10 Critical Principles For Successful Teams

Imagine a restaurant in crisis. Team members are on each others’ nerves. The customers can see the cracks and as a result, revenue has tanked!

This was the scene a new restaurant manager in his 20’s found himself in. Just two years after joining a restaurant chain as a management trainee, Michael found himself in the eye of a storm.

And a what a storm it was! Despite being in a prime location, this particular restaurant was notorious for the lowest revenue across the whole chain. The previous management had created a rift within the team. All departments were operating in separate silos stoked by a spirit of revenge.

Change was urgently needed as the outlet was hurting the restaurant’s brand. Yet, despite the dysfunctional team, only two new people joined the old team: Michael and a new assistant manager. Nothing else changed, including the staff.

But the young manager had other plans. “I have never climbed a tree from the top!” was his mantra. He immediately began to dig for the root of the problem. Within seven days, he identified three key bottlenecks to the restaurant’s performance: dysfunctional team, facility maintenance and poor operations practices. These were eroding the balance sheet.

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”~ Henry Ford

His vision was to run a high performing restaurant. The goal was to revitalize his team and redirect it towards cohesion and success. With this in mind, Michael taped into the following five critical principles for his team’s success (read the other five principles in Building A Team That Matters — Part 1).

1. Invest in strategy

With the key performance bottlenecks identified, Michael know he needed to build focus, action, and evaluation into his team. The first thing he did was to spend time with each individual team member. It helped him gain an insight into their personality, what made them tick. With this knowledge, Michael was able to deploy his team to areas or duties in which they were most effective.

He also looked into the operational procedures and discovered that inventory wasn’t up to scratch. Supplies were ordered late or in quantities that could not be adequately stored on site. Customer would miss out on some items on the menu. The restaurant was not efficient. In other words, it was not achieving maximum productivity with minimum wastage and expense. The first thing Michael did was to analyze the customer needs. Then, he worked on smothering communication with the central supplies division. They ordered perishables for fresh for the day. Other consumables were kept at an operational minimum.

2. Be contagious

Michael believes he exists for something bigger than himself. He did not focus on a failed team. Rather, he had faith in their potential. In the first place, each team member was hired because of their ability to deliver. And because of this, he worked hard to help them appreciate their self-worth. Within a short time, the team started to believe that they could be much more than they thought they were.

Despite the dire situation he found him in, Michael lived his belief that everything starts and stops with leadership. He dug in and worked alongside different team members. As they rubbed shoulders, it gave him the opportunity to know them better as well as for him to train and coach them. His culture started to rub off on them. He always encouraged them to be the shakers, not the shaken.

3. Empower team to deliver

One key area that Michael worked with his team on was positive conflict. Before, any conflict was an opportunity to get back at another teammate. But now, they had to appreciate their part in the conflict before expecting their request was addressed. A sense of empowerment began to grow as team members began this reflection.

Something began to shift. Teammates were able to address the issue at hand and not attack the person behind it. It dawned on them that they could work with the little they had to grow the branch’s performance. The team now had the ability to make timely decisions regardless of the circumstance they found themselves in.

4. Promote team responsibility

As Michael’s team took more ownership of their work, they began to challenge their leader more. They felt strong enough to guide their personal growth and the direction of the branch. They demanded of Michael: “What targets have you set for the rest of us with senior management?” The team wanted to know how best to pull their weight.

With time, Michael’s team gradually took responsibility of setting their own targets. They were now in the driver’s seat. They became so efficient that they were running out of inventory before the end of the day. That was a good sign that growth was happening. Within four months of Michael stepping in, the branch had a healthy balance sheet.

5. Make service count

The team drive constant growth month-on-month because customers now appreciated their service. Previously, the team was more concerned in out doing each other. They had forgotten the reason they existed was to serve their customer. With the renewed culture of team-work, the quality of their food and service improved. Customer numbers gradually increased.

With that increased foot traffic, Michael and his team were able to surpass their monthly revenue targets. By caring about each other and their customers, a restaurant that faced imminent closure kept its doors open. What changed? Michael provided direction and gave his team a sense of purpose.

Leaders who want to succeed maximize every asset and resource they have for the benefit of their organization.” ~John C. Maxwell.

Two years later, the restaurant is still running and growing. And Michael moved on to run another restaurant within the chain in a neighboring country.

Originally published at www.leadbychoice.co on April 4, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com