Today we will focus our attention on the fifth key to a Winning Team – Supporting Risk Taking. In this stage, we will explore the benefits of allowing your team members to stick their neck out without the risk of getting it cut off.

Take a minute and think about how much latitude you give your team members. How much freedom do you give them to “do the right thing” or “take care of the customer” when the situation goes beyond the norm? If you’re like most business owners, you keep your folks on a pretty tight string. How do I know? Well, think with me for a minute. How many times have you heard the phrase “I’ll have to get my manager to approve that” or ” I can’t authorize that without my supervisor’s approval”.

In fact, I was checking into a hotel recently and there was a discrepancy between the rate we had been quoted and the rate on the check-in sheet. When we brought it to the attention of the desk clerk, what do you think was her response? “well I’ll have to clear that with my manager first, and she’s not here right now.”

What do you think might have been my reaction to that? Was I impressed with the hotel? Why do you think the desk clerk was not given the authority to make that kind of decision? Was it lack of trust, lack of training, concern over being taken advantage of? Why? What are the reasons you don’t give the authority to make exceptions to your team members?

Because the clerk was not the least bit interested in our concern, we made the decision to have dinner somewhere else. As a result, the hotel lost an opportunity for us to spend another $70 or more with them on appetizers, drinks, and dinner!

So, for the sake of a minor misunderstanding, the hotel owner just lost revenue, potential new business, repeat business and goodwill with a paying client. Is it worth it? How does this scenario align with your business? Is there anything here that applies to your business? This was not a big deal. What if the stakes were higher? What if the customer was a big part of your business base? What if something similar happened to your largest, most profitable customer?

I recall a situation that happened in my past business where we were late on the production of a critical unit for a big customer. To expedite the production and reduce the shipping delay, we scheduled the unit to be built on the third shift.

When the shipping clerk realized that we were likely to miss the delivery date by putting the unit on the next delivery truck, he made a bold decision. He put the finished unit in his truck and drove to the local airport where he kept his private single-engine plane. Without asking anyone for permission, he flew the unit over 600 miles to the customer’s location, arriving the morning that we had promised.

As you might imagine, when he returned there were mixed emotions. He had taken a huge risk, gone way outside of our standard procedures, cost the company a sizable amount of money in airplane fuel but met the commitment to the customer.

Your Profit Tip of the Day

Supporting Risk Taking can be a very liberating action for your team. If they know you have their back, no matter what when they take action for the benefit of your customers, they will become your strongest supporters and best salespeople – guaranteed.

If I asked your team members how you would react to them taking a risk and doing something outside the standard procedures for the good of the customer, what would they say? Not sure? Why not ask them? Better yet, why not have the discussion with them before it happens? Why not set the expectation that you want them to take the risk when necessary to do the right thing for your customers? Let them know that you trust their judgment and will always stand behind them – even if you think they did the wrong thing.

Use these situations as a way to learn and improve your internal processes. Every time someone steps out and takes a risk, take the opportunity to recognize the effort and make an improvement in your processes to avoid a similar issue in the future.

Find a time to have the discussion with your team and make sure they know you support them, trust them and expect them to vote in favor of the customer when resolving a sticky issue. You will reap big rewards from moving your business in this direction.

If you’re looking for more success and freedom from your business, join my FREE, private Facebook Group called The Peloton. It’s where business owners like you are learning, sharing and working together to get better every day! Here’s the link:

Come on – join us! And remember, whatever you do, RIDE HARD!


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