The pandemic has affected businesses very differently. Some are doing great. Some are facing enormous challenges. For some, it is a mixed bag. But for the leaders that I talk to, they all have one thing in common: they do not feel that their teams are living up to their potential. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they think that their teams are doing poorly. Many think that their teams are doing great. But ask them if they are working at their full potential, many leaders will say that they could be doing even better.
So how about you? Do you think your team is living up to its potential? If not, then what? How do we build on success?
Two things you can do:
First, identify and protect your success factors. Success has a source. Amazon is doing great because it is excellent at anticipating what people want and being incredibly fast at getting goods to their customers. Not surprisingly they spend most of their time continuing to improve those areas that they excel at, and it continues to pay off for them. What would happen if they neglected those success factors? They would likely lose market share quickly.
What factors really account for your team success? Dedication to the mission? Creativity? Openness to ideas? Industry knowledge? Use of cutting-edge technology? Speed? Networks? Once you know these, make sure you are taking steps to protect these factors. These can and do degrade over time.
Secondly, reset the measures of success. Here there are two paths: MORE or DIFFERENT. More means, higher levels of performance for the current success measures (ex. more market share, revenue, margin, customer satisfaction, etc.). Different means totally different measures of success. This might mean new product/service introductions, new application of technology, new clients served, or new methods of distribution, or a new market position.
Leaders are often rightly proud of their teams. But even the best teams can be better and the best teams are always at risk of losing their edge. Keep sharp by being clear about why your team is great, preserve those great aspects, and look for ways to continuously raise the bar.
This weekend, we saw the Dragon rocket lift off and deliver US astronauts to the international space station. I think many people were excited because it is a great metaphor for pushing limits. Focus on your success factors. When you do, your team will take off too.