Ever wonder how relaxing and less stressful your life would be if your department or facility was on auto pilot? How refreshing would it be to know your team had your back and anything that could be thrown at them would be handled with the utmost speed and accuracy? Certainly, that would bring a sense of relief. The first step in building a “team of execution” instead of team of “waiting for direction” is empowering them and trusting them to make good decisions because you have given them the necessary knowledge and training. Whether you have sent them to seminars, classes, or trained them yourself, empowering happens when you share the knowledge and teach them how to do their jobs, which means a good portion of your job is being a teacher. The pandemic shook things up a bit and even people that had developed and trained their teams are having to do more because either they lost members of the team, team members moved on or they just opted not to return to work. So many are just like you, starting all over again.
I hear those brain cells churning; perhaps you are thinking, “I don’t have time to be a teacher!” Not a problem; it just means you need to delegate. Give your team opportunities to learn outside of your four walls by attending educational sessions at industry shows. It is a proven fact that many go back to their companies and save them millions of dollars from new ideas and concepts learned at these conferences. Last year at PARCEL Forum, there were several conversations from young up-and-comers attending for their second year because of the great ideas they learned the first time. Their bosses said it was well worth the investment to get more new innovative ideas. If you are concerned that the person is getting a few days out of town and all they will do is party, have them write a paper of all the sessions they attended and what they learned. Don’t let fear paralyze you from improving your operation.
Another great concept of improving execution in your facility is developing a strategy in every department. When a problem or mistake happens (and it will, no matter how good you are), it’s imperative you also track the problem back to the core issue so that same problem doesn’t happen again. You would be surprised at the number of people who do not do this. By instituting this new behavior process, you will develop a team that will always look for the root cause of every problem while fixing the current issue in order to prevent it from happening again. For instance, one customer had shipping software that didn’t like special characters in addresses. Whenever a customer had special characters it would act in multiple different ways. One, it would kick out the order to never-never land, or it may duplicate the order multiple times, or it would replace characters, delete them, etc. This kept happening over and over again, until someone said, “Let’s write some software that checks for these characters before the order hits the system so we can clean it up or handle it outside the system.”
Another example is returns and the issues that developed over the last couple of years with much of the workforce working from home due to the pandemic. Customers kept placing orders with their current accounts, but they were working from home. So, carriers would go to the offices to deliver, and the doors were locked. Therefore, returns quadrupled. Instead of coming up with a process to verify the correct shipping address the returns clerk kept quiet or didn’t share the problem, and these mistakes kept happening.
Not fixing the root cause of a problem is like being in the movie Groundhog Day. Below are some tips on how to empower your team to handle and run your business efficiently, effectively, and error-free.
- Give them as much training/knowledge as possible
- Include them in the “why” of processes
- Give them analytics to track and beat
- Communicate with them
- Be transparent and collaborative
Having a team that executes is well worth the investment of time and effort.
Susan Rider, President, Rider & Associates, and Executive Life Coach, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the May/June, 2022 issue of PARCEL.