At JRB, we love sharing what we have learned in almost 10 years of business. With the New Year comes renewed attention to the importance of commitment. Many people make resolutions to develop better habits in their personal lives, but we must also recognize the importance of commitment in our businesses.
A familiar scenario: You hold a meeting with your team to discuss a breakdown of process or communication. You figure out what the issue is and resolve to do better. Everyone leaves the meeting feeling encouraged and unified, only to have to meet again two weeks later because nothing has changed.
There could be several reasons why there was no lasting change, from ineffective communication to downright laziness. Understanding the roadblocks is the first step to making progress forward. Here are four ways you can cultivate lasting and active commitment in your team.
1. Get everyone on the same page.
Each one of your team members needs to know what the goal is. This happens on multiple levels. They need to know why your business even exists – What’s the point anyways? They need to believe that what they are doing matters. They also need to understand the overarching goal of any project to which they’ve been assigned.
One way you can cultivate dedication to the greater purpose is by encouraging meaningful relationships among your team members. Taking the time to learn their strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals will give you insight into what motivates them to excel. A great way to do this is through team-building exercises.
Example: At JR Bookkeeping, we have a Team Retreat once every quarter in which we share our Vision and Mission and our strategic goals for the next 3 years. We talk about what we’ve accomplished, what has worked, what didn’t work, and how we can support each other (See point #4). We left our most recent retreat (December 2021) encouraged and on the same page!
2. Clearly communicate roles and expectations.
One of the most common breakdowns is when team members don’t know who is doing what. Maybe your team members aren’t intentionally shirking their duties; they may have just not understood what was expected of them. The solution to this problem is twofold.
First, your team members need to know what processes and outcomes they are responsible for. Discuss in detail what each person will take care of. This gives your team the tools they need to take initiative in their individual roles.
Second, get specific, individual commitments from each team member. You can record these in a central document or team management system. Each time you come together, review any incomplete or overdue commitments, which leads us to our next point:
3. Hold eachother accountable.
Group accountability breaks down if there is no personal accountability. Everyone can come up with a million excuses as to why they did not complete what they committed to, but that does no good in working towards the goal. Encourage your team (and model yourself) to take responsibility for incomplete or sub-par results.
Constructive criticism is a good thing and can be offered in a way that is kind and encouraging. If you’ve created a culture of humility and honesty, it will be easier for your team to admit when they’ve messed up. Talk about what your team member can do better next time and offer the resources to help him succeed.
Example: In addition to our Quarterly Team Retreats, we hold the following meetings weekly to stay on the same page:
Company Team meeting: We offer feedback on the progress of our work and where we can improve as well as remind everyone of the big goals.
Management meeting: We discuss what each department needs and determine how to give that support.
Executive meeting: We check in on administrative tasks and dedicate time to Development (what was discussed at our Quarterly Team Retreats).
4. Talk about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Once your project is complete, celebrate the successes your team experienced! Thank them for their hard work and encourage them to keep it up. Get specific about what you all did well, and strive to repeat those successes in the future.
Make sure, though, to also discuss the things that didn’t go so well. Ask your team what they think could be improved the next time. This includes the things that just flat-out didn’t work as well as the things that technically worked but were not as smooth as they could have been.
This type of discussion encourages initiative and ownership of the goal as well as unifies your team as you all work together.
We Can Help.
At JRB, we don’t just care about your books; we also offer small business help in areas just like this. We want your business to succeed and we would love to partner with you in making that a reality. Contact us today for your first month of services for free!
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