity often is the key. Nowadays, in the 21st century where information moves at warp speed and countless opportunities seem to be thrown at your feet you need to take time to consider, reflect and ponder about everything that crosses your path before jumping into hasty decisions. Especially when availability or access funding is not something you have in abundance.

As a business owner you definitely want to see progress and an increase of your bottom-line, but you need to realize that some things take time and that rushing into every opportunities that arises will eventually lead to complication and confusion.

Good is good enough
Delivering outstanding service to our client is what we always aim for. The reason we do this is because we realize that this kind of service generates more sales, thus more profit. Don’t fall into the trap to just focus on customer service alone. Although the customer is king, we cannot always give them what they want. As small business owners we do everything to satisfy the needs of our customers as long as it doesn’t hurt us. After all, were in business to make money and not just help others.

Set goals, measure and track your progress
As with all ventures you want to see progress, growth of your business. Growth can be established in different ways such as in terms of profit, in terms of number of employees or in terms of your customer base. No matter how you want to measure your growth, one thing is inevitable, you will need to set some goals.   Set realistic goals focused on making small, continuous improvements. Track your goals at least on a monthly basis so you know where you’re standing and what you need to do to get better, if necessary.

Make sure to include your team when setting the goals. Research has shown that most of the companies that fail to reach their goals do so because they don’t include their team members when setting goals. When you don’t include the people who have to help you to reach your goals, it will be difficult to get their commitment.

Stay positive
Every business owner has his own stories about the bumpy ride they had on their way to success. There will be problems with suppliers, with clients, with employees maybe even with getting all your bills paid. Just remember that success can never be achieved without overcoming hurdles. When times get bad, try to be the one positive lighting star for everyone in your company. Don’t be afraid of sharing your troubles and explaining to everyone what their role can be to overcome them. Once your team realizes how important their role is, they will do everything possible to keep the show running.

 

Marciano S. Lie A Young
http://www.marcianolieayoung.com
http://www.twitter.com/marcianolie