The beginning of the year is an exciting time, especially after the close of a successful previous one. All too frequently however, we simply “reconfigure” our strategic plans from the previous year, rather than adjusting our plans moving forward to seriously take into account the growth and success our team has gained over the past 365 days. Sure, this feels like a giant task, and it seems easier to repeat what we’ve done and what we already know, at least in some respects, works. But think about the opportunity you’re missing out on.
As you and your team members embark on your journey together in 2015, make a commitment to creatively refresh your team in the coming year. Keeping the following in mind will help you in this process:
Reconfigure your office or move to a new space: This is a special one for us here at ClientWise, as we have just officially moved into a larger space to accommodate our growing team. Changing your location or the configuration of your office helps your team members see things in new and inventive ways. It extends beyond their surroundings to their relationships and problem solving abilities as well.
Engage all your team members: If you are truly committed to building your team you may have doubled in size over the past year, but are you really using all this talent you’ve acquired? Think about creative ways to involve your team members in your processes. Your CSAs may have interesting insight into your operations that you hadn’t considered. Why not let everyone weigh-in? Seek out the newest team members first and give those who've been there a while to offer up some ideas in follow up. You'll find your increase the confidence of those newer members, and generate some fresh perspective in the process.
Share accolades publicly: This is obvious, but be consistent about it. This is one of those goals teams commit to in the beginning of the year, only to have it wane as the year goes on and work gets in the way. Offering acknowledgment where it is due should be a priority on your list, not something you get to if you have time. Make it a point in your weekly or monthly meetings to call out team members who are performing well.
Create systems of recognition and reward: Providing an actual reward in addition to verbal praise never hurts incentive. Making these systems a part of your dedicated process helps maintain a culture of motivation, unity, and satisfaction. Satisfied employees are categorically more loyal and committed to achieving goals in a timely fashion.
Involve your team members in others’ roles: Familiarize your team members with the roles that work in tandem with their own. How does your CSA help your relationship managers in their roles and vice versa? How do your operations and business development team members enhance your abilities as a leader, as well as those of the team overall? Each member on the team should be familiar with the objectives and day-to-day experiences of these others; it evokes greater creativity and more appreciation.
Designate places for creative thinking: At ClientWise we call it the “Brainstorm Room,” a designated area where team members go alone or in groups, simply to think. The room is stocked with special rolling whiteboards and other tools that inspire creativity and brainstorming. Making the physical transition to this space often insights a physiological one as well that sparks new ideas.
Have stand up meetings: Not only do people think better on their feet, they are more likely to spend their time solving a problem or exploring a really good idea than making small talk. A former leader of mine used to save time by cutting what would normally be hour-long sit-downs into 20 minute stand-up meetings. We got more accomplished, and did it in less time.
Coaching Questions from this Article:
1. Think of a space where you do your best thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving. What can you do to bring these elements to your everyday work space?
2.How are all of your team members contributing to the growth of your team, and are there ways to draw out greater contribution from each?
3. How are you rewarding your team members for a job well done in ways that they can expect and count on?
4. How do you encourage creativity amongst your team members?