Raving Fan Customers: Creating Customer Focused Teams Part I

What is a Customer Focused Team? The word “team” is overused in business; it gets applied to any group of humans in a work setting. However, when you define a team as everything, you end up with nothing. The best and most concise definition for corporate teams I have found comes from The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith. They define a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” The crucial words are “common purpose” and “mutually accountable.” Without these, you don’t have a team. In addition, for a team to exist there has to be adversity, challenge and tension between the team and attaining a common purpose. No adversity and challenge means no team. You do not need teams for easy tasks. Tough challenges and high performance standards, such as those associated with customer service, quality and profitability are essential for teams to come together and coalesce. Having customers consistently be raving fans of the company’s service is certainly a challenging and lofty goal. For more information about customer focused teams click...

The Fifth Truth About Teams

Teams develop in stages. It is good for participants to be aware of these stages because they normalize the experience of growing and developing into a high performance team. The stages are as follows: Stage A – This is the birth of the group and there is typically some excitement and anticipation about the potential and possibility of the group. Stage B – This is when reality sets in about how group life can be demanding and hard work. It is no longer fun and there is finger pointing between employees. Mutual accountability by most is seen as an empty concept and team members look at who to blame. This is where most teams die and where there is the need for the most support and focus. Commitment needs to be generated to work through the issues. This is also where the employee’s love of the game is needed and counted. For most groups Stage B is where the real work counts and is necessary. Stage C – Getting behind the game stage. This is when everyone begins to align behind the group performance and what needs to happen in order to allow the group to succeed. Real group performance results are for the first time seen. Stage D – This is the high performance stage, where the team is really using its group structure to produce some remarkable results. For help transitioning to Stage D, click...

The Fourth Truth About Teams

In sports, different games constitute different types of teams. Soccer, because of the nature of the game, will require a different type of team than baseball. Work related teams are similar. Depending on the work output of the team and the dynamics of the workplace, the type of work team that is required is different. The rules and dynamics that govern the work team will also be different. For help picking the right team for your project click...

The Third Truth About Teams

  The definition of real teams from The Wisdom of Teams by John Katzenbach and Douglas Smith is accurate. They define teams as a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Real teams are a basic unit of performance. Mischief comes from team members who are equally responsible for the result. This is quite different than how most of the work world is organized. In the typical work place, each employee is accountable for their job and they are often formally measured on their performance in the yearly appraisal process. No group or team performance is formally measured or expected. The pretense is that if each employee just does his or her thing it will work out perfectly. Unfortunately the work world is more complicated and in many cases customers are impacted by a group of employees. When a group takes on being mutually accountable for their customers’ experiences, the group can generate profit and customer loyalty. Looking to generate mutual accountability? Click...

The Second Truth About Teams

Teams enjoy and play games. The vast majority of employees go to work because they have to in order to survive. That is the culture most adults live in. This is different than in the world of sports. People voluntarily play the sport because they want to and like the game.   When members of teams fundamentally do not like the games or feel connected to the game the group is playing, there will be real performance issues for the group. However, when teams of employees are into the game of making their customers raving fans, magic occurs, and they start enjoying the game. Looking to enhance work team performance?  Click...