How to Staff Your Organization like an Apple Store

By Kyle Lagunas

 

Apple is running a seriously smooth operation in their retail stores. Each employee has a distinct role to play, understands that role, and does his/her part to deliver the level of service we've come to expect from this powerful brand. All of this requires serious alignment of brand, business goals and people process.

Finding the right people to work in the stores is half the battle. There are things that Apple’s retail arm does particularly well in organizational development--things any organization could learn from:

Align Your Team

The first week of January is over. Are your people aligned?

Is every team member, from your front line employee to supervisor to mid-level manager and above, clear about the strategic direction of the organization? In most companies, it’s well into the calendar year before team members understand the vision and strategy. If this is the case on your team, you'll probably notice a lack of clarity, confusion and unspoken expectations. The business results you'll experience are lost productivity, low employee engagement, and missed opportunities.

3 Ways to Derail Team Formation: Part 3

Here is the third excerpt from our recent article on 3 Ways to Derail Team Formation.

In Part 1 of this post I talked about the first mistake that derails team formation - Ambiguity of team purpose and vision for the future.

Part 2 focused on the mistake of - Hiring a warm body instead of the right person

Here's Mistake #3...

Dis-orientation

Most team members are hired and then thrown into the fire.

A Common Leader Mistake: Part 4

Another  common and costly leader mistake that can result in a loss of credibility and trust.

MISTAKE: Solving problems others should solve.

It’s not uncommon for new leaders to solve problems for their team members instead of helping them learn to do it on their own. For the overly controlling leader, you may find it faster to take care of it yourself than to take the time to teach.

For the less assertive leader, it might be easier to do it yourself so you can get around confronting an issue directly.

Clarity of Purpose

What is your team's purpose?

What is your team supposed to do that no other team does?

These are important questions for all teams - whether you belong to a management team, a functional team, a project team, or other.

The challenge in most organizations is that teams don't have clarity about their purpose. They brush it off as something too fluffy to consider. Or, for other teams, their purpose ends up on a pretty poster in a conference room and does nothing but take up wall space.

3 Ways to Derail Team Formation: Part 2

Here is the second excerpt from our recent article on 3 Ways to Derail Team Formation.

In Part 1 of this post I talked about the first mistake that derails team formation - Ambiguity of team purpose and vision for the future.

Here's Mistake #2...

Hiring a warm body instead of the right person

3 Ways to Derail Team Formation: Part 1

Below is an excerpt from our latest article 3 Ways to Derail Team Formation.

Most teams struggle to reach their highest levels of effectiveness because of their inability to cultivate the right team of people from the beginning. As a result, communication breakdowns, unnecessary conflict, and poor decision making leads to a loss of key opportunities.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Overcoming Challenges on Remote Teams: Part 4

The last three posts have been focused on overcoming challenges encountered on remote teams. Part 1 was focused on getting your virtual team aligned, Part 2 on building cohesion, and Part 3 on creating disciplined team processes.

Today's post is focused on remote team leadership.

Overcoming Challenges on Remote Teams: Part 1

Working on teams where some or all team members are remote is becoming the norm rather than the exception. And frankly, having remote team members adds complexity that often times accelerates and amplifies communication breakdowns.

For example,

The Clarity of Team Purpose

I recently worked with a team in Fort Collins, Colorado helping them build alignment and cohesion.

The CEO was a technologist. The Sales VP wanted to see a more sales-driven organization. The Engineering VP needed more engineers to meet the demands of a singificant customer contract. The CFO wanted to instill process and financial discipline. The HR VP was mostly focused on administration.

Each person came to the team with his/her own agenda and vision.

The team was a mess.

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