It’s mid-afternoon. You’ve hit the mid-day slump. You leave your office in search of the shining beacon in the breakroom – the infamous vending machine. You anticipate a nice, cool bottle of water, with water droplets forming like the picture on the machine…or your favorite decadent candy bar, displayed in brightly colored alluring wrappers along with other tempting treats.
You reach in your pocket, with great anticipation for your afternoon pick-me-up, and then you see it…
The OUT OF ORDER sign!
All your excitement comes crashing down. You are just inches away from your reward, and yet it is unattainable.
What do you do next?
Like most, you will probably try pounding on the machine, pushing the buttons, shaking the machine…but the fact is, OUT OF ORDER means it doesn’t work.
As a leader, do you have that same sinking feeling when it comes to your team? You set goals. You anticipate the rewards that come with their completion. You look forward to the satisfaction that comes from the deliverables.
And then your team doesn’t deliver.
Why does this happen?
It could very well be your team is OUT OF ORDER.
How do you restore order within your team? You must identify the issue.
When vending machines are out order, it is either a restocking issue, a mechanical or maintenance issue, or a placement issue.
Though team members are certainly not vending machines, we do rely on them to deliver. When they do not, these three similar issues can be the cause.
Lack of motivation can be an external issue, where the feedback we are giving them is tearing them down instead of building them up. This works about as well as pushing on the vending machine. If the vending machine is empty, no amount of shaking the machine will produce the outcome you want.
When was the last time you took an interest in your employees beyond just what they can do for you? When was the last time you said an encouraging word when they did something well? When you send emails, do you just dive in with your demands, or do you respectfully greet them by name first?
Especially in today’s workplace, ongoing training is essential. This is true just as much in human resource and leadership fields as it is in technology fields. Are you offering your team the resources they need to do their work well? This is especially important as they take on new responsibilities within the organization. We often assume they are equipped to do a job based on their performance in the previous job, but the fact is, they may benefit from the added training opportunities.
There are different vending machines for different products. There is a reason for that. One size does not fit all – they have different mechanisms, different functions, and different outcomes. Otherwise, you’d have cold coffee and melting candy bars.
This is one main issue that occurs with teams. If your team is OUT OF ORDER – operating in chaos or not operating at all – it could be a placement issue. Do you have an introvert in a people-facing position? This may be challenging for them. Do you have an extrovert stuck in a cubicle crunching numbers on a detailed spreadsheet? As an extrovert, I can say that this can be extremely challenging.
When you properly place employees in the right role and environment, an amazing transformation takes place. With correct strengths placement comes passion…and with passion comes profitability.
If you have ever talked with a customer service representative who loves what they do, you know there is a difference. You are much more likely to continue doing business with the company.
If your organization is in a slump and OUT OF ORDER, check your team motivation, mechanics, and placement. Those goals that are so unreachable could actually be attainable after all.
For more information on how you can assess the strengths of your team and build a team that gets real results, click here.