Rodolfo owns a chemical-producing company, an SME like so many others. Some time ago, during a meeting where we discussed the team’s performance, he told me: “I have a hard time getting Juan to meet the sales deadlines (his Sales Manager).”
I asked him if he had been able to arrange a meeting to talk this with him.
- “I don’t have time for more meetings,” he replied. “I already explained it to him on WhatsApp! I am also focused on training María, the new Administration Manager, who is having a hard time understanding our business.”
- How often are you meeting with Maria? Could you introduce her to the rest of the managers? I asked.
- No, I don’t have time to meet with her, I already explained to her what she has to do, I keep doing everybody else’s job. I can’t leave them alone. If I just had the ability to replace all managers with robots, I would! Everything would be easier.
- I can’t believe it! It’s hard for me to believe that you still think that robots are going to solve your company’s problems… and your whole life!
When we finished talking, I kept thinking: How can Rodolfo think like this? Doesn’t he know what his company would gain if his managers felt valued? Can’t he see the value of spending significant time building relationships with each team member?
The answer came up with some ideas:
- Communication. Spend time with the team. Communicate the objectives, listen to their ideas. A person who feels part of the team will want to contribute their ideas; they will give an extra.
- Closeness and listen. Visit the company’s offices (when possible), be present in the areas where people work. Generate opportunities to talk to people, meet them, learn about their concerns, and listen to their ideas. There are issues that we have to talk face to face, not on WhatsApp.
- Coherence. Be consistent with what is said and what is done. Let the actions of leaders be what their speeches enact. People should see in this owner someone reliable, who inspires them, challenges them to be better.
To carry out these initiatives it is not necessary to invest a large budget or have an important HR area. Sometimes a consultant can help you think beyond your daily and operational problems. It is important that, when planning the company year, these issues are considered as important on the company’s agenda, in addition to sales, expenses, margins and profits.The reason is very simple: people want to make a difference and contribute to a purpose, and when they achieve it, they give their 100%, and when they give it, the team and its culture become the main competitive advantage of the company. But neither you nor Rodolfo should expect this to happen spontaneously. There are processes and methodologies to achieve a high-performance team.