If I asked what you wanted your staff to complete by the end of this week, month and year – or if I asked your staff what you wanted them to complete by the end of this week, month and year would I get a comprehensive answer? Possibly not, however it is really important to set clear and meaningful expectations and ensure that staff are consistently focused on your expected outcomes.
Some no doubt feel it unnecessary as their staff know what is expected. Unfortunately, in most cases, while their staff members have a good understanding of the duties they need to complete each day they may struggle answering the following questions:
- What is the direction of the company (and your department)?
- How do your daily duties affect this direction?
- In what areas do you excel, and how does this help the company reach its goals?
- In what areas do you need to improve, and how would this help the company reach its goals?
- What is your future within this company?
If your staff are unable to answer these questions it is unlikely they will be able to deal effectively with bumps in the road on their own (“Why is it important that I learn how to handle customer complaints? I’ll just let the boss deal with it”), and it’s no secret that many managers spend way too much time addressing routine problems rather than focusing on how to grow the company.
If your team isn’t clear how critical their efforts are to the success of the company it’s a lot more difficult to motivate them
So How do you address this challenge?
Well try this:
1. Set clear, meaningful and simple goals. A powerful set of goals will include input from your entire team and will reflect their own personal and professional aspirations. Make sure these goals are so clear and simple that they can be memorised and fit on the back of a business card.
2. Create an individual ‘Positional Contract’ with each employee. This process (and document) should include a details of their regular duties and a summary of how their position helps the company achieve its goals.
3. A list of expected skills to develop/improve and why this improvement will help the company achieve its goals and
4. Possibly include the individual rewards for the company reaching its goals (incentive plan).
5. Make sure you remind and review. The biggest mistake companies make is working on putting meaningful expectations together and then only refer to them once a year. You have to keep your staff focused and motivated.
6. Post your goals everywhere!
7. Set aside time (at least monthly) with the individuals on your team to specifically address how their activity is progressing and impacting on your goals.
8. Provide your team with a progress update on a regular (at least monthly) basis.
There is no doubt that this will require more time and effort, but the benefits of having an inspired team that is crystal clear about their individual and group expectations is huge!