The Essentials for Teamwork in any Business

This months tip again comes courtesy of Ken Burgin of Profitable Hospitality.

Good teamwork isn't the result of luck. Just throwing a bunch of nice people together wont necessarily create a team that will produce good results, in fact some teams are little more than parties working at the speed of the slowest person. So what are the essential elements of a team that is productive and keeps its members loyal and motivated?

1. There are clear GOALS staff and management know the purpose of their work and the business. It may be a simple mission statement - good food and good times, fast, fresh and healthy cuisine with great service or the best seafood in town. Other goals may be measurable eg serving 200 customers for breakfast every day, or keeping food costs below 26%.

2. All team members are INVOLVED - all talents and skills are used. If you have people who arent part of the action or who are grumbling in the background, investigate. They need to join the programme or move on to somewhere they will enjoy more.

3. There are LEADERS (formal and informal) and they make sure things happen. Clear and consistent leadership gives reassurance to less experienced staff, and provides a captain to turn to if there are problems. Teams without leaders rarely last long, and even some business owners pretend its not their job. In the early stages, your position as owner or manager thrusts you into the leadership role you cant avoid it!

4. There are team members who make sure the necessary TASKS are carried out they make sure orders arrive, food is ready, the bar is stocked and everything is ready for service. Sometimes a little on the serious side, but essential for making sure the work gets done.

5. There are team members who look after the PROCESSES they make sure there are good feeling amongst team members and customers. They smile lot, and are most focused on giving your customers a great time and making friends with other staff. Occasionally a little forgetful with essential tasks, but we couldnt do without them!

6. FUN is OK! This is the hospitality industry, and the happiness and good spirits of your business will act as a magnet to customers. Do you have a team of happy people who enjoy their work and their life?

7. There are clear RULES, preferably in writing. Management and staff all play according to the rulebook, and when rules are broken there are consequences. At a party you can do your own thing, but in a good team there are boundaries.

8. PROBLEMS are solved when they come up - conflicts and disagreements are worked out quickly. Repairs are carried out promptly. When the pressure is on or sales are down, tensions may come to the surface. Many team members do not have the skills, confidence or experience to handle conflict with other staff, and will need guidance or leadership from management. If its not handled, you will start to lose customers and the staff you most value.

9. TIME is used efficiently. Equipment, work areas and rosters are all organised to let staff get on with the job. Good staff are frustrated by inefficiency and disorganisation, and your wage bill will soar if time-management is not a priority.

10. Activities and results are REVIEWED and measured. There is feedback on how things are going. Weekly covers and sales results, per-head spending, cost percentages, the success of marketing campaigns. If its not measured it really can't be managed. Short meetings are held regularly to check progress and share ideas. As well as having plenty of answers, good managers regularly ask team members what do you think?

11. One more. Alcohol does not create teamwork! A friendly drink with colleagues can be enjoyable, but start your new business dry. Drinks are on elsewhere at the local hotel or bar. Your duty of care means you need to take a fairly tough line with staffies.

For more articles by Ken Burgin click here