Ask Us How: Driving Positive Results

Posted by Michael Derin

Published on October 16, 2013 under NSW Business Chamber Partnership

Performance of business and the motivation of its staff has been dramatically impacted over the past 2 years and those businesses that experienced pressure throughout this time are now trying to rebuild their business so it can succeed in what many now consider better times. 

Having an unmotivated and unstructured business can be detrimental and it is important to know the tools on how to drive positive results and change to help your business thrive.

MORALE OF WORKPLACES IN TOUGH TIMES

The last couple of years whether you are an employee / business owner, large or small business have been challenging. 

For employees, they have had to weather:

  • Staff redundancies
  • Salary freezes
  • Hiring Freezes, resulting in longer hours worked
  • Reduced incentives

They have been forced to show patience until the economy improves, which even though reports suggest it is, I believe it is still tough.

For Business owners they are struggling with just keeping their business afloat and have had to manage:

  • Cutting costs
  • Working with limited resources
  • Working with a hands on deck type attitude to get the job done when they have not had to do this for a long time
  • Low staff morale

When you have opposing forces this does dramatically affect both the morale of teams and of the business itself, with owners working hard now to try and instill confidence and build their business again.

Most business owners have tried to shelter their teams from their business worries and this creates an unsettled team that do not know whether they are safe or not, or whether the business is even going to make it through the tough times.

Often by holding this card close to your chest you are creating the low morale in your business.

CHANGING THE CULTURE OF THEIR BUSINESS AND DRIVING POSITIVE CHANGE

I think it always boils down to how leaders of a company create a positive working culture and drive change & improvement.

A business owner who has struggled in the short term needs to instill their long term vision to their team. 

I am a strong believer that even when business is bad you can still create an environment around you where your team feel important, are delivering on your goals and are engaged in the long term success of your business.

How you go about this is:

  • You need to surround yourself with people that have a medium – long term vision of their future in the organisation and get them to focus on the next 3 years, not just today
  • You need to have weekly / monthly staff meetings that are productive and engage staff in understanding exactly what is going on in the business – both good and bad – so that they are more aware of what is going on around them
  • You need to engage the management level of your organisation in decision making so that they can talk to their teams and re-enforce your message to motivate staff
  • Get your team involved in KPI and Strategic Plans so that they are engaged in the long term success of your business – have a top down – bottom up view on planning.
  • Be open about what is going well and what needs improvement and ask your team for ideas so they feel involved in the business

Your ultimate goal in creating a motivate team is that you are able to:

Create a high sense of trust – the quickest way to build trust is to demonstrate your loyalty to your team. When employees feel that you trust them and their judgment, they are more apt to go above and beyond to ensure the team's success.

You want to solicit good ideas. Don't operate in a vacuum, solicit ideas from staff members on how to improve efficiencies within the department, and involve them in determining which ideas get implemented, tracked and measured for success. When you sincerely ask, with the intent of using their input to improve the work environment, it is amazing the positive feedback you will receive from staff.

MOTIVATING STAFF IN TOUGH TIMES

You know this is really tough; all businesses go through this at some stage throughout their life span. 

Whenever bad news is delivered you are always going to have to deal with disgruntled staff, team members gossiping, and uncertainty and staff members feeling insecure in their positions. 

To an extent it’s not about the people and them, it’s about the organisation and as a business owner you need to recognise you can’t motivate every single person because they are going to have their own objectives.

But during these times, it is important to:

  • Not blame your team for business underperformance if they can’t control external factors – in fact thank them for their commitment. 
  • Be honest with your team when making tough decisions such as redundancies.  You want them to understand why the decision was made and how it will in fact benefit them in the long run
  • Re-iterate the long term goals of the business – if they know the company can grow and be successful and you can have each person and the business committed to each other - they will remain committed.
  • Be prepared to reward staff that are integral to the success of your business – even if this eats into your business profits, if certain team members are integral to the success of your long term goals, you need them to stay and motivate others, I would actually incentives them more
  • Take the time to sit down 1-1 with your team members & management team to help them understand why certain decisions are being made and gain a better understanding of how they feel within their own roles and get a better understanding of how they are personally feeling. 

BENEFITS OF HAVING A STRUCTURED AND MOTIVATED BUSINESS

There are so many benefits to having a structured and motivated business. 

As we lead into a more positive economic environment, those businesses that have engaged staff and have remained positive even in difficult conditions are able to gear their businesses for the upturn.

The positive impact on your business could mean:

  • You can attract highly skilled and successful people to your business that have been completely disgruntled in previous environments – who can add great value to your business
  • Your business can become more results focused – whereby – you have a team that is working well together, you have a more financially stable environment – your team know what their KPI’s are and know how to deliver on them – your team will want to further their careers and in doing so will become even more results focused and it would be easier as the business is doing well.
  • You can provide employees with work that is more meaningful, challenging
  • Provide employees with great training and development opportunities that will further their experience and potential
  • If your team are engaged in delivering, it will mean jobs can get out the door quicker, accurately and will improve bottom line profitability and the financial stability of your organisation

STABILISING AND GROWING OF YOUR BUSINESS

This is a really exciting phase for a business to be in.  Being in a position where your team is motivated and you are doing well financially opens up many possibilities.

You can then concentrate on:

  • Introducing new products or services suitable for your business
  • Expand your business with more marketing that will generate opportunities
  • Improve bottom line profits and incentives for staff
  • Promote people to new roles
  • Look at acquiring other businesses
  • Look at Merging with other businesses

 

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