Are Your People Focused On What They Are Best At?

As many of my readers will know one of my main hobbies is theatre – not sitting in the audience watching but, on the stage, taking part. One thing quickly realised from this hobby is the importance of teamwork.

In a stage production you have the actors, the backstage crew, the sound crew and the lighting crew. Not to mention the director, choreographer, musical director, wardrobe, and set design. Each of these have their own specialist skills and all are important to the success of the production.

I have just been in a production of Made in Dagenham and I am going to pick out two talented members of the cast to illustrate something. We’ll call them David and John. David was in the role of Edward O’Grady, an unskilled worker on the production line. John was in the role of Tooley, an aggressive company executive over from the USA. The role of Edward is the male lead and he is most definitely in the shadow of his wife, Rita. On the other hand Tooley is a minor role in terms of how much he has to do, one song and he appears in only two scenes.

John has played lead roles before and is more than capable of taking a role at least as big as that of Edward but he would not be right in that particular role. Whilst more than capable of getting the character, his voice, height and stature (the things that are difficult to change) would not have created the right image for the audience.

In your business you probably have employees who are more than capable of doing lots of different roles but there is one role to which they are most suited. In large businesses there are enough employees to enable everyone to focus almost entirely on the jobs they are best suited to (though it doesn’t often happen like that). But in small to medium businesses everyone must spend a fair chunk of their time doing jobs that they aren’t necessarily best suited to. So if you have a salesperson who is most effective when out on the road visiting prospects is it a good use of their time to have them also making cold calls to try to book appointments? If you have someone who is excellent at serving customers when they visit your premises is it a good use of their time to get them making follow-up calls to ask customers for feedback?

Have you considered the benefits of outsourcing some of these secondary tasks. Flexible outsourcing means that these secondary tasks are performed by individuals who are experienced in those activities whilst freeing up your team to concentrate on doing more of what they are best at.