Improving Business Operations: Get Feedback from your Team
Your staff are the eyes and ears of your business. They are the source of the market and operational intelligence you need to be able to build a thriving business. From our work with business owners it is evident few businesses are successfully tapping this source of powerful information.
TEAM TALK 1 focused on the topic of customer value. The questions were:
Question 1: Why do you think our clients buy from us?
Question 2: What do we do that is really valuable and helpful to our clients?
Question 3: What type of clients do you enjoy serving the most? Why?
Question 4: What additional products / services could we provide that would be helpful to our clients?
Question 5: Do our clients see us as doing something different to our competitors? If so, what is it?
Once you have worked through these questions with your team we suggest then shifting the focus of your discussions to the way your business operates.
TEAM TALK 2: Focus on Operations
Question 6: What is it about the way we do business here that helps or hinders your ability to be productive?
Question 7: How can we make this business a more fulfilling place to work?
Question 8: What do we need to do as a business to earn your respect and loyalty?
Question 9: What do we need to do to ensure we handle internal complaints and issues effectively?
Question 10: To what extent do you think we operate as a team and support each other to do our jobs well? What do we need to do to improve?
Notice: It's All About Action
You may notice there is a pattern to the questions being asked. The focus of the questions is on action and what needs to be done to improve. The operations of any business is a collective set of actions. To know how to improve your operations you need to elicit from the team how those actions need to change. This is a useful concept to reiterate with your team. It will mean the information gained is much more useful and can also help avoid unnessessary discussions about internal politics, if that is potentially an issue for you.
Remember to Listen
Finally, to reinforce a key point made in TEAM TALK 1. When you ask the questions your aim is to listen closely to the response. Look for the learning and insights. Ask more questions of clarification. If people are challenged to express their thoughts accurately then ask for examples. Your job as the Manager and facilitator of this process is to learn. You must resist the urge to analyse or criticise. Perhaps you think what they are saying is misinformed or inaccurate. Keep these thoughts to yourself and ponder them in more detail at a later stage when you are away from the team. Stay focused on extracting the learning and insights from what is being said.
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