building production teams the ritz carlton way

I had the pleasure of working an event that Horst Schultz was one of the main speakers. Not only is he a wonderful individual, but he has built a few successful businesses in his lifetime. Most specifically The Ritz Carlton Hotel chain.

He was giving a talk about how to create a great service organization, which for him is every organization. He had many points, but at one point he was talking about how to hire employees that will catch the vision of your company. I immediately started writing these down, since they also related to what we do on our volunteer production teams at our church. If we want our ministries to grow and for our capacity to increase, we can’t do this without a significant number of volunteers. And when we’re spreading out ourselves among many people, how do we make sure the values that we have internally get spread to all the people on our teams?

 

Here are Horst’s four points for instilling the values of your company into new employees, which we will look at in terms of our volunteer teams.

Select the Employee

For Horst, this was key. You aren’t hiring someone or taking a warm body onto your team. You are carefully selecting the employee. You aren’t just letting anyone on the team, you are carefully selecting them for whether or not they fit on the team. You are looking for ways that they naturally line up with your team’s culture.

For many of us, we are desperate for more people, so we sacrifice the “selection” by saying yes to everyone who comes along. We need to figure out what kind of team we want and pick people who fit that.

Orient them to the Soul of your Company

Once someone is on the team, Horst makes a point to meet with all the new hires on their first day of work. Because of the way our brain works, any time there is a big change in our lives, we tend to mark it as an important moment. For Horst, the first day of someone’s new job is an important moment to capture. Horst uses that time to share the vision of his company and invite these new employees to join him. The thing that is amazing about this story is that Horst is the one who does this initial orientation. He is the CEO for crying out loud!

I love this idea of getting everyone on the same page at the same moment. For many of us, it might be impractical to have every new volunteer start on the same day, but to have a vision to share with new team members is key. If we want everyone to go about production from a similar perspective, we have to give them all the same set of values to follow.

For Horst, his company has 24 values that they share with everyone on their teams. Do you have values that represent the soul of your team? If you don’t, maybe now is the time to come up with a list of what matters to you. Without it, it will be nearly impossible to get everyone on the same page and dialed into the soul of your team.

Training for Function

I love that this is the third step. Training comes third! For many of us, we only think about training new volunteers on the task ahead. For Horst, if people don’t know what you stand for, what does it matter if they know how to do their function.

The other thing I like about this is that Horst and his company are doing training. They aren’t assuming someone knows how to do things the companies way. How often do we make assumptions that our volunteers know how to work a compressor or understand how graphics should be run at our church? Even though it may seem redundant to teach people how to perform a function, we can’t expect our teams to deliver consistent results if we aren’t training them on how our church does things.

Reinforce What You’ve Taught

Each time Horst’s teams meet, they revisit one of the 24 values they have as a company. They almost have a liturgy. Every hotel highlights the same value on the same day. Every employee is having the same value reinforced at the same time.

After coming up with the list of values for your team, it is important to keep revisiting them…to remind each person on the team what matters to us.

As someone who has come up with values a few times, I am usually thinking about them all the time. For most normal people, they aren’t obsessing about them like me. I have to constantly remind myself that the values for the team need to be put in front of them often…more often than I think they should be.

How often are you putting your values in front of your teams? Not just the new people, but the veterans?

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