At the core of every business is an operational team that’s responsible for transforming materials, labor, and technology into the production and delivery of goods and services. Their work requires constant planning, coordinating, managing, and streamlining of facilities, equipment, and processes. With such full plates, it’s little wonder operations team members can become so focused on getting the job done, they lose sight of the greatest asset and strongest predictor of success: your people.
It’s vital to hire the right people for your operational team, treat them with dignity and respect, provide fair pay and equal benefits, and create and foster a safe and happy environment and company culture. But even when you’ve accomplished these things, there’s no guarantee operations will perform optimally. The best—and maybe only—way to ensure excellence is to actively develop your team.
Whether you’re eager to address known weaknesses or struggles in your current operations or you’re confident your team is solidly and consistently functioning well, there are always opportunities for better communication, greater efficiency, and enhanced productivity. To build and empower a truly great operational team, put tools like these to work:
Behavioral profiles. Profiling programs provide invaluable information about individual team members’ unique personalities and characteristics, ideal workflows, communication tendencies and preferences, decision-making approaches, leadership and management styles, and more. With this insight, you’ll learn to recognize and capitalize on each one’s natural strengths and contributions to the team.
Team assessments. Assessment tools such as 360 evaluations can identify team dynamics and group characteristics, examine the effects of management styles, offer a composite view of what’s working well, and identify opportunities to enhance communications. This knowledge can be used to guide group formation and interactions, establish more collaborative and efficient workflows, and improve team performance.
Team building. Skilled team-building facilitators see threads between team members, bridge communication styles, develop mutual understanding, and link systems and processes for a more bonded, cohesive, and effective group dynamic. Stronger teams are more motivated, more accountable to one another, and more likely to inspire creativity and innovation.
Training. With custom training programs to address your team’s specific needs, you can develop and strengthen employees at all levels, equipping them with skills to consistently perform at their finest.
Coaching. Expert coaching provides team leaders with systems and strategies for setting and achieving meaningful goals and objectives, overcoming barriers and resolving conflict, developing interpersonal and management styles, driving change, and more.
These tools and expertise—along with the deepened understanding, heightened camaraderie, and boosted morale that come with them—will immeasurably strengthen your team and make your operations more impactful than ever.
Chuck McPherson is a partner at Leap Solutions in Santa Rosa, Calif., a business management consulting firm that delivers resources, solutions, and strategies for empowering businesses by empowering the people in them. He’s transformed teams of all sizes through organizational effectiveness, change management, strategic planning, and professional development initiatives.