Do your employees have titles or missions? I’m guessing the former. If you really want to get the cracking, you should develop a mission, intent, and values according to Steve Gary Blank, the author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany.
Here’s a quick test: ask your tradeshow manager what her job is. If she says something to effect of “Set up the booth,” then you know you have a problem. This is exactly what happened to Steve when he was running marketing at SuperMac, a Macintosh peripherals company. Here’s what he recommends that you do to fix the problem:
Develop a mission for each department. This should summarize “why people come to work, what they need to do, and how they will know they succeeded.” The SuperMac marketing department’s mission became “Help Sales deliver $25 million in sales with a 45% gross margin.”
Teach the mission intent. A specific mission such as this is bound to change according to market conditions and product development schedules. Thus, employees must understand that the mission intent—achieve corporate revenue and profit goals—is the “big picture” and even more important.
Instill core values. The final step that Steve took was to instill core values of “accountability, execution, honestly, and integrity.” In other words, there would be no surprises and excuses. He only wanted facts and requests for help.
If you do these three steps, it will mean your employees will perform much better in 2010. They aren’t hard, but they are so valuable. Consider it job #1 for 2010. For more details about how Steve did this at SuperMac, read “SuperMac War Story 6: Building the Killer Team.”