Good Enough Isn’t: Using the Moneyball Approach to Develop an All-Star Team!

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Perfectionists, please raise your right hand. Type A personalities, kindly raise your left. If you are now able to clap your hands over your head, this blog is for you.

It was Judi Hand, head of our Revana division, who inspired the blog title – although I’d love to take credit for it. Several years ago, I heard her state, “Good enough isn’t” and everything made sense. At the time I was struggling with balancing my perfectionist tendencies while not pushing my team members too far. I can’t expect awesomeness all the time and I need to simply settle for “great” on some occasions. But, to settle for “good enough”?

The moneyball concept is around building a team of all-stars based on identifying and developing talent who collectively work together towards one goal. It blends the right talent in the right system. While the Oakland A’s became good, the Boston Red Sox invested further and won the World Series. They recruited the right talent, trained and coached them to “perfection”.

With 40,000 employees, developing internal leaders is core to our culture at TTEC. We firmly believe that our staff members can excel and be very successful in their careers. But, we know from experience that this is highly dependent on training from the very first day, including a robust onboarding process that provides new hires with a great first impression of the organization and shows them the opportunities available if they work hard. They need to be presented with a career progression path and mentoring along the way to achieve their goals.

There are many examples that reinforce the need for such a process, including myself. I started out 15 years ago as a contact center associate and enjoyed continuous development as I learned all aspects of the business through formal and informal education. And, I’m not the exception. Our belief in the importance of continuous learning was instrumental in our decision to start a corporate MBA program to identify and develop our future leaders. This 18 month immersion program is designed for our high performing-high potential managers and directors, with the goal of getting them to the next level. It encompasses mentoring from senior executives and virtual collaboration sessions, since there are participants from across the globe.

When it comes to building a strong team, developing bench strength and enhancing the quality of your employees, you cannot be mediocre or “good.” We don’t want to be “good enough” when it comes to our customers, so neither should we settle when it comes to our employees. We have long accepted the fact that customers expect excellence. Now we have to realize that everyone is a customer. Your direct and sub-direct reports, internal customers, external clients – they are all customers. They are your customers. And, when it comes to servicing them, it starts with your team.

The challenge in today’s environment is finding the time to coach, mentor, and enhance the skill sets of employees. With a small team of just over 10 all-stars, I have the luxury of having weekly one-on-ones with my direct reports and as one of my managers refer to them, monthly skip-level meetings with my sub-direct reports. My supervisor, who manages an organization of around 500 training folks, still does weekly meetings with his directs, bi-weekly team meetings with his sub-directs, and a monthly meeting with everyone in the organization. While not everyone attends, it is recorded and posted for everyone to review. He finds the time because he recognizes the importance of breathing a culture of coaching and communication, and instills it upon our team. It doesn’t stop there, though. We infuse all of our coaching and development with formalized learning plans that include project management improvement, customer satisfaction analysis, performance management skills, etc.

When done right, training is advantageous for employees. The organization benefits from a robust on-boarding and continuous training program – as with the Red Sox. One of the first things new players do is receive a complete history of the organization so they can embrace its history, while seeing the vision. Apart from more engaged employees and a low staff turnover, companies tend to enjoy better results. Therefore, investing in training should not be an option. It should be a necessity for any organization that wants to succeed.