Monthly Archives: May 2021

Why team development is important

why team development is importantSo why is team development so important?

In my role I often hear managers and owners say, “What if I train them and they leave?” What they should be asking is “What if I don’t and they stay?”

As Henry Ford once said,  “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

This morning I am a guest on the Online Forum for Hoteliers, and will be sharing my thoughts on Team Development. I’m covering 3 topics, and thought I’d share the first of these today.

I can bet that whilst you’ve had team members either on furlough or working from home, that some of them will have taken the opportunity to learn, to do something towards their personal development. Whether that is something work related or simply something that interests them, isn’t the point. But what it demonstrates is that people want to learn, to grow and develop.

And if they are in a job that doesn’t satisfy that desire, the chances are they’ll either lose interest and motivation, or they’ll up and leave. Neither option is a good one for the business.

Developing people shouldn’t be something that’s reserved for management. It’s easy to assume that some people have no desire for development. They may have no desire to move into more senior roles or take on more responsibility, but that doesn’t mean we allow them to stagnate.

If you’re not convinced of the need to invest in people’s development, or you need to sell the idea to someone else, read on…

Here 5 good reasons why team development is worth the investment:

1. Shows you value them

Investing in your team in any way demonstrates that you believe them worthy of investment. It helps people feel they have been recognised. This in turn leads to them being more motivated and engaged. This is likely to have a positive impact on their performance both as a result of their engagement and their new skills/abilities. The more engaged and competent your team the better your customers’ experience.

And back to the concern of “What if I train them and they leave?”, not investing in your team could be the very reason they do leave. Which reminds me of something Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

2. Succession planning

It’s easy to think of succession planning simply about grooming people for more senior positions. But don’t ignore the need to cross train your team so they can cover not only in the short term, but also so they can take a sideways more to a new role or department at a later date. Succession plans shouldn’t be written in tablets of stone, but far better to have exposure to another role or department now, than when the time comes to make that move, that it’s not the role for them after all.

It can also be a positive development activity for the person currently in that role.  Spending time with a colleague showing them all that’s involved gives them a sense of pride as well as developing their coaching skills. Even if their potential successor has to wait a year or two to step into the role, both learn and grow as a result and have a great respect for each other.

3. Gives flexibility

The more you cross train and upskill across your team, the greater your flexibility. Don’t limit this just to cross training within a department. Inevitably there are times when one department is stretched and others are quiet, so if you have people who can switch to support the stretched team, so much the better.

It’s easy for a colleague to look on thinking that someone else’s job looks easy. But it’s only when they get a taste it first-hand that they realise the challenges associated with that role. So cross training will not only help the team to support one another, but it can also create a higher respect for each other’s roles.

4. Improves your employer brand

If you want to attract people who see joining your team as a career move rather than a fill in before finding their ideal role, you need to demonstrate there’s potential to grow and develop. If you’re not able to share what development opportunities there are, they’ll go to someone else who has a track record if investing in their team’s development.

Your existing team should always be your greatest advocates, so if they have positive stories to share about their own development you’re more likely to attract others …

5. Continuous improvement

People’s development doesn’t ever have an end date. There will always be things that one can improve on, however small. Yes, there may be times when they are on a steep learning curve, but once at the top, it’s important to look for those little incremental improvements that can all add up over time. And importantly not allow that person to stagnate.

If you only do one thing: Decide which of these 5 reasons is the most important one for you or your business and focus on that as your priority for now.

Next week I’ll share the second topic I’m covering with the Hoteliers’ Forum. Until then, have a good week.

Related posts:

Continuous Improvements can make a big difference

A-Z of managing people D is for development 


Maintaining Momentum

maintaining momentum

How to maintain engagement with your team

Hooray, we can now hug, go to the flicks, visit museums and of course most important of all…

… we can go out to eat and drink in comfort indoors, and stay away at friends or in hotels or B&Bs.

If you’ve reopened this week or you’ve recently welcomed your team back to the workplace, I’m sure you’ve invested much time and energy into ensuring they came back feeling confident and energised.

Everyone I’ve spoken to is predicting a busy period ahead, and it’s quite possible your team have already been working flat out.  So, don’t let all that effort you put in pre-opening simply stop just because you’re busy.

Continue to take steps to help your team feel valued, and maintain the momentum right through the summer and beyond.

Recognition

Recognise and reward the extra effort that goes into the first few weeks, whilst everyone is getting to grips with new ways of working, alongside keeping your guests, members and visitors happy.

Give your team members a voice. Ask for their feedback and ideas, particularly over the first few shifts, to review how things are working. Acknowledge any improvements made, however small, even if things are not perfect yet.

Carry on setting mini goals so people continue to get that sense of accomplishment as they see these achieved.

Trust

Earn and maintain trust with your team by showing you have their best interests at heart, demonstrating your integrity.  Address any concerns, and always doing what you say you’ll do.

Be positive and optimistic about the opportunities ahead. However, be honest too, your team will see through any false bravado.

Trust is two way, so demonstrate your trust in them.

Give team members flexibility to adapt and adopt their own way of doing things. Empower them by giving responsibility and ownership for the areas within their control. When they have ownership they’re more likely to take pride in what they do and do an even better job.

Ongoing development

Although there may be lots to learn in the weeks leading up to and post opening, ensure you continue to offer your team ongoing development, to give them the opportunity to grow and keep them interested and engaged.

