Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How do I get my team to think like me?

Thanks to Mick for asking me to blog on the topic of: “How do I get my team to think like me?”

My answer, blunt as it might be: You don’t want them to think like you!

20 “you’s” running around your office with the same ideas, the same view points, the same knowledge would be an absolute disaster for the creativity and innovation of your business.

You want staff who think differently to you so that you can come up with multiple solutions to problems, differing ideas on how to improve the company and, dare I say it, so that you have people who are willing to tell you when you’re wrong. (Yes – the boss is sometimes wrong and it’s a brave and vital team member who will let you know that!)

But – I think the point you’re asking about is not getting your staff to be your clones, but how to get them to understand what are the “non-negotiables” of working in your team.

I’ll go through my non-negotiables for anyone working on my team and maybe you’ll find something in there that you can incorporate:


Mistakes are OK
So long as, if anyone (yes, including me) makes a mistake, they own up to it straight away, we fix the immediate mistake and then we put a system in place so it doesn’t happen again.

You will follow the system in place
We have a system for almost everything and you will follow that system, complete that checklist and do things in an orderly manner following the guidelines that have been set. BUT – if you see a better way to do something, we want you to tell us! Bring it up at a weekly meeting or just email me and make a suggestion. If we agree with you that it’s a better way to do things, we’ll change the procedure.

Complaints come to me
If you have an issue or a problem with the company – I want you to come to me. I don’t want to see it blabbed on twitter or facebook – I want you to say, hey, I have an issue with this and I’m giving you a chance to fix it.

Agreement isn’t guaranteed
I may not always agree with you – but I’ll always listen to you.

Come with the solution
Don’t just come to me with the problem. Bring one or more potential solutions as well.

There’s a time and a place
The time for bringing up issues with systems or the “way things are done” isn’t in front of a client. It isn’t in front of anyone actually. It’s one to one to your manager.

Whatever your non-negotiables are – you need to clearly voice them to your team so that they know that while you don’t want Mick-clones you do want respectful obedience and helpful suggestions on how to make the team better in the long term.

Hope that helps!

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