Had to write an extra article once again and share my thoughts on an article I read tonight about Amazon and a program they started that asks the employees a question every morning to get to know they and their thoughts better. Amazon. The company with a kazillion employees. In our teams we may have from 20 to 300 employees, so with that difference we should then know our own teams much better, right? Yet time after time, we put policies, procedures, sales plans, pricing, etc. into place never asking those who are in the trenches and experiencing it day after day what their thoughts are. We absolutely have no idea what our staff thinks, and we assume they are happy because…well, they’re working for sports so of course they should be happy, right?
When I’m with a team, I encourage them to start their day with a morning huddle…3 minutes or so. The staff should have ownership of this. Set a revenue goal for the day. Provide a sales tip for the day. Set the power hours. Help start the day with focus. Yet so many teams try it for a week and drop it, expecting staff to come in and simply ‘get started.’ We all know how that goes.
So we go back to ‘telling’…telling our team what WE decided they would sell for the upcoming year; telling our team what WE decided price points should be, telling our team what we believe their revenue goal should be, telling our team how to market and what WE approve for promo days, telling, telling, telling. After a while, our staff becomes immune to the telling. The passion leaves. The energy leaves. Going through the motions start. Culture deteriorates. There is a huge disconnect between leading and managing as well as the worker bees. Leadership views their role as analyzing and making the decisions and view the sales and marketing roles as carrying out their decisions. Question: when is the last time leadership has actively got on the phone, had a meeting and actually sold? When is the last time leadership has put together a marketing plan and carried it out to understand how it is being received? When is the last time leadership has serviced a client?
After reading about Amazon, it came to me that this is something we should be doing in our teams. Perhaps not every day, but certainly once a week. People should not be afraid to answer honestly. What you want is honest and true feedback. Do you feel we have too many meetings? Do you feel excited rolling out the new season plans each year? Do you feel there should be more input from sales, marketing in the planning process for an upcoming year? Should we have quarterly meetings to review new ideas? Should we have think tanks quarterly where staff can present to leadership new ideas for sales/marketing? How can we better service our clients? Do you feel our ‘perks’ for our fans are working? Why/not? Etc. etc. etc. Even more, what if employees submitted questions and some of those were used. Believe it or not, our employees have a lot on their minds but are often afraid to say it. How can we be successful or want to help move the organization forward if we are afraid to offer ideas?
These are the things that should be gone over in leadership meetings. Staff should be invited to bring ideas to the table. Leadership meetings can be analytical, however, they need to be human also, similar to human resources vs human resources. What a model program says we should do and what our fan base accepts are often two entirely different things. Is our staff really happy selling what WE put in place for them?
Do we really know our culture? Do we really know how our staff thinks? Are we even allowing them to think? Times have changed. People want to offer input. We’re not selling widgets that are needed. We are selling entertainment. We should be having fun. We should be eager to hit those phones and share new ideas of plans. We want to be excited to share something we had a hand in.
Let’s make our staff part of the process. Let’s ask questions. More importantly, let’s listen.
Kathy Burrows, President, SOS…Sold Out Seating
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