For those that already have a large workforce – managing, motivating and keeping them performing consistently becomes all consuming and incredibly difficult.
Large companies throw money at this with recruitment agencies, HR departments and external training companies. Small companies cannot afford to implement any of the third party assistance so can they compete? The answer of course is yes, but only if they implement some basic principles and get serious about building a World class team.
TRAINING, MOTIVATION, CONTROL
Building the best work team in the World is no different to building the best sports team in the World and very rarely does money start out as the motivating factor here. Even if we look at the big money sports like Football and in particularly the English Premiere League or indeed the Champions League. Manchester United have been the dominating force for the past 20 years and most of their success has been achieved through great management and young homegrown or young imported talent and they certainly haven’t been the biggest spenders in any particular season.
If we look at what has to be the best football team in the World and possibly the best football team for the past 50 years – Barcelona – the overwhelming secret of their success has been homegrown talent and great management.
Some of the greatest athletes in the World – Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps or Sir Chris Hoy – all came from little or no money, had little or no money whilst reaching the top and with coaches and managers who had little or no money. So who do you get people to perform at this level consistently?
With the 2012 London Olympic Games fast approaching it is worth considering what each of these incredible athletes have had to do in order to be in a position to compete in this very special event. I was lucky enough to prepare and train with athletes from all sports and countries prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1986 Commonwealth Games and all of them have similar journeys, routines and traits.
If we refer back to the Athletes I mentioned earlier Usain Bolt (100 meters), Michael Phelps (Swimming) and Sir Chris Hoy (Cycling) all of these are the very best at what they do and yet they train every single day and sometimes 4 or 5 times each day.
If you then look at your own workforce – how often do they train? Training is so easily overlooked and many company owners believe that they should recruit someone who has experience in the area they need and then let them get on with it. If training does take place it is often a few days or weeks at the start of an employees career and then in at the deep end. If you want a high performing World class team training has to be regular, consistent and part of an overall plan.
Start with recruitment – make a list of all the attributes you want from your employee which should include core skills and the capacity and desire to learn. Then plan your training regime which should include initial skill transference followed by continued role play and practice as well as measured improvement. In order to train your team well ensure you have a process for each skill, break these core skills into sections and then motivate each individual to role play, repeat and improve each section before linking them all together. Offer up different scenarios that could replicate real life and get them to practice each skill under this criteria.
An example of this might be if you had a telesales team that were required to deliver a specific script or sales pitch. First they need to learn the script word perfect and then get them to role play with young customers, old customers, male customers, female customers, different personality types i.e. Dominant, Extrovert etc. The role play all the objections they may come up against and once they know all this inside out get them to train every morning and spot check them throughout the day.
My sport was Judo which originated in Japan and the Japanese name for this type of role play is Uchikomi. I had a particular technique that was my favourite and most potent - I practiced this particular technique at least 500 times every day for over 15 years. Towards the end as you can imagine I was pretty good at this but it didn’t stop me role playing everyday, I would practice this technique left handed, right handed, with one hand, both hands, slow, fast, from different angles, with different sized opponents, with opponents of different strengths etc.
Replicate this sporting model with your workforce and you will very quickly see exceptional results. Often business owners feel they do not have the time for this kind of training and dedication to excellence but consider how much time is wasted correcting mistakes, dealing with unhappy customers or worrying about lost sales. Your employees will feel more comfortable, stable and valued if you implement this kind of training as they feel you are investing in them and in return you will enjoy a level of commitment and loyalty that most companies only dream of.
Finally where training is concerned again follow sporting examples and warm up! every sportsperson or sports team will warm up before every training session and every competition or match. If you want your employees to perform at peak performance every day then ensure they warm up every morning and every afternoon after lunch. Do this with drills and role play. Ask yourself – do you get maximum effort and performance from every one of your employees every day – if not training, warm ups and role play will go a long way to achieving this.
