Date Published: October 08, 2022 - Last Updated 345 Days, 20 Hours, 45 Minutes ago
In recent years, the business and economic landscapes have changed. With Covid came a change in customer expectations; customers now want increased personal connections, more empathetic service, and brands focused on their needs versus wants. The Russian - Ukrainian war has impacted the global supply chain, impeding the flow of goods which has led to cost increases, product, and food shortages around the world.
With these changes, success has changed for many organizations. For instance, sales for an FCMG company have become more difficult with constantly increasing prices resulting in rising customer dissatisfaction rates. Customer satisfaction scores have become harder to achieve and customer loyalty more fleeting.
This may have your team scrambling to grasp the abrupt change and to navigate it successfully. Here are a few tips to assist you in steering your team successfully through these mercurial times.
It’s important to identify the specific challenges your team is experiencing. If you’re a relatively new leader, speak with older members of the team and/or your management team to gain information on how success was previously achieved. If you’ve been with your organization for several years, compare the performance of past years to the performance of today. Was success easy, quick, steady, regular? Which success tactics were used? What were the customer sentiments, behaviors, and patterns? Contrast these with your current performance levels and customer feedback.
This allows you to recognize the distinctive changes your team is going through. Was your team the sole market leader with customer calls flooding your lines, but now you have new competitors, and your customers are quick to contrast? Were your customers used to your prices being very stable but with recent price hikes, they are complaining?
Share insights with your whole team. Acknowledge the changed landscape. Discuss how things were, state the differences, and provide explanations for the changes. Clarify that this is happening to many companies across the world. Everyone is scrambling to get their bearings on the new business and economic realities. For instance, the inflow of competitors may be because other companies are looking for new opportunities for sustainability.
Information is power and this dialog allows your team to move from confusion and bewilderment to understanding. They are no longer overwhelmed and disoriented, and they have a chance to feel empowered. A study by Kenneth A Kovach, a professor at George Mason University showed that “feeling of being in on things” are one of the things that most employees consider important in an organization.
Your agents are struggling with how much harder things are than they used to be. They may blame the organization or management team, and this will be reflected in poor engagement, performance, and commitment.
A critical step in supporting your team is adjusting your appraisal system or incentive program to match the new market realities. Do you need to implement an agile approach to goal setting which takes into consideration the market changes? This requires setting short- to medium- term goals that can be quickly changed or adapted for relevancy. According to the Engage for Success organization, “Covid demands an agile approach to working”.
Advocate for your team within the organization as well. This means highlighting the changing landscape and pushing for organization-wide strategies and tactics to drive the business success.
We need to give our team members the light at the end of the tunnel. This means sharing new or adjusted strategies to push success. I also advise including your team in finding solutions to the challenges, by creating small groups or having a strategy session where the team brainstorms new approaches or tactics. Having an action plan will galvanize the team and give them hope.
We need to continue to push. We must push our team to succeed despite the challenges. We need to persuade our team members to not lose heart. We need to generate excitement for the new approaches. We need to spur our team to put total effort into the new tactics.
These activities are not one-offs. Based on the last few years, our economic environment will continue to change, and so will the definition of success. We need to continually carry out these steps to continuously support our team, hit our targets and goals, and drive business success.