Team Building Through Troubleshooting and Problem Solving
[Editor’s Note] If you saw think you may have already seen this post, you aren’t imagining things.. the heat hasn’t gotten to you. We posted this 2 weeks ago, minutes before we launched our new website, and then the post went “poof” and went into cyberspace, never to be seen (or linked to) again… We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to hear from Tim Faller, so enjoy!
You may have added workers in the field and in the office to keep up with the booming business of the past few years. Are they working as a team or as individuals? If they’re not all working together, it may be costing you money on jobs and in the office. It’s time to pull them together through troubleshooting and problem-solving.
Team members want to win, they just don’t have the information or opportunity to do so. Here are some ways to get folks working together, while solving problems that may be eating into your profits.
Identifying Problem Areas
Most business owners think they must be the person to make everything work and fix every problem that develops. Instead, gather your team to identify the areas of the company that need work. Be sure they have all the information they need. If you’re struggling to meet the budgets on jobs, for example, be sure they know it and how bad it is. Identify all the things the administrative folks need to fix, then look at the field issues.
After you have a list of things to fix, let the team prioritize where to start. After they say the estimate needs to be fixed (Yes, I know how it will go!), agree to work on that, then nudge them to a field problem. Once the list is prioritized, get to work.
Brainstorming for Team Building
Have a meeting to brainstorm solutions. There are several very important aspects of brainstorming that you need to keep in mind.
All ideas are valid. Never say something like “that won’t work” or dismiss any idea. People will shut down. You want to create is a continuous stream of ideas — at some point the one that resonates with everyone will pop out.
If someone sits back, let them know you’ll call on them in a few minutes so they can prepare. Many people will hold back, so actually calling on them involves them. Great ideas will come out.
Be prepared to actually adopt something the group suggests. In my consulting, it’s amazing to me how many of the field staff will tell me that the owner asks but then ignores what they say.
Don’t leave the meeting until a next step is decided. After the brainstorming, get consensus on the next step. Designate a small group to select the best path to take. Within the group, decide the best idea to tackle and assign people to work out the details. The owner of the company shouldn’t say “Thank you for all this. I’ll get back to you.” Let the team help with the specific solution.
All this takes time, but most of your problem areas can’t be solved in one easy step. By getting the team involved they are more motivated and you get a better solutions that they will embrace. And they’ll draw together as they do it, creating the kind of cohesive team that will drive business forward.