What the BBC can teach us about management and team work

BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place at the ...

BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place at the head of Regent Street, London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Head Man (Director General) at the BBC, George Entwhistle, resigned not because he made an error of judgement but because his management or his employees did not keep him informed about a major mistake they had made. He then looked foolish because he had not seen what was reported through other media including both the press and Twitter. A man who seems not in control has to go. He might very well be able to take control, but he has lost the confidence of the customers and his staff.

These sorts of disasters can happen in small businesses too. It is so important if you are the person at the top that you are approachable. For that to be so, your employees have to feel part of a team and to belong. They have to know you and to like you. Then it will be easier for them to tell you what you need to know, which will include the bad things as well as the good things. They need to be able to tell you anything, without fear that you will be angry.

As long as there is communication between you and your workers, and as long as you keep them informed as well as they keep you informed, there should be no disasters and no problems that can’t be managed. Of course that requires mutual respect, and from your side that requires you to be fair and to listen to their feedback, critical and general.

Do you manage a successful team?

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Referral networks and joint ventures need teamwork

The whole team should be on their bikes

Over the last ten years I have belonged to several breakfast groups and even run one. I have also belonged to networks meeting at other times of the day. Some of these groups produced great relationships and also business. One produced really a lot of business for which I will always be grateful.

Networking groups succeed when the members work together and help each other. After all it is not reasonable just to keep taking and not giving. Giving is what we should do first, and keep on doing it. Referral groups can only succeed where the members respect each other and work together.

Not all the groups to which I have belonged have been successful though. Those that have foundered on the rocks have suffered because not all the members were “on board” in spirit and working to support the group. Some people think all they need to do is to pay their subscriptions. They don’t turn up at the meetings often enough. They don’t look for referrals for others. They are passengers. We cannot carry passive people.

One or two of the groups to which I have belonged have worked together on major marketing efforts for the network and for its members. These sorts of joint ventures can also be very successful, but only if everyone participates by actually doing some work. You have to DO THE WORK as Chris Brogan would say.

I don’t know about you, but I need my valuable time to run my business which includes doing my marketing. I am happy to help others with theirs in joint initiatives if they really are that; not if I am doing all their marketing as well as mine (unless they are paying me suitably for doing it).

Have you come across these “hangers-on” who expect the world to come to them? Isn’t it so much better when you have all your networkers working with you rather than just coming along for the ride?

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Why we need mutual respect between managers and their staff

A winning team (choir) I was once in. We all pulled together.

Such is life with football (soccer) managers that we can be quickly overtaken by events, or in other words, sackings. That is unfortunate in the context that the two most successful English clubs over the last fifteen years or so have had the same manager, albeit one is struggling at the time of writing.

Generally in management in any business, continuity is very important. But it is not the only thing that is essential. The other is the support and loyalty of your staff, and particularly those that earn the profits. It doesn’t matter how much your workers are paid, even when they are paid large and silly amounts. They have to want to work with you. They are not ciphers. They are human beings with emotions, and emotions have a lot to do with best performance.

So when the Chelsea football manager, Andre Villas Boas, says “it doesn’t matter if the players back my project” he is 100% wrong. What naivety, probably as a result of lack of experience. Having the support of his players is essential.

So many companies and businesses have foundered on strife and having a workforce who are not in tune with the management has been the cause of so much failure and chaos in industrial relations. Even if the manager has the support of the owner or managing director of a business he will fail if he cannot carry and motivate the staff and have them share a vision.

As we know, if there is mutual respect between a manager and her team, the sense of belonging to that team and an eagerness to please and be successful will bring about that success, and with that, profits.

It really is that simple. I have been junior staff and I have been a manager, so have seen it from both ends. The greatest business achievements are rooted in a sense of belonging to the team. A team is people who enjoy working together, not a list of people you pin on a board.

Don’t you love team work?

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Conversations make team work

As you may remember, I believe that there is a difference between hearing and listening. Listening is the bit where we actually take in what someone is saying rather than just appearing to be polite by giving them time.

Listening involves thinking about what we are hearing. It involves being aware of our surroundings. At work it involves knowing what is happening around us. It involves actual communication – a two-way process – rather than just hearing instructions. Listening is about joined-up teamwork, about getting things done.

Not listening and not communicating is when things go wrong. Not listening amounts to poor management. I see it in large companies who fail their customers. I see it in the public sector to do with planning, and in the UK National Health Service. If people don’t listen, or if workers don’t expect to be heard so they stay silent, things go wrong. Customers suffer. Patients in hospital and outside quite literally suffer. Yet the workers who are supposed to serve them have collectively all the knowledge they need to deliver the right service. They don’t talk, they don’t ask, and they DON’T LISTEN.

You and I know that we need to listen to each other. We need to listen to the people who work for us. Mostly we need to listen to our customers. I am sure you are listening, aren’t you?

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