Ever feel like you’re herding cats at your company?
You know, where you’ve got clear goals but your staff, your team, all seem to have minds of their own and everyone is going in somewhat different directions?
Six months ago, I hired a new account manager for our growing company, someone who could sell ice to eskimos. I’ll call her Sarah.
Sarah clearly had the potential to be a top performer but she seemed to think the whole company existed to serve her. If she was on a call with a client, she’d text other team members during the call and expect them to drop everything and get back to her instantly. Which, if you know anything about time blocking or switch-tasking, was a great way to destroy the efficient work habits our company thrives on.
The problem wasn’t commitment or effort by Sarah. The issue was she was singlehandedly undermining our company, turning our team of experts into her lackeys. At the heart of the problem was that Sarah didn’t see herself as part of a team, but that she was doing her job and everyone else was just slowing her down.
Sound familiar? Ever have an employee who was working in their own world, their own silo, and not in concert with the rest of your team?
What’s the solution?
Coincidentally my wife, an avid rower, had passed on a copy of “The Boys in The Boat,” a book I highly recommend, about the 1936 rowing team from Seattle that went over to Berlin to win the Gold and ruin the day for Hitler. Prior to heading to Germany, the crew had a similar problem. They had a boat full of team players and one person who was always trying to pull his hardest without regard to the rest of the team, which in effect slowed the boat down.
The advice given (and I’d say this applies to your company too) was: to win as a team everyone must put the team’s goals first, not their individual goals. This means working in concert with those around you. And while I know this doesn’t sound like business advice, the secret is to find something to like about everyone on your team.
If you and the rest of the team harbor doubts, don’t like or trust other members of your team, you’ll never pull together and be a winning team. On the other hand, if you enjoy and trust each other, you’ll all be on the same page and get twice as much done in a day.
The other day I asked our director of operations what she liked best about working for our company. Her response was: the people, the work, the flexibility. Whether your company has 4 employees or 40, having a clear focus, clear goals and a team that trusts each other and that enjoys working together you’ll be almost invincible.
Have questions? Ask away!