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Andi Gray: How to build a strong management team

Andi GrayI have several good, strong managers. They all have opinions about what we should be doing and often their opinions conflict. Strong personalities get in the way of effective cooperation. I’m tired of wasting energy trying to pull everyone together. I need some fresh ideas on how best to unify the group to get the most out of them and how to increase their sense of satisfaction by doing that.

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Strong, capable leaders are essential for any privately held company that’s committed to growing. Unify the team with goals. Organize functions to eliminate duplication and conflict. Hold regular planning meetings to gather input. Slow down enough to give people time to get on board. Use incentives to get the point across that collaboration is essential. 

As the business grows you as the business owner can’t do it all. You need people around you who are willing to make decisions, take actions and be accountable. You also need to bring all of those strong players together and get them on the same page. Do that by providing them with overall direction on where you want things to go but let them work through the details. 

Gather input from everyone on the management team as to what the company’s overall goals should be. Focus on growth of revenue, expansion of client opportunities, increasing awareness of the company’s products and services, providing clients with a great price-to-value quality proposition and ensuring that the company’s employees are well cared for and rewarded for outstanding performance. Ask your managers to define more specifically what each of those goals means to your company. Allow some debate, then decide on the goals, put them in writing and ask the team to get to work on how best to implement those goals. 

Divide jobs so that your managers aren’t stepping on each other’s toes. You can organize by function – for example, sales and operations. You can organize geographically if you’re in more than one location. Keep in mind that going with the geographic option may result in less uniformity in terms of policies companywide as different managers choose different routes to take to get to the end goals. 

Bring your managers together regularly to plan and share information. Ask for updates on what’s working, what’s not working and what’s coming up next. Think of yourself as the orchestra director, getting the various parts of the orchestra to play together by speeding people up, slowing people down and asking people to speak up or tone it down. 

Instead of making spur-of-the-moment decisions, take the time to discuss next steps, debate best methods and allow managers to adjust to new suggestions. Getting multiple points of view usually adds to the quality of decisions being made, but runs counter to the entrepreneurial mind-set of getting stuff done quickly. It’s an adjustment that every business owner benefits from making. Make sure that team members are held accountable for showing appreciation for each other, respecting that differences are valuable and for allowing each other to contribute. 

Unify your team by laying out a bonus plan that rewards everyone for achieving the overall goals. Eliminate geographic or vertical conflict that comes because individual managers get rewarded for individual performance without regard for how the company is doing as a whole. Set up a bonus pool. Make one set of goals and divide up the pool based on overall contribution to achieving those goals. Not sure how to do that? Give us a call. Be happy to give you some advice. 

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “The Catalyst Effect, 12 Skills and Behaviors to Boost Your Impact and Elevate Team Performance” by Jerry Toomer, Craig Caldwell, Steve Weitzenkorn and Chelsea Clark. 

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.

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