Everybody talks about motivation but very few people really understand what it means and how to implement it. If we again use athletes as our bench mark – it is clear that the vast majority (if not all) of the individuals who will compete in the 2012 Olympics are exceptionally motivated, but motivated by what? It is very rare if they are motivated by early mornings, late nights, exhausting and repetitive training sessions so what makes them do it? It is often a perceived outcome i.e. an Olympic Gold Medal – However to truly understand motivation you need to dig deeper and understand what winning an Olympic Gold Medal will mean to them i.e. is it recognition they seek? is it wealth? is it acceptance? is it family tradition? etc. Your employees are probably note Olympic athletes however they came to work for you for a reason, understand what that reason is and use it to motivate them everyday. Many company owners use incentives as motivation however often (if not used properly) incentives actually become de-motivators. If you put on an incentive for your sales team that the person who sells the most this month wins a prize – the winner may be motivated however the rest of the team are now de-motivated – if no one wins the prize then the whole team has just become de-motivated.
You will often get more success by reminding each team member why they came to work for you in the first place, what they are trying to achieve and training them to help achieve this goal, constantly remind them of their perceived outcome and help them get there. Even if their perceived outcome is to one day leave you and set up their own business – help them achieve this, train and coach them towards this – and whilst they are with you (if in fact they ever leave) you will have and exceptional and loyal employee who will deliver day in and day out.
The role of the company owner or coach is essential where motivation is concerned and it matters not if your employee is better at a particular skill than you. Think of Usain Bolt – none of his coaches could run 100 meters faster than him and yet he meeds them to train and motivate him every day. Sir Alex Ferguson has never been able to play football better than any of his Manchester United players and yet it is he that motivates them during training and for every match.
It is not enough to motivate the whole team or motivate the team and individuals once per week or month. Motivation is a day by day minute by minute exercise, you need to see mood changes and help with this, if an individual comes into work off form help correct this, if they are having a bad day fix this and so on. Whilst I appreciate most company owners do not have enough time to do this consistently, the more you strive towards this or the more you get your managers in tune with this the better your outcomes, sales, production, customers service and profits will be.
Training is like building the right car for the job, Motivation is about consistently putting the right and indeed enough fuel in the tank to get where you want to be. Without the training the car will consistently break and need fixing without Motivation the car will continually run out of fuel, momentum and take much longer to get where you want to be.
Where most small business owners will often attempt some kind of training and some kind of motivation with their team, control is often either exceptional or very poor depending on the personality type of the business owner.
Typically if the business owner is Dominant or Analytical there will be really good checks and controls in place but often at the expense of Training & Motivation whereas if the business owner is Extrovert or Amiable then the checks and controls are often poor but effort is put into motivation.
If Training is equivalent to building the car and Motivation is equivalent to putting fuel in the car, Control is the road map or the satellite navigation system that helps get you where you want to go.
It is essential with any process that you have a clear path to your goals and then you put in place measures, checks and balances to ensure you stay on the right path and identify training and motivational requirements.
Company owners often feel that implementing checks and balances will be off putting to staff members and they will feel they are constantly being watched and measured. in fact the opposite is the case, good staff members want to know that their efforts are being noticed, they like to know they have reached the desired outcomes with their work, they like the satisfaction of knowing they have completed their allotted tasks well, ahead of schedule or better than budget. Without controls in place they feel dissatisfied that no one see’s the outcome of their efforts and soon stop putting the effort in. Staff members rarely ask for help and so controls identify that they need training in certain areas or motivation on certain days without this staff often leave because they feel lost and out of their depth, with this they feel supported and will show loyalty and become long term advocates of you and your company.
WHO MOTIVATES THE MOTIVATOR?
Whilst it is essential to implement Training, Motivation and Control for your team who does this for you? It is important that you have the same disciplines in place for yourself as well as your team members. Constantly revisit your business plan, budgets and training programmes. Have checks and balances in place that measure how much ahead or behind you are on a daily basis. Train yourself by constantly reading up on your subject and keeping up to speed with your competitors, industry news, product progression and customer requirements (no excuse now with the internet and products like Google reader).
Motivate yourself by looking at and reading about other business leaders, motivational characters and keep reminding yourself everyday why you are doing what you are doing – WHAT IS YOUR PERCEIVED OUTCOME??