The Front Line Delivers the Bottom Line


Too often teams are unclear as to what the top priorities/goals really are, and all too often companies throw money at team building training courses that just don’t tackle the real issues that cause this ‘execution gap’. Here the coaches/players are not on the same page and what you get is running around in all directions instead of working together towards the same goal/s. The ability to take high level goals and translate these into priority actions is a major challenge to many organisations and one that good collaborative teamwork training courses recognise. It has to be about much more than just getting on as a team.

The front line produces the bottom line. The three fundamental questions every manager needs to ask of themselves and their team are:

1. What is it that needs to be achieved?

2. What is it that they need to do? (The two are articulated in very different ways – the former is often to conceptual to be of true meaning to teams and individuals and the meaning is therefore lost in translation)

3. Do they want to do it?

To achieve goals never achieved before, you have to do things you have never done before. People may even if you’re lucky buy in to the goals, vision, values etc., but do they really understand what they are supposed to do?

The ‘execution gap’ occurs when people and teams are misaligned – what they are doing is not directly contributing to the achievement of the goals. So why does this happen? And why is it so common? Lots of reasons – and don’t always assume it’s the fault of the team.

  • Too many goals Often organisations have so many goals and priorities, the focus is lost and people are confused about what the real priorities are – because everything is a priority! Here is an opportunity to streamline goals so they reflect the real priorities. Better to smash a few focused goals out of the water than part achieve many.
  • Changing goals The goalposts keep moving – it is difficult to keep track of what needs to be achieved. Ever changing priorities. This often occurs because external influences hold too much power and influence over the goals that need to be achieved. It can also be symptomatic of lack of clear strategy, too many decision makers ‘meddling’ and inability to anticipate and respond proactively to changes in the wider operating environment.
  • No clear goals This may be a reality, or it could be poor communication of goals. Are the goals clear? To whom? Are they articulated or in someone’s head? Just because the leaders are clear, it doesn’t mean that the front line staff are clear. Their understanding is critical as this is where the action happens. If people don’t know exactly what they are supposed to achieve it doesn’t mean they won’t achieve – it just means they will probably achieve the wrong things. Guesswork is the enemy of achievement.
  • Lack of Engagement Just because front line staff know what the goals are, it doesn’t mean they will buy-in to them. They have to feel passionate about the goals. No ownership = no input. Signs of disengagement are always evident – are people busy but don’t seem to be achieving? Are they easily distracted by ‘urgent’ things that crop up? Are they just not using their initiative and/or doing the bare minimum? Do they have energy – a ‘fire in their belly’ – or are they constantly moaning about stuff? Managers should always have their disengagement radar firmly on.

One thing’s for sure – if you recognise these signs or symptoms manifesting in your own workplace, you absolutely can’t afford to ignore them. If you do, other organisations will pass you by in the fast lane. Never forget that your front line is your bottom line.

row of people leaping

Adalta take a commercial and pragmatic approach to ensuring the front line deliver the bottom line. Take a look at our teambuilding training courses and our collaborative teamwork training courses which can be adapted to your own organisation and team requirements. Or if you want some free advice drop us a message via our website contact page.