Charlie Brown said, “Potential is man’s greatest burden.” Charles Shultz’ insight also is applicable to kitchen and bath showroom owners whose fundamental roles include putting their team members in the best position to succeed. Top performers are not necessarily those with the most experience or highest credentials. The rainmakers in organizations are those team members with the ability to learn and grow faster than their peers, writes Robert Glazer in his new book, Elevate Your Team: Empower Your Team To Reach Their Full Potential and Build a Business That Builds Leaders.
Glazer claims there are four areas where top performers excel. The first is a team member’s recognition of who they are, what they want and their core values. The second trait is the ability to think, learn, plan, and execute. Physical wellbeing is third and that includes health and physical performance. The last trait is an emotional mindset or how well someone reacts to change, the quality of their relationships and their emotional compass.
It's easy for a business owner to tell their teams to work smarter not harder. It’s much more difficult to teach them how to achieve that goal. One is to lead by example. If you are in the showroom seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, what message does that send to your team? A valuable lesson learned from COVID, is that it is in everyone’s best interest to provide team members with flexibility of where and when they work within reason. Owners found that their team would meet their goals and deadlines even if they did not physically appear in the showroom 40 hours a week. Team members should be recognized and rewarded for performance not the number of hours clocked.
Learn how to provide feedback to team members. Personal or character attacks typically result in defensive postures and virtually eliminate the possibility of a learning experience. If you do not believe that your showroom manager or the person you are grooming to take over the business is strategic enough, recognize that is something that they are not likely to change. A more effective approach, asserts Glazer, is to provide specific examples of efforts that could have incorporated more strategic thinking or could have been more strategic.
Glazer recommends using a feedback format that involves explaining the specific situation, the problem or behavior that needs to be addressed or improved in the future, and the reasons why that behavior resulted in a less than satisfactory outcome.
Evaluate potential new team members not only on their existing experience but their growth capacity. When reviewing a resume, look at the career path. Has the individual been promoted quickly or multiple times? Have they had different roles, worked on a variety of different projects and did they demonstrate a willingness to help their company meet its needs at different times?
Asking potential new team members to identify the books that they have recently read, what courses or professional development programs have had the biggest impact or what they have done to build their skill set, will provide valuable insights into someone’s ability or willingness to learn new things and grow personally and professionally.
Don’t view multiple job changes in a short period of time necessarily as a negative. Determine if the reason for changing jobs was the result of being recruited by businesses that wanted them instead of change based on the belief that the next pasture will automatically be greener.