As a business leader, you place a certain level of trust in your team to deliver on the vision you have for your business success. A lot of time and effort goes into hiring the right employees, but that’s only half the battle. Setting the standards for quality in terms of attitude, processes and outcomes is a longer term undertaking.
You can’t simply demand perfection and expect it to be handed to you, nor should you slip into the habit of micro-managing your team or trying to be everywhere at once. In this article, we explain our top three tips for instilling high standards in your business.
Three steps to success
There are many different ways to set high standards and cultivate strong business processes, however in our observations of successful business leaders, they all tend to have three elements in common.
Step 1 – Articulate
No matter how large or small your business, it’s essential to have a clearly articulated vision, along with core values and relevant frameworks. If you are yet to implement these in your business, asking your team to help develop them can be a valuable exercise in creating shared expectations and ownership of your business standards, and in turn, quality outcomes.
Never be afraid to be upfront about specific short-term and long-term business goals. The more transparent you can be with your team about the realities of running the business, the more they will understand and respect your decision-making. If team members have individual KPIs or agreed service and work quality standards, the key is to ensure they understand how these relate back to your vision and values and directly contribute to the overarching business goals.
Step 2 – Communicate
Just as your external marketing should communicate your vision and values, your internal communications should reiterate and reinforce the standards you expect.
Internal communications resources including staff newsletters, intranet pages or physical noticeboards provide opportunity for positive messaging around standards. A regular agenda item for team meetings and annual performance reviews for individual team members also provides opportunity to reinforce expectations and the importance of your business standards.
Timing and language are important, as is ensuring your team members are sufficiently engaged in the discussion. This is an opportunity to empower the individual and impart ownership of their success – so it’s crucial to ensure you can both agree upon and recognise whether or not the standards have been met.
Step 3 – Demonstrate
Top leaders walk the talk. They set the example for others in terms of work ethic, integrity, emotional intelligence, and quality.
And it starts with the seemingly small stuff. That is, if you have a punctuality standard that requires staff to arrive on time each day, make sure you do too. If you expect team members to listen to clients and treat each other with compassion and empathy, you’ll need to behave accordingly. It’s unrealistic to expect your team to hold themselves to a higher standard than your own.
If you are yet to articulate your business standards, add it to your ‘not urgent, but important’ list as described in our earlier article about urgency. Then when establishing your business standards, make the most of existing resources that can get you started. Try this link to the Queensland Business website.
If you already have a published set of standards, dust them off and send them to your team via your internal communications channels and proactively refer to them in team meetings.
Consider whether your KPIs or service standards have changed or need to be revised in light of recent business disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Reinforce positive actions and celebrate team achievements. If your team has achieved exceptional results or consistently high standards, consider putting them forward for an industry or business awards program. Even if you don’t bring home a trophy, the process of preparing a submission can provide valuable insights into your processes and the wider benefits of your team’s achievements.
Core Business Accountants specialise in business advice for growing and mature family-owned and small and medium-sized businesses. If you need business advice about any of the above topics, please get in touch with us on 5438 8088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.corebusiness.com.au.