One of my blog posts fans invited me to his company – a nursery school. He has done great for himself. As of 2019-year end, he had 180 children. With school fees at Ugx. 600,000 per month – not Term – but monthly, that is over Ugx. 108m monthly!
A daycare center is not an easy business. The children require a lot of attention and care. And parents are picky. They pay a price because they expect high-quality service. Accordingly, a Nursery has a high operating costs structure –a cost-income ratio of over 70%.
To run a successful Nursery the founder got a business partner – a woman passionate about parenting and looking after young children. He found one. They started nine years ago with about 20 children. Now with about 30 employees, the founder is finding it difficult to manage. The place is dirty. Children are not promptly cleaned. Timekeeping is a problem. Parents drop children starting at 5 am, yet the teachers arrive at about 7:30 am. And above all, creativity is below par. Teachers and administration staff don’t bring new initiatives. So, the question is: where do I start to have a team of passionate, motivated and capable people so that we can expand and win together?
The leader’s dilemma
Assembling the best team is not easy. And as they say, nothing beats a group of people working together in the same direction.
Start with quality at the door. Don’t get any person with a wrong attitude past your main door. One of the big four firms I know is fond of first keeping people waiting at the reception past the agreed interview time to test for their patience or impatience. As consultants, prospects give you an appointment only to cancel it at the last minute. Sometimes a client may keep you waiting the whole day at the reception!
Unfortunately, many people realize when it is too late – after they have let people past the door and are part of their team. You need team members with the right attitude and self-drive. Be worry about anyone who tells you to first motivate them to do their best.
You need team members with a sense of responsibility and ownership. For each team member, agree on measurable targets and results to be delivered. Also, communicate the company values and habits that demonstrate focus. As a founder or manager, you want a person who not only delivers the set targets, but they live the company values as well.
Be concerned with staff who fail to deliver targets as well as don’t live by the company values! If someone fails targets but demonstrate habits that are productive like timely updates across teams, timely reporting of performance and lessons learned, etc. such a person is a candidate for further training.
Don’t run your company as a daycare – whereby you keep reminding them to set daily targets. Giving them templates to use. Reminding people to come early to work etc. Such people are a huge weight and may not give your business long term growth.
A team of self-starters is what you need.
People you agree with on what outcomes to deliver, within defined limited resources. Their value is to work within the available means to win. Keeping in mind that leadership is essential during scarcity. Otherwise, if resources are abundant, any fool can lead!
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.