The crisis has taught us the need to get the most out of our team and resources to ensure the continuation and survival of our business.
But how do you thread the fine line between pushing your team too hard and getting the best out of them?
During the MCO lockdown, my team worked extremely hard. They worked on weekends, nighttime, and also on public holidays.
There was one Monday that happened to be a replacement leave for the Agong’s birthday, where I had a lunch appointment with a friend called Vincent who is in the corporate gift business.
I was wearing my smart casual wear that I usually wear to work.
Where he noticed and asked, “Hanzo, you seem like you’re working today.”
I said, “Yes, in fact, my whole company is working.”
“They’re all upstairs in the office.”
“Making follow up calls to the customers.”
And he was shocked!
“Hanzo, how did you do that?”
“It is a public holiday, with replacement leave.”
“How come you still have your team working?”
Here are the secrets to how I did it:
1. ❓ Why
Have a strong reason that will drive your team, align it to the wellbeing of the business, and their own personal interest.
Why do they need to work hard?
Why do they need to give the extra mile?
Why do they need to put in more effort, to get the sales and revenue going on?
You need to explain why!
This is a crisis.
It’s a pandemic.
It’s something that nobody has ever dealt with before.
If you explain to them WHY,
like the company is going through some cash flow issues or that the company sales have been dropping 10%, 20%, 30%, 50%.
Whatever your scenario, explain to them WHY because people need a reason to follow through.
We cannot force through something to them, without them having a reason to connect with us. Otherwise, they will resist, rebel, and cause a lot of problems for your company.
Give them a strong reason and a strong motivation, to go all the way for you.
If you do that, then you can get things done. Your company will have more sales, and more cash flow coming in. Just like my company, generating 6-figures of cash. During MCO, all salaries paid, no salary cut, no unpaid leave, 0 retrenchments.
Explain to them, WHY.
2. 👮♂️ Control Yourself
Especially during a crisis when everyone’s on an emotional roller coaster, you have to be calm amidst the storm, you will set the tone for the team to not emotionally break.
During this crisis, people’s emotions will go up, go down. You may get stressed, because your suppliers may be chasing you for money, you may look at your cash flow that you need to pay RM200,000, RM300,000, RM500,000 every single month in fixed expenses, and you may panic!
However, in order for you to motivate your team, you need to control yourself.
Because if they see you on an emotional rollercoaster, they will not believe the company can turnaround and they would go into survival mode and try to squeeze every penny out of the company for their own survival.
If you give them a strong WHY and control yourself, you will have a great combo where you can mobilize your troops with the fire ignited in them, and their desire to succeed, working very strongly as a team in order to go through this crisis together.
3. 🔊 Over-Communicate
Communicate with your team multiple times a day so that you can keep your finger on the pulse and make sure everyone is on track.
Even though you are hanging on to your dear life, you got to constantly communicate with the team, multiple times per day, so that you can survive this crisis.
You’ve got to constantly be talking to your teams, by phone, Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, or whatever the platform you use, you’ve got to over-communicate as compared to under-communicate.
The more you communicate to the team, the more they will understand.
I’d rather tell the same thing 2 times, 3 times, and not make assumptions, because when we make assumptions and the team fails, they will start blaming, justifying, and giving excuses. Why go through that?
So, over-communicate to avoid these challenges.
4. ↗ Lead
Lead by example, show them the standards of execution that you want, and if you don’t know the answers, ask tough questions to challenge your team to step-up with creative and useful answers.
Leading them means, showing them how to do something. A lot of leaders like to just delegate to the team, then assume and expect the team to be able to deliver.
But if they do not know how to do, or what to do, we have to show them. If we do not know how to do it ourselves, at least we coach them. Ask them tough questions, find ideas for them.
Recently we installed new software, I had no idea how to use it. Rather than delegating to my team to figure out how to use it, I, myself went through some basic tutorials to ensure that I knew what’s going on. And from there with some basic knowledge, I can ask questions to make them think, and they are able to come up with the answers themselves.
Don’t be surprised, your team has very good solutions as well. So, we need to coach them, guide them, mentor them. And ensure that we work together, from leaders to teams
in order for them to succeed and push them to the limit.
5. 🎯 Daily Targets
Focusing your team on daily targets will allow them to keep their eyes on the ball, and continuously stretch their limits. Constantly remind and encourage them on what to achieve?
That’s how we can get our teams to be productive, produce results, survive and succeed in these tough times.
Use these 5 tips to create a high-performance team, that will continuously grow and push its limits.