No matter what your business, it seems that the achievement of the big C – Consistency is the Holy Grail.
Consistency ensures that customer expectations are met no matter who they are, or when they use your services/product. This then creates brand loyalty and brand advocates to advertise your business for never ending growth. Sounds simple… right…?
When I work with business owners and their managers I have noticed that the lack of consistency delivered by their team is almost always the focus of improvement. Consistent performance is really an aspiration rather than an achievement as 100% is realistically impossible to achieve everyday with every customer for the eternity of time. I have also noticed as a consumer and mystery shopper that a lack of consistency is rife in our communities, which has compelled me to discuss a tool that has assisted business people in this area.
Over the years, as an Operational and Sales Manager, I attended many Learning & Development courses. I learnt models, ways of working, and motivational techniques which certainly had merit and improved my management capability, however it remained a struggle to gain consistent performance out of my team. As time went on I found this quite aggravating, which is a sentiment I now know is shared by many.
All of the sudden the simple task of gaining consistent performance out of my team raised a plethora of questions, with a multitude of ways to tackle them. Was I consistent? Did I consistently expect the same from my team daily? How did I communicate this? Was I encouraging? Was I too soft? Am I being negative? Now, I cannot remember the day, or the situation but I bet that I was feeling a lot of strain, pressure, and frustration. Out of this state of “suffering” came an epiphany:
Ask the question – “Is it right?”
The first step once a team member is clear on expectation (yes, training, induction, and on-going staff development are fundamental before anything can be delivered to standard on an ongoing basis), is to ask oneself: is it right?
This one action gives instantly powerful results when facing the tough questions a manager or business owner are faced with on a daily basis. I couldn’t believe how simple it was, how cost effective, and usable no matter what the situation. The key was to understand what I was focused on and how I communicated that to my team.In asking this simple question to myself I found clarity and focus.
This technique cut through emotion – a common root cause for mis-communication in the workplace. This also cut through favouritism, perceived favouritism, personality clashes, and internal power struggles. Within the walls of my business, it was a game changer. Instead of wondering if I should speak out, pick my moment, or call a meeting I asked myself the key question – is it right? If the answer was no, then I simply had to navigate to the source of the challenge. Had I not instructed the team well enough? Is this person being lazy? Was there a reason out of our control for it not-being-right? Most times, I found the answer and a quick, sharp resolution was discussed or implemented.
Using this method I found that my stress levels reduced significantly. I found that over a period of time the team seemed to be clearer on what they needed to achieve, from the nitty-gritty details to the overall goals. All of the sudden my results and overall performance improved. The best bit – I found that more things than not became RIGHT!
There are many steps to using this simple tool to mentor Managers, and develop a team, however, next time you cringe at how a task has been done by your team, ask yourself – is it right? I hope it empowers positive discussions and positive outcomes for you like it has for me and my clients.