A competitive spirit can only carry you so far in home furnishings. After all, you can outfit your store with the hottest product lineup and all the latest technology – but if you don’t have a team with a sense of accountability, you’re going to be dead in the water.
So, how do you shift team members from ho-hum to hip-hip-hooray? Like most things, it starts with a conversation.
But first, share a clear snapshot of the company’s financial goals and objectives, along with marketing details – like corporate image and brand voice. This addresses a concern outlined by business author and transformation coach, Anne Loehr, who found that “93% of employees don’t understand their company goals to align their work appropriately.”
Once the team is up to speed, it’s time to call your crew to action.
Create a team purpose, objectives, goals and rewards.
As a group, discuss answers to questions like:
Why does this team exist?
What should we start/stop doing as a team?
Do you feel you have adequate training/feedback on assigned tasks?
Where do you need more coaching and training? Does that training come from management or a peer?
How can we work better together?
What is the benefit of exceeding the quota?
Assign roles and responsibilities associated with measurements for success.
Using the goals in Step 1 as your target, work backwards as a group to create measurable steps for:
The team as a whole
Individual team members
The more input given by your team members, the better. When employees are responsible for creating their own task lists, they’re more apt to complete them.
Communicate your expectations in a clear and concise manner.
Let everyone in your organization know exactly what is expected of them, including things like sales goals, customer relations, internal communications, teamwork/peer support and personifying the brand. Don’t leave anything unanswered or unexplained – even if it seems self-apparent. The idea is that you leave no room for ambiguity. Everyone on your team understands their role and associated tasks to help move the company ahead of the competition.
Work, rinse, repeat.
Give your staff the freedom necessary to execute on their goals. Of course, you can’t throw up your hands completely - offering a helping hand, direction and insight when necessary.
Provide frequent updates – not only to individuals, but to the group in terms of progress towards shared goals.
Foster a supportive environment where your staff supports one another and champions the other’s success.
Give “tough” feedback when necessary but keep it constructive.
Make sure your team understands that mistakes are okay - hiding behind someone else or placing blame is not.
Teach your staff to brainstorm solutions to fix the problem(s) at hand and then solicit additional feedback and/or help creating a new plan of action.
Use missed targets as fertile ground for training and additional professional development.
When you develop accountable teams, morale grows as peers begin to respect the strengths of others. Additionally, high achievers begin helping and coaching underperformers who take initiative to learn and grow. Alternately, low-initiative team members will find their way out as mediocrity and status quo are no longer acceptable parts of your business.
Begin competitive in home retail isn’t just about a glossy advertisement. It’s about empowering a team of people to take ownership of the entire company’s success. It’s motivating a sales team to exceed the standard and create a bold new goal. And it’s fostering internal relationships so that everyone pulls together as a team to exceed in sales and customer satisfaction.
When you remove the frustrations, resentments and roadblocks to your team’s success – your team is better able to develop a plan that increases accountability and create a competitive edge that not even the hottest, newest, sexiest widget can touch.