Back to School, Back to Work, Back to Basics

Fall, everyone scrambling to get out of the lazy summer mindset of vacations, cook-outs, carnivals and warm weather and trying to reprogram themselves back into the routines of fall.  So, what now?  If you are like me you are dreading the end of summer, but fall is a great opportunity to get back to the basics. 

What are the basics you ask?  The great John Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” won ten NCAA national basketball championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row, and continually had turnover!  This is a man who went back to the basics with his team at the start of every season.   His players had an exercise about putting socks on correctly, how basic is that?  Why would he do that to a group of college basketball players that have probably been playing the game most of their lives?  They probably thought he was crazy!  He believed if his players didn’t put their socks on correctly and injured their feet they would be useless to him on the court, the devil is always in the details.

Do you have a game plan strategy?  What does it look like and what should/would/could you consider include?  Think about this… What do all great sports teams have in common?  Great interactive leadership, working out problems, improving plays and getting your team to cooperate, communicate and collaborate with each other.                                                   

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about a ‘basic’ plan for your organization that includes some ideas for engaging and communicating with your team:

  • Host a town hall meeting with your team and serve light refreshments, share the Company plan and how their job plays into the overall corporate plan.  Let them provide feedback.  Have some fun!  Employees in the know are more productive, engaged and have greater job satisfaction.
  • Regroup with your team to revisit project/plan status and goals through the end of the year.
  • Schedule one on one sessions with your team members to see where they are in terms of their work, what challenges/issues they may be facing and how to overcome them.  Ask what skills they want to improve to get them to where they want/need to be.  Statistics continually indicate that organizations that have training and development programs available to their employees will influence their decision to stay. 
  • Communicate with your team about company news: upcoming events, open enrollment, new initiatives, the holiday schedules, and new projects/initiatives that may be of interest. 
  • Maintain an open door, but more importantly get out of your office and start rounding on your team. A good morning or good afternoon or asking them about their day and how things are going can go a long way.  How about asking them if they have everything they need to get their job done.  Think about one of the first things parents ask their children when they come home from school…how was your day, have you done that with your team lately?
  • Take care of any outstanding housekeeping issues before they get out of hand.  Remind your team members how important it is you need to be in the know and if they have any information, positive or not, and without fear of retaliations they can come talk to you at any time. 

Like a sport’s team coach, as a leader of your own team, it is your responsibility to build, mentor and coach your team to success, and overcome internal and external obstacles.  There is so much to think about when you lead a great team.  As John Wooden once said, “Never mistake activity for achievement” so the question must be asked, “How are you getting your team to the championship game?”

  • Who is leading and coaching your team?  If not you, who?  And a better question, who coached them?
  • What does your employee handbook say, does it reflect of your company’s mission, vision and values?  Does your team know the rules of the game, how the game is to be played, who the players are and what they do in their respective positions?  Are the rules applied and followed consistently to get your team to the top of their game?
  • Do you have a Terrel Owens on your team, fabulous at what they do, but not a team player?  Are you having the conversation with them about who is running the team?  Are you sacrificing the team for them, or sacrificing them for the team?

Finally, after your efforts to get your team to their best game, how are you going to celebrate?  Most sporting events including the Super Bowl, NBA Championship, Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold Medalists, Golf Master’s Champions and World Cup winners CELEBRATE their wins.  They have parades, go to Disney World, the White House, meet famous people, have award ceremonies, goes to Pizza Hut, gives out trophies, medals, plaques and many other ways to ride that wave of victory for as long as they can.  How will your team celebrate a victory or success? Have you defined what a victory looks like so they know when they get there and what the celebration will be?

While every team is different, here is what I know for sure:  If you don’t celebrate reaching goals with your team, I can guarantee they will never put forth the effort to get you to the championship game again or they might start looking for another team to play on.

Everything I have written about today is about employee engagement, and your employees are looking to engage with you.  What can you start doing today that will build your employee engagement?  How are you going to begin or expand your employee engagement, because when it comes to employee engagement, ignoring it is not an option. 

What can or will you start to do TODAY to get you building a strong team that will take you to the championship?

Contact Uncharted HR to get your game plan together!