The company sets higher goals year after year, but the teams still struggle with the basics. Although no stone is left unturned and a lot of work is put in, the numbers fall short of expectations. What is the reason for this and how can companies improve their performance?
The right direction
Leaders and team members need to know and understand their goals to move in the right direction. We make goals clear.
How do teams get out of the benchmark valley?
At first glance, it is usually not clear how companies get out of a slump. This is because poor performance can have many causes, which are often interlinked:
- Employees are overworked or underworked.
- The goals are not clearly stated and the team does not understand what is required of them.
- Employees identify too little with the company and do only as much as necessary.
- The dysfunctional relationship with superiors or teammates affects performance.
Because poor performance can have these and many other causes, there are no catch-all solutions. What helps is an unbiased look at the problems.
How can companies improve their performance?
The four most effective performance levers
There are numerous factors that influence performance. These four factors are the most important performance levers:
Set comprehensible goals
Managers must break down overarching corporate goals into subgoals that relate directly to day-to-day work. Team leaders should also present the goals visually so that employees can immediately recognize: “This is where I stand, this is where I need to be.”
Promote individual skills
A team is the sum of individuals with all their strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone can do everything equally well. Perhaps someone works more slowly, but achieves above-average customer satisfaction scores. Or an employee may not shine in sales, but motivates the team and drives others to better results. Every team member can be a top performer if they are assigned to the right task.
Sharing information regularly builds strong networks: “What’s new at in your team?” “What’s going on in our team?” “How can we help you?” The more operational teams are connected, the more effectively they can learn from each other, support each other, and benefit from the internal outside perspective.
Promote exchange between departments
Companies achieve their goals best when all departments pull together. The operational teams, staff units, management and also representatives of the headquarters department should regularly – at least weekly! – talk to each other about how they can achieve their goals and support each other in doing so. This regularity makes it possible to achieve overarching goals.
How this company was able to achieve its goals
At the six sites of this telecommunications group with a total of 1,500 employees, the figures fluctuate extremely. Productivity is inadequate, customers are dissatisfied and sales expectations are not being met. Meanwhile, managers and employees believe that they will never be able to achieve the goals that have been set for them no matter what.
The Group’s customer service is spread across various locations. Performance at all sites is improvable, and at some it is even very insufficient: customer meetings take too long, customers are often dissatisfied, and not enough deals are closed.
Crisis intervention and organizational development
The Group relied on us to solve the most pressing problems as quickly as possible and to bring about lasting change in the behavior of the teams.
This was followed by six months of comprehensive organizational development at the weakest site. This intervention was so successful that the rollout to all sites followed and resulted in several years of organizational development that went through various cycles.
Targeted action is missing
First, we worked with the executives and found that they were not clear on how their complex goals related to each other.
To make them understandable, we broke down the overarching goals that seemed unattainable to managers into achievable intermediate goals.
The managers were so caught up in their own problems that they overlooked the fact that their employees also did not know what the overarching goals meant for their daily work.
The numbers fluctuated almost daily, driving teams to actionism or, on the contrary, resignation. Targeted action, on the other hand, was lacking.
With our numbers/goals work methodology, we created the structures to work step by step towards the goals without being driven by day-to-day business.
Coaching for the managers
In our coaching, the executives gained confidence that they could achieve their goals if they approached it the right way.
They passed on the methods they had learned to their teams so that now they too could achieve their goals.
In our coaching sessions, we were able to show how abstract requirements become concrete actions.
- “What do I need to do as a leader?”
- “How do I conduct team meetings?”
- “How often do I run it?”
- “How and how often do I coach my employees?”
It is our task to provide concrete answers to such and similar questions. During implementation, our trainers supported the managers and demonstrated particularly relevant methods step by step.
Trainings for the teams
We supplemented the work with managers with team training. We practiced with the teams, for example,
- how to defuse a critical customer situation,
- How to prevent conversations from getting out of hand, or
- How to target conversations to close a sale.
Coaching on the Job
We then accompanied the employees in their daily work. In these on-the-job coaching sessions, we supported them in implementing what they had learned in their day-to-day work. We
- accompanied the team members during their customer meetings,
- gave immediate feedback and
- suggested further improvements.
Revenues exceed costs by 1.5 times
We were convinced from the start that we could significantly improve the team’s performance and, as is often the case, we worked on the basis of bonus-malus.
Although our success meant that the Group had to pay our agreed bonus, the increased sales and the significant reduction in customer churn exceeded the costs by a factor of 1.5 after just one year.