importance of employees working together
fall USA Today printed a chart outlining how several sports teams
had built dominant teams in the past 15 years. Each team had been
built primarily through free-agency acquisitions. Building a quality
team in the '50s and '60s was different. Successful teams were able
to build through farm clubs and an occasional trade, as free agency
did not exist.
once was a retailer visiting another retailer's store. He noticed
the hours posted on his front door had been changed. "I thought
you were open on Sundays," was his question.
response was, "I was. But none of my employees would work on
Sundays, so I had to go back to the old hours. You are open on Sundays,
aren't you?" As the first retailer answered yes, the surprise
was the follow-up comment. "You are so fortunate. You have
the discussion continued, the first retailer asked how he could
be considered "fortunate" when he had 15 employees. "Do
you think I have been fortunate 15 times, as I hired each of them?"
Unlike baseball, retailing does not traditionally have trades available
as an option for building a team.
farm club could be equated to hiring a person who has no experience
in retail but who exhibits traits you believe would allow you to
build into an excellent employee.
a "free agent" can be accomplished through one of two
methods. The first is the person who is working at another business
showing up on your doorstop looking for a job. The second is to
send your best employee out to "shop the competition,"
finding someone whom they believe would make a good employee, nd
informing you so you could call that person and offer him or her
way, we get back to the dealer who had to close on Sundays because
no one would work. He could see the point his friend was trying
to make about not just "finding" 15 good employees, but
it did not provide him with the answer to his staffing problem.
The solution to building a team is quite simple-but it is not easy.
Let's take a look at an example business with five employees and
one owner. Ask the owner to create a list of his employees, with
the first person being the best employee, and the fifth person being
the worst employee.
seeing the list of five, we will determine the sequence by asking
the owner and each of the employees to take a test: write down in
the order of importance, from one to ten, what you are to do at
this job. As we collect the answers from each of the employees and
the owner, we will determine what is happening, and what should
be happening in this business.
example, if each of the five employees can interact with the customers,
the owner may have No. 1 on his list as, "Interact with the
customer." Looking on the
five lists, we may find the person taking care of office duties
having listed No. 1 as answering the phone, doing the books, or
taking care of the money. One employee may have stocking the shelves
on the top of his list; another has keeping the sales floor neat.
If we find only one of the five employees has the same No. 1 task
listed as the boss has, is it any wonder this would be the person
the boss listed as being his best employee?
may actually have five excellent employees, but also a group of
five that is out of sync with the employer. It is a lot like the
baseball team. You have undoubtedly seen the manager walk to the
mound and be joined by the catcher and infield players. During this
meeting the manager is reviewing with the players what they are
going to do with the next batter, and how each of the players is
to react. We do not need two people running to retrieve the bunt
with no one covering first base.
look again at the list of items. If we examine the list of each
employee, we will be able to rate the employees from best to worst
as we see whose list most closely reflects the list of the employer.
This can be an exercise that allows you to see what the employees
perceive as being most important, and what the employer determines
will be the most important.
like the baseball manager, the employer has the responsibility of
gathering his team and determining how the various responsibilities
will be handled. Many of the better employers will tell you they
have this meeting for an hour every other week. A few of the best
will tell you they have one of these meetings for 10 to 15 minutes
every morning. Still, they continue to go through the drill of asking
their employees to provide them with a list of the 10 duties they
believe are most important.
way, they are building the team and not having to wonder, "Who's