A Simple Way To Teach Your Team To Make Better Decisions
Content was originally published on Forbes.com on November 29, 2018.
If you’ve followed any of my articles in the past, you’ve noticed that I talk a lot about systemizing businesses. When done properly, a master system of controls can make scaling your business not only possible but much easier to achieve. Having a set of systems in place will allow you to grow an owner-independent company that will run without your constant input and management.
Unfortunately, there are some things that are hard to put into a flowchart. Case in point: good judgment.
Good judgment comes from experience, and your staff members will have varying degrees of success when left to make their own judgment calls. This can be a major concern for any business owner, especially one trying to build a business that isn’t reliant on your constant input. There are, however, ways that you can systemize your training of staff members to help improve their judgment over time and reduce your owner reliance.
Eliminating Gray Areas
One of our business coaching clients recently came to me with a challenge. His company offers a wealth advisory service with offices across the United States. As they continue to scale, they realized they needed to hone their portfolio of services so that all their clients get a consistently great experience with them. This meant working to standardize the underlying structure of how they deliver their high-end service offering. Any time you standardize an inherently complicated business area, you come across novel situations and gray areas that your staff has never seen before.
While these gray areas can be eliminated upfront, you can use these fuzzy situations as training opportunities to raise the collective experience set and judgment of the entire team.
Here’s how my client does that.
Once a week, they gather their full advisor staff by video conference and go over a complicated case that requires sound judgment. They discuss the situation as a group and ask the various advisors how they would have handled such a situation. Over time, this has helped them refine each advisor’s judgment and ability to handle future ambiguous situations.
Remember, gray areas, by definition, are not something that you have a system for.
They don’t fit discreetly and neatly into any category or box. But by sharing them as a team and seeing how others would approach the situation, you can pass on nuanced thinking and analytic approaches to your team. Not only will your team learn from each other, but over time, they’ll start to take their knowledge and generalize it to fit their own gray areas that may pop up. Over time, you’ll find that your approach for handling these fuzzy cases can become standardized across your team.
Teaching your employees how to make sound judgment calls is an ongoing process, and it’s not going to be perfect. But if you systemize the way you train along the way, you will be able to onboard new team members faster and give your team the tools needed to make decisions on their own, thus helping you achieve the end goal of an owner-independent company.