It many ways the pandemic has brought out the best in people. One of the results of this is revealing strengths and interests people weren’t aware of before. Recognise any projects or activities they’ve been working on whilst on furlough, so you can take advantage of these, or give them the opportunity to continue their development in these areas.

Continuing to invest in them will help maintain commitment, engagement and loyalty.

If you only do one thing to maintain momentum: Continue to be mindful of how people are feeling and respond appropriately.

This was one of the topics I covered in my interview last week for Savvy Says with Kate Plowright. You can watch the whole interview here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k26bnSU1gKg


How can we learn from mistakes?

learn from mistakes

Learning from mistakes

Last weekend we watched the film “Sully”, the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River.

I think there are many lessons we can take from this story, ones of leadership, and going the extra mile for customers, amongst others.

But the lesson I want to focus on today is about learning from mistakes.

If you know the story, you will know that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) initially claimed pilot error, based on simulations of the lead up to the landing. Whilst watching the film it seemed so unfair to be making this accusation.

But, if there is one thing the aviation industry does well, it’s to learn from mistakes. Any mistake can cost lives, so for any mistake or near miss they always do an in-depth analysis to avoid it happening again.

This principle doesn’t just apply to airlines. In any business there are times when things don’t go according to plan or mishaps happen, albeit maybe not with quite such serious consequences.

Can we really learn from these mistakes?

Well, yes. Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make an effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events.

Here are 6 ideas to help you and your team to learn from mistakes and reduce the likelihood of a repetition.

Making the transition

When someone is doing a task for the first time sometimes the only way to really hone new skills and develop true competence is once applied on the job. But if people are fearful of getting it wrong, they will be reluctant and will never get the chance to perfect their skill.

We shouldn’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.

Trust

Demonstrate your trust in your team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit.

Define what levels of authority they have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision.

If and when you do have to get involved, use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.

Near misses

It can be easy to dismiss a near miss; no harm done.

This time…

Unless these get reported, they may be an accident waiting to happen. So encourage your team to be open about reporting potential problems and what could go wrong.  Listen to flush out potential risky situations. Have a process in place which makes this quick and easy.

Then agree what steps you can take to avoid them or minimise their impact.

Unless followed though promptly they won’t bother telling you next time.

Aim v blame

People are often afraid to report mistakes in case they are going to be blamed or reprimanded in some way. But, a failure to report and deal with problems promptly not only leads to frustrations, and later accusations of whose fault it is, but could cost you dearly in the long run if it causes long-term damage.

Encourage your team to be open about any mistakes, whether they are the cause or not.

Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.

Own up

Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake.

(See also The Emotional Bank Account https://www.naturallyloyal.com/the-emotional-bank-account/)

Culture

Foster a supportive culture, where it’s okay to ask questions and admit you don’t know all the answers, where you’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right.

Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well. A culture where it’s OK to speak up if you think something isn’t up to standard; where people won’t take offence if someone suggests a better way of doing something.

Create a culture where it’s accepted that mistakes happen, the important thing is to learn from them and prevent the same mistake happening again.

Take action

If you only do one thing: The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Today’s top tip

Book recommendation: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/1473613779

 



Celebrate

celebrateTime for celebration?

If you’re anything like me, you love having an excuse to celebrate. I have three things to celebrate today. Firstly, I am being taken out to lunch; my first time eating out since October. Secondly, I have a hair appointment; I know I’m not the only one celebrating some trivial events! Goodbye grey hair and wonky fringe. Last, but not least, it’s my 36th wedding anniversary today.

Marking a special occasion is a perfect way to engage with both customers and team members. Recognising a personal milestone, proud moment or a significant event shows you care.

Success

If you’ve recently reopened or are preparing to reopen, celebrate your team coming back to work: share with them and celebrate any changes you’ve made in the business over the past year.

Celebrate what’s gone well so far, so everyone gets the recognition they deserve for the effort that’s gone into reopening. It’s easy to get wrapped up in activity, but take a step back to see how far you’ve come, and create a buzz for the day, week and month ahead!

Continue to set mini goals so you and your team all see some quick wins, and keep the momentum going.

The anniversary of….

Mark anniversaries, both business and personal

  • the date each of your team members joined your business
  • the start of your customer/client’s business
  • a customer becoming a customer
  • past awards you’ve won
  • special events or milestones in your business, such as the start of your business

Proud moments

What’s been happening in the lives or your team members (and customers) to warrant celebration?

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • Any charitable achievements however minor
  • Learning a new skill; many of your team may have picked up new skills whilst being away from the business.
  • Anniversaries – look back at the events you held in previous years: what anniversaries are coming up?

New developments

What changes have you made to the business during lockdown? New products and services, refurbishments, new team members. Share and celebrate these with your team and customers. If nothing else, celebrate the fact that you are open!

Better late than never

Lastly don’t forget all those postponed events – many of which would have been to celebrate a special occasion. Even if people can’t celebrate with you, the date should still be marked and celebrated in some way.

Celebrations don’t need to be lavish. What’s more important is that they are sincere and relevant to those you are congratulating.

Recognise that whilst some people love the limelight, others hate it. Sometimes a quiet “congratulations and well done” is all that’s needed and will have more impact than any razzmatazz announcement.

If you only do one thing: Find a reason, however small, to raise glass and drink a toast with your team.

Related Articles:

Lessons in Loyalty  https://www.naturallyloyal.com/2015/05/

Recognising your team (video)