Benchmark Business Group

Do You have a Winning Team?

May 15, 2018

In a little less than a month, winning baseball teams from across the states will be participating in the College World Series. As we watched the teams compete for their spot, we began to think about the structures in baseball that allow teams to excel. In doing so, we identified six structures that financial service industries need to allow their teams to excel.
  1. Know the rules and standards - Can you imagine a baseball game without rules? Even with rules there are judgement calls such as was that really a strike? But thankfully, there are rules and standards that help make even the judgement calls more consistent and fair. In your business, there needs to be rules for how to work (systems and processes) and rules for the team (employee handbook). Putting these in place eliminates chaos and creates a consistent and fair environment for clients and employees. 
  2. Everyone knows their position and where each position plays on the field - Team sports, like baseball, work when everyone knows their position and where they need to be on the field. Moving out of position can cause chaos and errors. In the financial services industry, positions are not always clearly defined. Where does sales end and service begin? When does service need to bring in the salesperson? If not defined, two things can happen. Items may be dropped or people may work on items they shouldn't. This causes capacity issues, licensing issues, and a greater risk for not servicing clients. To prevent these from happening, your business should have position descriptions in place to ensure that everyone on your team knows what they should and should not be doing. 
  3. Confidence everyone is playing their own part - A baseball team only works well together when they have the confidence and trust that everyone is doing their own part. If someone doesn't trust another player, it's going to cause issues. In your business, this is usually seen when someone is doing work they shouldn't be doing, because they believe it won't be done correctly by someone else. Look at your systems, especially transitioning from sales to service, to make sure that there is a good process in place. 
  4. Everyone knows to keep an eye on the field - In baseball, it doesn't matter if you're up to bat or on the field, you have to know what's going on in the field to make your next move. Do you steal a base? Do you need to move farther outfield? You have to be ready not just to react to what is happening now, but to create strategies that go for the win in the future. In this industry, it's easy to be so caught up in the details, that you're not looking ahead. You can only do this if you're focused on what the entire team is doing; but unfortunately, unlike baseball, you don't have the ability to watch the entire field at once. Your team should have scheduled team meetings that are rarely, if ever, cancelled to make sure the entire team is keeping an eye on the field. You probably talk to your team often, but how often do you strategize with them? 
  5. You know what a win is and it's easy to track - There's no guessing who's winning in baseball. The score is clearly displayed on the scoreboard for everyone to see not only who is winning, but by how much. In the financial services industry, sales results are often tracked, but not always displayed. In addition, there are other metrics needed to win such as: retention, results of customer satisfaction surveys, premium dollars, etc. The key is for your team to know your metrics and have a scoreboard so that they always know if the team is winning. 
  6. Ability to wow the fans - No baseball team is complete if they are not accomplishing the ultimate goal of wowing the fans. Baseball especially is famous for having inventive ways to wow the fans such as launching a t-shirt into the crowd, 7th inning races, and even mascots. Your team doesn't have to have the same methods to wow the fans, but they do need to know what it means to wow your clients. Having a Client Service Promise in place gives your team the ability to know exactly what it takes to wow clients.
The important take away is that great teams don't just happen. Teams are well-designed by having the right structures and tools in place to make sure that they work together to win. This week we challenge you to use this Insight and observe your team. Are your fans really being wowed? Is your team playing together well? Does each player know their position? What can your business do to improve your team?

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