Five Ways Forward-Thinking Leaders Are Using The Recession To Build and Reposition Their Teams for Rapid Growth
Over the past eight weeks, I have interviewing CEO's of Team Cultures for my upcoming book and have learned some great tips to share with you about how they are strategically benefiting from the downturn in the economy. Just like the TIGERS values, these tips offer common sense solutions that many individualistic cultures will find difficult to implement due to burdensome hierarchies and competitive infrastructure.
Fortunately, this is not the case for team cultures, which tend to be small to medium sized businesses with a loyal and entrepreneurial workforce that is cross trained and equipped to solve difficult problems at the lowest level of operation. Even in difficult economic times, their workforce is committed to winning as a team and is implementing energizing strategies without the grief, guilt and low morale associated with layoffs and career uncertainty.
The following is a list of how forward-thinking leaders are using the recession to their benefit and are building and repositioning their teams for rapid recovery.
1. Surveying and contacting existing customers
When business is bustling, it is often difficult to stop to sharpen the saw to determine what the company is doing correctly and to ask customers how service can be improved; how products can be improved; and, if customers had a wish list, what new products or services would benefit them.
Likewise, it is also difficult to take the time to initiate a phone call and add the personal touch to build loyal relationships. If through surveying and personal contact, a disappointment is discovered, there is no better time than now to correct perceptions and deliver over the top customer service, which can result in new orders.
2. Building new sales and customer service opportunities
Once surveying and customer connecting is under way, building relationships gives team members the opportunity to discover from the customer's perspective what the customer's next growth strategies and service requirements will be. Team culture companies can then refine or research additional niches if it makes good strategic sense for collaborative growth benefit.
For example, one internet company is taking the time to train client employees on how to use social networks to build business during the recession. The goal is to build ongoing website and internet marketing business growth.
3. Practicing employee skill building with client companies
The same internet company that is teaching social networking to client companies is also training newer team members to train and mentor new employees. But since the company is not currently hiring and their training and development motto is "Use it or loose it", they are using new skills to help client companies grow during the recession.
For example, training and mentoring is a strategic on-boarding procedure the internet company uses when hiring new team members. However, the most horizontally trained team members will be needed to serve the next rapid business growth stage. Therefore, training junior team members on how to train and mentor future employees while practicing the skills they learn on existing clients helps the company reinforce systems, procedures and customer service for future rapid growth.
4. Investing in succession leadership training for key staff.
Often the first thing individualistic companies cut during a recession is training. The next thing is employees.
Leaders of team cultures know how difficult it is hire new employees who fit well with existing teams. Therefore, these leaders do everything they can to keep existing employees and to promote from within.
For example, one public relations company recently launched a vigorous 360 performance review to determine which senior team members are best suited for partnership status in preparation for the CEO's planned retirement.
5. Combining business planning with problem solving for rapid growth positioning.
Team culture leaders are focusing on basic team systems and processes that grew on their own without much guidance when business was good. By reviewing and refining those processes that drive the business and culling those that do not, companies are improving operations.
There are many more tips that we will be sharing with our TIGERS Inner Circle Team Members. For now though, recessions can serve business expansion when leaders take action on common sense strategies that build customer relationships, explore new niches, refine systems, improve procedures and develop team members.