Improving Team performance

Improve Team Performance–CATCH Your Trapeze Buddy

Mark Rosenberger asked:

When it comes to customer satisfaction there is plenty of focus on the customer in most organizations. But little is written about the need to take care of the people you count on most so you can take great care of your customer –your Trapeze Buddies.

Simply stated, a Trapeze Buddy is anyone you count on to come through with a task or function so ultimately you can complete your job for the customer. Conversely, your Trapeze Buddy is also anyone who counts on you to come through as promised so they can do their job.

Drawing from the example of circus big top flying trapeze artists, the concept of the Trapeze Buddy conveys the idea of teamwork, communication, precision timing and that extra effort mentality. The metaphor also conveys the grave consequences of not coming through as promised and dropping the person who is counting on you to complete a task, function or provide information so they can do their job. In other words, it’s a SPLAT!

I remember growing up and going to the big top circus with my parents. We nervously awaited the flying trapeze artists who would dazzle us from high above the arena floor. The talented artists would fly, jump, spin and catch one another with precision, often times only inches from disaster. Each time they missed a catch my heart leaped and I let out a gasp watching my circus hero tumble to the safety net below. I’m willing to bet they planned some of the falls just for dramatic effect. Believe me, it worked!

My anxiety level reached an all-time-high the year I went to the circus and the trapeze artists refused to use the safety net. You can bet I hung on their every move.

You’re counting on your Trapeze Buddies to come through and catch you as you encounter various twists and turns in a normal day on the job. Unfortunately in your business, if your Trapeze Buddy misses you there are no safety nets. In fact, spikes are usually sticking out of the ground! And I bet there has been more than one time when you’ve gotten skewered.

So, what can we do to be caught more and dropped less?

Included are four critical elements for a successful Trapeze Buddy relationship: 1. TEAMWORK Critical to everyone’s success is teamwork. Teams work best when everyone: knows the desired outcome or goal – understands their responsibility and contribution in reaching that goal; – is aware and prepared for the obstacles that might stand in the way of accomplishing the goal; – appreciates the unique characteristics and abilities each player brings to the team; – knows they can count on one another to give the task at hand their very best.

2. COMMUNICATION A major cause of dropped Trapeze Buddies stems from a breakdown in communication. Precision communication is the name of the game when working hard to be caught more and dropped less. Try this: Stop for a moment and consider your last five headache experiences with your Trapeze Buddies. I’m willing to bet as you dig deep for root causes, something wasn’t quite right in the communication process. Fix this one item and you’ll accomplish more with fewer headaches and hassles.

3. PRECISION TIMING Working with your Trapeze Buddies requires precision timing. Customers have expectations that must be met on a timely basis. Precision timing means simply: be your word on everything. If you say you’ll have documents to a client at 9:00 am, have them there by 9:00 am, if not sooner. If a meeting is to begin at 11:00, get it going by 11:00. Do what you say you’re going to do, the way you said you were going to do it, in the time frame you said it was going to be done. Period!

If for some reason you won’t be able to come through on a deadline or agreement, for goodness sakes, let people know sooner than later.

4. EXTRA EFFORT It’s been said there is very little traffic on the extra mile. Extra effort with your Trapeze Buddies can set you light years above your competition. Team përformance, productivity and effectiveness along with customer satisfaction is positively impacted by the little things that make a BIG difference. Challenge everyone in your organization to be on the lookout for opportunities to implement the extra effort mentality. The game of business is simple-look for ways to be caught more and dropped less with the people you count on most. The end result will be a breakthrough in individual and team përformance and you might just regain a portion of your sanity as well.

Good catching! 2005 © Mark Rosenberger All rights reserved


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