When it comes to customer service expertise and creating customer-focused cultures, my professional colleague and friend Jeff Mowatt didn’t just read the book – he wrote it! He’s the author of the best-selling business books, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month and Influence with Ease. In a recent conversation, I realized that while Jeff has guested on the blog previously, the last time was in December 2010 when he penned Use your intuition to make better strategic decisions. Needless to say, it’s been wa-a-a-ay too long, so I was delighted when he agreed to write a guest post again today. Jeff, let’s not wait this long the next time!
How do I get my staff to get along?
“I can accept it when one of my employees makes a mistake. What I don’t have patience for is when my employees don’t play well with one another.” This was a client, a business owner with 45 employees, who explained, “When there’s a problem with a customer, employees focus more on blaming other departments and covering their own backsides than stepping-up to help each other to resolve the problem. We need a stronger commitment to teamwork.”
Over the many years that I’ve helped teams to strengthen trust with their customers and co-workers, I’ve discovered that many managers struggle with the question of, “How do I get my staff to get along? The answer, I believe is this – Focus on the Real goal.
On a men’s pro hockey team, imagine the potential that exists among teammates for rivalries and conflicts. These gifted athletes have learned from boyhood that they are (physically at least) superior. They are wealthy, admired, and naturally want to be the team’s shining star. When they play on opposite teams, a single offhand remark can literally lead to fisticuffs. Yet when they play on the same team, these individuals set their differences (and their potentially massive egos) aside, because they all share a common purpose – to win games.
Similarly in your workplace, when employees are so focused on achieving their goal – delighting internal and external customers – they no longer have time to be distracted by minor interpersonal issues. As they say in Texas, a dog on the hunt doesn’t know it has fleas.
Teamwork is not a goal, it is a by-product
Trying to enhance teamwork is like trying to fall asleep. You can’t (and shouldn’t) force it. Teamwork is not a goal – it is a by-product of your organization creating a culture that is obsessed with delighting customers. You end-up with devoted customers and reduced conflicts. That means increased financial security and ultimately, better returns for everyone including employees. The bonus of cultivating a customer-focused culture is employees won’t have the time or attention to bother with the proverbial fleas of interpersonal pettiness. The bottom line is this – managers achieve a more motivated and cooperative workforce when they focus less on teamwork itself, and more on delighting customers and coworkers.
Jeff just gave us yet one more reason to create a customer-focused workplace culture. But what do you think? Is teamwork in fact a just a positive by-product of a customer-focused culture, or should it be a goal unto itself? Your thoughts and perspectives welcomed.
Jeff’s post above is based on his bestselling book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit his website at www.jeffmowatt.com.