Every business has a team. And the quality of your team is the single most important factor that will determine the success of your organization. Your product and marketing are all important, but it is your team that executes your company’s vision and purpose on a daily basis.
The question for the business owner or leader is whether or not they are functioning as a “competitive advantage” or just “doing the work”?
In today’s challenging marketplace, it is critical that business owners look for and use every competitive advantage they can. In many cases, the “team” does not get the attention it deserves.
A basic fact of business is that your team, in almost every case, is your primary point of contact with your customers. If your team performs badly, your customers vote with their feet and go elsewhere. That’s a bad thing. Conversely, if you team performs well on a consistent basis, your customers buy more often and refer others to you. This is a good thing.
Clearly, you want to have more good things and avoid at all costs the bad things. So how do you as the leader accomplish this?
- As the leader, it is your responsibility to set expectations as to how you want your team to be selected, developed, utilized, measured and rewarded. You need to set, define and communicate your people strategy for your management team to follow. You set the “people culture” for your organization so that your team gives you a competitive advantage in the eyes and minds of your customers.
- Get out there and make a committed effort to get to know your employees and to give them the opportunity to get to know you. Show a genuine interest in what they are doing. Solicit their feedback on what can be done to improve the way the work is done. Explain your values and your vision. And most importantly, listen. Your team wants to see and get to know their leader. By putting yourself out there you are helping to gain and earn their trust. And as that happens, not only will they see you, they will want to follow you.
Wanting your team to give you a “competitive advantage” will not take place by accident or by the flip of a switch. It’s a process that takes time and your commitment. It must start and end with you – your goals, your expectations and your vision.