In this Age of Rapid Distraction, it’s going to take a focused team working together to succeed.
Imagine gathering your team together and popping champagne corks to celebrate. What are you celebrating? If you don’t know—and if your team doesn’t know and agree—you really shouldn’t spend another dollar on marketing until you do. You’re probably just throwing it away, and you worked hard for it!
Establish a baseline by asking your team one anonymous question
Giving them a deadline of 72 hours, use Survey Monkey or another online survey service to anonymously allow your employees to answer the following question (with the accompanying description underneath it):
“What is it, specifically, you believe our company is trying to make happen?”
In the description below the question, write: “See it clearly in your mind. Say it clearly in your answer. Be specific. What do you understand to be our company’s thing we’re trying to make happen?”
What’s more? Will they answer from a company’s perspective (“We’re trying to grow from $10mm in sales to $15mm in sales.”) or will it be from a customer’s perspective? (We’re trying to make sure customers have a healthy alternative for their family to eat for dinner that’s delivered directly to their home.”)
Will their answers be short-term visions or long-term?
How does preparing for this exercise make you feel? Excited? Nervous?
What does that feeling tell you about yourself?
Why are you asking them? Because we need to set a baseline of how aligned your own goal/mission is with your team’s. We’re also baby-stepping you into the idea of getting assessments and input from your team.
What Are You Going To Do With This Info?
You have three roads you can travel with the data you gathered in the previous section. Each road leads to the same place, and each one is progressively difficult but equally rewarding.
Road #1 – Travel alone.
Take the data you gathered and look for patterns. What percentage of your team actually responded? This is an indicator of employee engagement! What words/themes repeat themselves? Does a clear picture begin to emerge of your company’s direction and destination? If so, does it match your own answer? How close is it to your own?
By sitting in your office (or somewhere more inspiring) you can use this data to develop a core mission for your company—the destination to where you’re traveling together.
Using concrete language, keep your mission short and simple. Ask yourself:
A) Is what I’ve written specific?
B) Can what I’ve written be measured?
C) Does what I’ve written have a finish-line? In other words, will everyone know when we’ve gotten there?
D) Is what I’ve written realistic?
E) Does what I’ve written have a time horizon? Will my team not only know what it is we’re trying to make happen but by when?
Why? Why is this your mission? This is your world alone, my friend. You started (or inherited) this ship. Why is this your mission? How does it benefit your team and your customers to succeed in this mission?
Again, articulate this as specifically as you can. Use concrete language. Help your team see the passion behind why this mission is important to you and, subsequently, them.
What about those other two roads you mentioned?
Road #2 – Include a senior leadership team in your goal setting and planning.
Include both discussion and private work. Again, use an online survey service a few days before a half-day meeting where you gather to discuss the above. Then, give your team a few days afterward to see if anything else important pops into their heads to move, add, delete, or change. You’ll still end up with your what and your why.
Notice I specifically said “a senior leadership team.” This may not—and should not—include just management. Who on your team has been with you awhile? Who’s newer but impresses you greatly? Who are your stars? Who would lie down in front of a tank for their fellow employees and your customers?
This is your team of heroes. Assemble them. I suggest you start with no more than six to eight.
Road #3 – The slightly more daring (and organized) will once again include your entire company.
This is a complex challenge that can quickly devolve into chaos if not carefully—and exhaustively—managed. There will come a time to involve your entire team; however, we recommend the second approach for businesses with more than a dozen employees.
Hear me very carefully: That’s not to say every person on your team doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s never been more critical that everyone’s on board with where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
In your business, every perspective matters. Which is why you may also consider asking your employees this brave question.