Leadership Principle #10 - Stimulate Competition
Ray, service manager for a well-established tire and retread company, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"A few weeks ago, one of my serviceman dismounted 147 tires, and mounted 43 additional tires. I created an 81/2 X 11 poster using my word document program that read, "Ricardo, The King - New Worlds Record - Thank You For Your Hard Work." I put the poster on our bulletin board near the time clock where everyone would see it. The response of other service team members was, ‘We can do that much in half the time.' It's nice to have this kind of friendly competition. The stimulus worked so well that in April, our service team set a new "world's record" of $107,000 in billable service labor. Once again I put up a poster recognizing the team for their accomplishments. I also brought in pizza for the whole team. Each week I take down the old posters and hang up new posters that praise and recognize the team for their achievements regardless of the size.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I am adept at adapting the tools that we have learned in the Leadership Development Lab, including Leadership Principles #4 Acknowledgement and #10 Stimulate Competition, I create the winning combination of improved productivity, enhanced esprit de corps and increased teamwork.
"The action I call you to take is to keep and publish your scores, find innovative ways to provide acknowledgement. Be sure you are providing recognition that creates challenge and positive competition. Find the leadership principles that will help your team achieve immediate improvement and use those Leadership Principles as your starting point. Watch and listen to your team, then make adjustments as needed. If you don't get the results you were looking for, try another strategy, but don't quit trying.
"The benefit you will gain is a team willing to perform assigned tasks with enthusiasm. Your team will go the extra mile, achieve their tasks in less time, and have fun doing it. You will experience continuous improvement."
Who are the winners in this story? The
answers are pretty obvious customers didn't have to wait as long, so that's a win, and the company was able to reduce their labor costs as a percentage of sales while improving their performance and efficiency - that's a win. And most importantly, team members experienced a greater sense of accomplishment, a greater sense of achievement that's a win. Here's another question Could they have delivered this level of outstanding performance, this world's record level of performance, and failed to experience the sense of achievement and accomplishment Ray spoke of? The answer may not be as obvious, and the answer is yes. Your job as an empowering leader is to recognize the contribution, the achievement, the performance of your team members and celebrate it, draw attention to it, have fun with it. Do this and you will create a high performance team that will outdo their bests and continually improve. With continuing improvement, everyone will grow. You will maximize the value of your most important resource, your your human resource, and you will be a winner.
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