Written by Wayne Griffiths from Raffino Business Solutions.

Having a productive and highly energised team is one of the foundation stones or critical success factors of a great business. In fact it can often be the primary difference between whether a business succeeds or fails, particularly in highly competitive industries.

To build a great business or refine an existing one, you need to build a really good team of people and have them all focussed and working on the things that matter. If you have been or are involved in a business where this isn’t occurring, then you know first-hand how difficult things can get.

There is a way of giving yourself the best opportunity to create a highly productive and energised team. I call it the ‘Five Rights’ model.It’s about getting the right people, in the right roles, working on the right things, the right way, with the right resources. When considering your organisational structure, use the following framework or model to assist you to implement the structural changes into your business that you require.

1. The Right People

Recruiting the right people into your business is fundamental. Everyone in the business must share the same core values. That doesn’t mean that they need to have similar personality profiles. Shared values over time become the culture of the business, ‘the way we do things around here’. They are the things that guide the smooth operation of the business. We all know how toxic it can make the work environment when a team member doesn’t fit the desired culture. So always recruit based on values and attitude, as opposed to recruiting just on skills and experience.

If you haven’t done so, getting the team together to define and agree the businesses core values is a terrific exercise in collaboration, and allows employees to share in and take ownership of the desired culture. Core values should not just be a list of words, but a description or explanation of the ideal behaviour. An example could be; ‘We gladly accept and adapt to new challenges, roles and responsibilities, and constantly look for things to do to improve the business.’

2. In the Right Roles

Consider really carefully what human resources are required for each area of the business. Getting the right balance between ‘revenue generating’ and ‘non-revenue generating’ people is critical. In other words you need to have enough people to market, sell and produce the products or services, and then enough people to be able to administer the business efficiently. If the balance is upset, the business will suffer financially.

When you are recruiting make sure as best you can that the candidate has the appropriate skills and experience to perform the role. This means that you must write a detailed Position Description for the role before you recruit, not after. Use reference checks to check the skills, experience, values and attitude of the candidate before you give them the job. Always ensure you have a six month probation period as part of the employment agreement so it gives you the opportunity to see their ‘true colours’. If you don’t like what you see, get rid of them quickly.

It’s also good business practice to know a candidate’s personality profile before they are appointed. There are a number of inexpensive profiling tools you can use to do this, such as The Personality Compass™. You don’t want to be appointing someone with a ‘West’ personality profile (creative, spontaneous, impulsive) into an ‘East’ administrative role, where the position holder needs to be inherently detailed, analytical and organised. That’s a recipe for disaster.

3. Working on the Right Things

productiveIf you have the right people in the right roles then the next thing is to ensure they are working on the things that matter; the things that are actually important to the success of the business, not the things that they ‘like’ doing. It is human nature to gravitate towards the things that we like doing, the things that make us feel good, but quite often these are not the things that are critical to business success. An example of this might be ensuring the sales team is focussed on selling higher margin products, instead of the more easy to sell lower margin products. Another example might be ensuring the sales team is following up all quotes or proposals within a certain timeframe. We all know that a good quote follow-up process improves the conversion rate substantially. Once again these may be the ‘harder’ things to do but they are absolutely critical to business success.

Which brings me to my next point, you must have a list of critical success factors for your business and you must share them with your team, and discuss them on a regular basis. This is about educating the team as to what is important. It is difficult for most employees to get a holistic view of the business, to understand how the parts fit together to make the whole. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, most employees have never been business owners and therefore just don’t understand it. Secondly they may have no experience or skills in the other business areas outside of what they do. Regularly sharing the critical success factors with your team will get them focussed on what’s important. You can also keep highlighting the most important duties or tasks on their Position Description to ensure they are using their time effectively, and improving their productivity.

4. The Right Way

This is where the people and the systems come together. Systems run the business and people run the systems. They go together like peas and carrots. How many times do you see people performing the same task in a different way? This is OK, except when it takes two or three times longer, contributes to quality issues, and holds up product or service delivery! That is why you must have written procedures for all key tasks. The procedure will be the ‘best way so far’ to do the task. It will enable consistency in the way things are done, and will enable staff to be cross trained to reduce business risk should someone leave, or to cover for someone while they are on holiday.

One starting place for writing procedures is the Position Description. If the Position Descriptions are detailed enough, it is quite easy to identify key procedures from them. Once again think about those tasks which are critical to the success of the business, and ensure as a minimum you have procedures in place for those tasks. The procedures should be in a standard format, be easy to follow, and they should be easy to find; therefore they must be housed in the electronic filing system in a structure where everyone can retrieve them quickly and easily. I have seen some businesses where collectively all employees were spending two hours a day just locating and retrieving files. This translated to a revenue opportunity cost of $300 per day, or what finally woke them up, $72,000 a year.

5. With the Right Resources

Finally you must ensure you are providing the team with all the tools and resources they require to be productive, energised and successful. If the team is successful then the business will be successful. Do you have suitable hardware and software in place? Does the sales team have appropriate sales tools? Is there any training required to improve current skills or teach new skills? Is there a good performance management or feedback system in place? Do you have the appropriate leadership skills to motivate and nurture your team, and do you have KPI’s in place to measure their productivity? Is their work environment suitable?

As a change management tool, the ‘Five Rights’ model really works. It will allow you to structure your business so you have a highly productive and energised team. It will allow you to pursue a differentiation strategy based around providing an exceptional customer experience so you can stand out from the crowd. And at the end of the day if your team is more productive, your business will be more profitable.

Written by Wayne Griffiths from Raffino Business Solutions. If you want to know more talk with Wayne on 0408 773 817 or wayne@raffino.com.au