By Vinicius Brum, partner at FALCONI
Companies have been living in an uncommonly complex time. The constant changes we have been witnessing in their business environment, especially in terms of competition, and the speed with which changes in a macroeconomic scenario have been impacting their operations have been providing managers with important moments to reflect on how to increase corporate financial results and achieve goals. Traditional revenues no longer lead to desired results, technology is no longer an element of differentiation and the funds intended for investments are not available in their entirety. How can we maintain a constant pace of improvement and generation of results, which will assure our survival?
What is behind an organization’s success in achieving even better results is the ability its collaborators have to achieve goals. This means that people need to have a method, knowledge and motivation. The main catalyst behind all this is people. Yes, our teams! They are the reason behind the success or the failure of these initiatives, which aim at improving results.
Thus, I chose to organize this topic according to what I believe to be good questions to be made to managers whenever they face a challenge and initiate an improvement process in their companies:
1. Do our teams know what needs to be done?
Challenges are what move people to seek new results. It is plausible that companies cannot reach their goals if people, the ones responsible for achieving them on a day-to-day basis, do not know what the challenges are! The strategic objectives and goals must not be secretly kept in the higher levels of the company’s organizational chart. They must be fully unfolded and involve the largest number of people, so that challenges can be shared and become feasible. When restricted to a few individuals, goals may seem unattainable, as they often represent very large problems. When unfolded and shared with all areas, involving all of our teams – including operational, we are also able to break this problem in smaller pieces, which are easily absorbed by the company.
Reaching goals is only possible when we involve the entire company by better using its resources and everyone’s abilities in order to generate results. Communication needs to be executed efficiently. Not knowing what is expected from each one of us leads to frustration and a decrease in the sense of belonging. Companies that work hard in order to make sure that everyone knows what needs to be done are giving the first set towards reaching or exceeding their goals.
2. Do our teams know how to do what needs to be done?
When receiving their goals, teams already jump into action, and often results translate into frustration for not having achieved what was expected. This happens because people frequently do not know how to do what needs to be done in order to exceed goals. However, if everyone already knew this (as one could reasonably assume), the desired results would have materialized already.
People do not know what to do because they are not organized to find out what to do, or because the related knowledge does not exist. When we are presented with a goal, an objective that requires results that differ from the ones we have today, we are actually being presented with a problem. In practical terms, changing current results and reaching a goal mean solving a problem.
Organizing ourselves in order to find out what needs to be done to solve a problem means applying a method. People need to plan before executing. Planning means knowing current problems, how they present themselves, and especially knowing their causes. Managers must encourage this exploratory process, only elaborating action plans afterwards.
By acting this way, we can make sure that knowledge is the main input applied to this improvement process. With the experience I have in companies, I believe that the biggest waste (or loss) in organizations is available (though not applied) knowledge. When knowledge available is not enough to solve goal-related problems, people ought to find knowledge outside the companies – either through outside experts, consultants, participating in training courses or technical qualifications, or visiting other companies. Please remember: organizational results originate from collaborators’ abilities to acquire and implement knowledge to processes. An action plan with dozens of improvement initiatives is not enough. Successful plans are those with only a few good actions!
3. Will our teams want or be motivated to do it?
People face difficulties that arise from the need to adapt to new result cultures. Goal demands, a potential lack of knowledge about how to achieve these goals (as discussed previously), people’s qualification in order to take on this process and “lack of time” may be perceived as aspect that prevent our teams from feeling motivated to achieve these goals.
People do not like doing thing wrong or executing tasks poorly. We all strive to be successful in our work activities. I believe that knowing what must be done and how to do it are conditions that decrease anxiety levels and direct people’s activities towards something that can actually add value and be seen as important.
Monitor your team. Be close to your team, understand the individual motivations of each team members and make sure they are catalysts of global results. Act upon misses and appreciate hits. Making mistakes means growing and learning. Resume the right path along with your team and be the leader of everyone’s professional growth and change processes. Reward. Encourage continuous and mutual learning and cooperation. Learn, teach and share. Create an environment that will motivate everyone to reach the expected results.
We have the chance to change the results of our companies today. We need to reflect upon our current management processes, define appropriate goals, share them with people and make sure they have the condition to reach them and are capable of generating new knowledge. With proper methods, techniques and motivation, our teams will be ready to promote the revolutions we expect from them and to overcome organizational challenges, assuring the sustainability of results in the long run, as well as the longevity of the company.
Text featured in the august edition of the magazine Super Varejo.