A company’s success is made to a great extent by the strength of its employees. The BDP Experience, a pledge of nearly 4850 people to provide unwavering excellence to our customers, day in and day out, is all about people! It’s about creating high performing teams, who are strongly connected to each other. All these teams have an impact, a story to tell, and all have the promise to deliver and commit to service excellence. In my recent blog, ‘The Perfect Recipe for Operational Excellence’, I stated that OPEX, a powerful management style, cannot stand alone. It requires the right amount of different ingredients: people management, project management, Lean Six Sigma tactics, (learning) experience, all combined with positive thinking and persistent action. The most powerful ingredient to me is managing a high performing team.
Don’t dream about success, but act to be successful!
Without having the right people selected for the right job and responsibility, you’ll never find the energy, drive or knowledge to delight your customer. A statement that resonates with me, in particular, is: “Work together and allow a team to excel.”
A well-performing team is critical and must ask itself, ‘How can we differentiate from the competition?” A great team does this on a daily basis, and doesn’t merely dream of having success, but acts to be successful, and applies this success to create disruptive solutions.
Easy? … absolutely not. It takes time, experience and much energy and effort. Every team needs a leader pointing them in the right direction. A hands-on person with positive thinking and persistent action, who can inspire, energize, decide and listen, and who allows the team members to be creative and make a difference. Every problem or challenge presents an opportunity to improve.
With almost 25 years of management experience, I’ve learned many a lesson from difficult situations and challenges. To turn these experiences into learning experiences, I use this knowledge to help build a strong team. To me, 6 criteria are essential:
1.) Character is a must!
The ‘character’ of your team is key. Each employee shares a style and specific behavioral characteristics. Strive for the ideal balance! Find those who are daring, decisive, direct and driven, those who are imaginative, influential, intuitive an inspirational, those employees who are sincere, steadfast, sympathetic, and satisfied and finally, find teammates who are cautious, critical, compliant and consistent. A team with the right character is an ideal breeding ground to learn and develop, individually, but also as a team.
2.) Inspire trust and spark curiosity!
Inspire your team, build confidence and make them curious about the unknown. Trust and curiosity will encourage them to leave their comfort zone. This move forward must be supported with the right training to enable their full talent, increasing the team’s knowledge. Well-educated, confident and curious team members come with the right questions, have their own voice, and can be your creative eye to further develop the Business.
3.) Make time to communicate and make it understandable!
You may be thinking, it’s not easy to combine busy operations with a meaningful and timely communication. Indeed, this is one of the most difficult and time-consuming rules, but at the same time a very crucial one. Make time, be disciplined and ensure all is understandable! This cannot be stressed enough. The team must be on the same proverbial page, at all times. Therefore, do not overcomplicate, but also do not minimize.
4.) Disrupt Through Innovation!
Routine is important, but teams driving routine are the same as standing still or even going backward in some cases. The world and our customer base are always changing. In this fast-moving environment, survival is dependent on our ability to move with our customer needs. This demands a flexible and critical mindset of the team. Imagine the power if you cannot only meet expectations but also support, guide your customer to be ahead of the game, allowing them to differentiate from the competition.
5.) A happy team runs that extra mile!
Work together as a team, and never forget to have fun! Strive for a good balance between your professional and private life. Be aware and respect that this might be different for each team member. Find moments to relax, but also know that expectations must be met. A happy team is one that is willing to run the extra mile in any situation, and especially when the business demands it.
6.) The Customer: the team’s referee!
How do you know your team is performing well and meeting expectations? Of course, this can be measured, but ultimately - the customer dictates the team’s success. The customer’s perception is most important, their voice will guide and further challenge you as a team. You would be surprised by the power, the energy released, when a team’s performance is recognized by its customer. Such a team is excited and eager to run even faster!
These principles certainly will help you to create a high-performing team and if done at all echelons, you will have a very strong foundation to exceed your customer’s expectations. By practicing these principles, BDP has been able to position ourselves as a leader in growth, innovation, talent, and core values within the logistics industry.