I recently worked with a General Manager who was quite frustrated that a core part of her team was disengaged and unmotivated. She felt that everyone just clocked in, did their job and clocked out. She perceived this younger generation was lacking the work ethic required to succeed in today’s climate. And found it extremely frustrating that she couldn’t think of a solution. It was perfect timing to make some changes, as she was about to appoint a new leader to look after this part of the business.
As I began to investigate to gain an understanding of what I could do to help, I asked a question that switched on a light bulb for her;
“How many people do you have in your team?”
She replied, “Twenty”.
Interestingly, as she answered the question, she could immediately identify that this was a problem. I explained to her that teams in business are no different to families. Imagine a single parent trying to keep tabs on 20 children. It would be difficult to know which children had been bathed, who had done their homework or who had eaten their dinner. In this situation, it would be hard enough to get the basics done, let alone make any improvements to how the household ran.
It is very difficult to meet the needs of your people when there are large structures in place. Most importantly, it is hard to create a sense of belonging and build connection with such a large group. It is a big task for any leader to effectively build strong relationships with twenty individuals and drive great performance.
As we worked together, it was agreed that a structural change was definitely required. As part of my leadership training, we devised a cluster of small teams, each allocated with a leader to work with a smaller group of people and create a much better structure. We took the team from one leader looking after twenty staff to one leader looking after four leaders who then each looked after four people. In familial terms, we took one very large family and created four smaller ones.
Within 6 months, we observed significant improvements in the level of engagement, higher levels of accountability, better communication, improved retention and ultimately better results. Our strategy allowed individuals to take on more responsibility and develop their own leadership skills resulting in promotions into other roles within the company.
Inspiring the Humanity of Business
Please read below for what the General Manager had to say about her experience with Alison Crabb Consulting:
Alison has been my mentor for the last 18 months since starting my first leadership role. She has taught me how to think more strategically when forward planning to work on my business. We have worked on projects together, such as implementing new and improved team structures, which resulted in great sales results and enhanced productivity. Being new to leadership, having Alison as a mentor really gave me the confidence to lead through her helpful tools and techniques. She truly has helped me to be the leader I am today. – AH, General Manager