This rings very true when working with teams, as well. If there are too many priorities, it leaves our team members feeling confused, frustrated, and never making the progress we want.
This is even more prevalent when it comes to the busy seasons in our business. We’ve all been to the retail stores where it’s clear there’s no specific direction or priority. Things are strewn all over the place, lines are backed up everywhere, and employees are running around looking frazzled, or worse, as if they might dart out the door at any moment. The image below is how McKeown visually represents this in Essentialism: This is a busy time of year. But I probably don’t have to tell you that!
As a matter of fact, you likely don’t have a ton of time to sit around reading blog posts right now, so I’ll cut right to the chase.
It can be a struggle to maintain your team’s momentum through busy seasons, especially when the days are long, patience is short, and the hustle and bustle is too hustley and bustley.
Today, I’m sharing 3 easy ways to keep up your team’s momentum going strong through the busiest time of the year (whether that’s the holiday season or another busy time of year!).
Disclaimer: Before we dive in, I wanted to let you know that there are some affiliate links in this post. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I have personally used and found value in. This is one way I earn income to provide for my family!
#1: Be Present
During the holidays, leaders have a tendency to check out. Not because we don’t care, but because we’re busy. We have a million things on our plates and only so much time to commit to each of them. Clients and other leaders often say to me, “I just want a team of people who get stuff done – no questions asked! Is that too much to expect?”
No, not per se, but you do have a role to play, as well. Everything that happens in your business is a direct reflection of your leadership. The more present you are, the more your employees will care about your business and the more smoothly things will run. This all ultimately drives the momentum within your team.
By staying present, you have the opportunity to provide guidance in the moment, make sure everyone is staying focused on what’s most important, and troubleshoot issues as soon as they arise, which leads to avoiding bigger issues later on.
During the holiday (or other busy) season, your job is to provide clarity, direction, and focus. Trying to do anything else is a disservice to your team, your customers, and your business.
Below are four questions that you can ask yourself to help you get present with your team:
- How will I get present this season? What does that look like for me and my team?
- What distractions do I need to eliminate, so I can be fully available to my team?
- Are there any projects I need to postpone until after the holidays?
- What distractions do I need to eliminate for my team?
In the next tip, we’ll talk about how to create even more focus with your team now that you’re fully present.
#2: Establish One Priority
One of the most impactful books I’ve read in the past two years is Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, which was recommended to me by my dear friend Kathryn Hofer of Modern Planner. It truly changed the entire way I approach life and business.
In the book, McKeown talks about how we expend so much energy working on too many projects at once, thus making little or no progress in any of the areas at all. This can lead to frustration, feelings of defeat, and never quite accomplishing what we want.
Can you feel the anxiety of what running a business and team is like without a clear focus or priority? I did when I first saw this image and it made me shudder, because this is exactly how I was operating at the time! Maybe the same is true for you.
The busy season is not the time to:
- launch eleventy-three new programs, services or offers,
- completely overhaul your business, or
- change all your policies + procedures.
The busy season is the time to focus on what matters most, like creating a seamless experience for your customers that will leave them raving and wishing everyone else would get it together!
Focus creates clarity which builds momentum and leads to results!! By identifying one priority, we help to create clarity for our team. They know exactly what to work on and are aligned in that one goal. This is how Greg McKeown represents this focus in Essentialism:
Wow, what a difference, right?! When you create one priority and you get your team focused around that one priority, their energy is poured into what matters most and that’s what drives results beyond your wildest imagination!
“Less, but better.” – Greg McKeown
Below are some steps you can take to identify your top priority (yes, singular – one priority!) and get your team focused in the right direction:
- Brainstorm your 5 biggest priorities right now.
- Now rank them in order of most important (during the holiday season) to least important. What is your TOP 1 PRIORITY?
- What does focusing on this priority look like? sound like? Feel like?
- How will you communicate this priority with your team?
- What can you do to ensure your whole team stays focused on this priority?
In the next tip, let’s talk about your most important priority!
#3: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
This tip is SO important, I just had to say it three times (and I’ve written about it before)! Your biggest priority (after getting present and identifying the top priority for your team) is to communicate.
Communication is key to everything your team will do – or won’t do. This isn’t just during the holiday season, but it becomes even more pertinent when business is booming.
Communication is what helps keep everyone focused on the top priority, knowing what’s expected of them, and understanding how the business and team are performing.
Communication drives momentum.
If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to think back on a time when you worked at a job and your boss or supervisor never communicated with you. What was that like? Perhaps you’ve always been motivated to do a good job because that’s just who you are, but did you feel motivated to go above and beyond? Probably not. Likely, this lack of communication led to feeling frustrated, out of the loop, and apathetic.
I’ve sat across from employees during my corporate HR days who said things like, “If my boss doesn’t care enough to talk to me, why should I care enough to do any more than expected?”
You know, they were right. Why should they care? It’s not their business. As long as they were meeting the minimum expectation, they weren’t in any danger of losing their job. So, why care?
Don’t let this be the reality for your team. If you want a team of employees who care about your business, you have to communicate with them! Communication is how you get that discretionary effort (going above and beyond the minimum expectation) you so wish your team gave you.
An important note to keep in mind is that face-to-face communication is the most valuable, while texting and email is the least valuable. If you have a remote team, it will pay dividends to make time for hopping on a video conference regularly!
Below are 3 quick and simple ways to up your communication game with your team this holiday season:
- Open Door Policy: This is something I encourage all of my clients to implement! But it’s more than simply believing you have an open door policy – you have to actively support that you do. This might look like:
- Letting your team know to come to you with questions or concerns
- Encouraging your team to pitch you their best ideas to improve operations
- Reading body language and approaching team members individually
One word of caution on implementing an open door policy. An open door policy doesn’t give your team free reign and access to you 100% of the time, whenver they want. It simply means they may bring any questions, concerns, or ideas to your attention and you’re willing to listen. Often times, leaders find they’ve created a world with no boundaries when it comes to this policy. Set some parameters with your team members, like “during office hours” or even set up some specific “open door hours” where your team can come chat with you. This will make sure that your time and needs are respected, and your team gets the support they need, as well.
- Team Huddles: Just like it sounds, these meetings are taken right from the sports playbook. Team members gather around for quick, informative chats to make sure they’re aligned on what they should be doing. Implement these meetings however you see fit – a quick 5-minute meeting at the start of the day or shift change can make all the difference in creating a focused, productive team! (And yes, you can easily do this with your virtual team too via Zoom or a simple Slack Channel conversation. 😉)
- Scheduled Coffee Breaks: Yes, I’m serious! In a study by Harvard Business Review, they discovered that “social time turns out to be deeply critical to team performance, often accounting for more than 50% of positive changes in communication patterns.” It’s hard to ignore that kind of data, right? Coffee breaks allow for more informal communication and team building, which leads to employees building stronger bonds and working together better. Win-win!
It can be hard to stay motivated yourself during busy seasons, let alone be responsible for keeping up the momentum for everyone on your team. I want to encourage you to make time this holiday season to focus on your own well-being so you can stay motivated even when you’re just not feeling it! This will make a big difference in how you show up for your team, customers, and business.
I’ll leave you with this one last though: You’re doing a great job! You really are. You’re learning how to navigate this whole leadership journey and you’re figuring things out as you go. That’s something to be proud of, because it’s no easy task. Especially during one of the biggest times of the year. Don’t worry about being perfect or having all the answers. Just be humble, open, and honest with your team and you’ll find that their respect for you will be tenfold.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season and December in whatever way you celebrate (or don’t)!