Shuffle the teams

TAKING CONTROL OF CHAOS

Shuffle the teams

By Anthony Walley, The CONFIDANT Group

A longstanding client recently approached me with a conundrum: the CEO of her restructured company issued an edict that sales had to double but headcount would stay the same.

It’s a familiar crossroad in today’s competitive business world, but I’m here to tell you there’s a sure way of navigating it successfully. The obvious impulse is to relook at your processes, your inventory, your operating costs – anything that can yield a saving or encourage a tweak in performance to boost the bottom line.

In some cases this works, but more often than not, you end up having to do more with less, sending the company and its people into a spiral of stress. A better way is to start with your people – your teams more specifically. Which individuals make up your teams, and what are their strengths?

Back at my client, it was evident early on that every team member was executing every task. Every person was doing every job, from A to Z. Using our proven analysis tools, we were quickly able to break down the different tasks in terms of the talent required. We then analysed the strengths of the company’s people: some were more proficient with processes, others more proficient with people, for example.

By shuffling the tasks amongst team members, and assigning them roles they were naturally more suited to, we could almost immediately see the improvements in efficiency and productivity, not to mention that boost in morale that comes from improved job satisfaction.

The method behind the madness is anything but random; indeed it’s a proven scientific method we’ve been using for years to reveal the latent talents in individuals and match them to the roles that suit them best. The same methods can similarly be used to group teams of individuals and assign them roles that best match the talents of the collective team.

It’s not dissimilar to the work a football manager does when joining a new club. His appointment typically follows a run of poor performances by the previous manager, or a change in direction by the club’s owners. The players at his disposal are the same players that failed the previous manager, so his task is to analyse his team and find a way to improve it without adding to the club’s headcount.

While the jury’s still out on how far we can take our client with its newfound direction, the principles are proven and sound. Like the football manager, we could well discover, following ongoing analysis, that the team or teams lack in certain areas, and new hires would greatly accelerate the company’s cause.

But the first step is always to see what you have, shuffle the deck, and if done correctly, play a better hand than before.

This article is part of a series titled ‘Taking control of chaos’. For more insight follow Anthony’s posts on our Blog or contact Anthony directly on anthony@confidant.co.za

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