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Salon & Spa Teamwork: Hard to Get — Easy to Lose


Too often, salon/spa owners toss the word “teamwork” around like it’s an abundant resource. It’s not.

In fact, teamwork is a precious commodity revered by those who have achieved it and envied by those who want it.

You can refer to employees as “team members,” use scoreboards and huddle every day, but these exercises bring no guarantee that teamwork will follow.

Teamwork is an outcome. It is the culmination of a multitude of complex forces, systems and accountabilities that merge into one truly dynamic state of being called teamwork.

In this teamwork state of being, the energies of many individuals harmoniously synchronize to achieve the extraordinary.

It’s much like achieving a true meditative state. One must learn to quiet the mind until a oneness with the world is achieved. This meditative state is difficult enough for individuals to master.

Consider the added complexity of groups of individuals, all possessing unique personalities, ambitions and job functions, coming together to achieve that state of being we call teamwork.

FACT: teamwork is more work than most leaders and employees realize.

By repositioning teamwork as a state of being, leaders gain a new appreciation for this much ballyhooed term. Suddenly, all claims of teamwork are put into question.

Yes, even the best sports teams drop the ball and bungle plays every now and then. But those who possess that true teamwork state of being have the highest degree of execution. In business, the scorecards show high customer retention, fierce employee loyalty with low turnover, and financial performance that leaders are proud of.

Companies have fantastic stories of how everyone pulled together to overcome and achieve the impossible. In the heat of those quests, there existed a teamwork state of being. Such is the power of working together.

Teamwork is a fragile state of being

Change is the ever-present nemesis of teamwork. In order for change to occur, new systems and behaviors need to be learned. Change exerts pressure on teamwork. It disrupts its state of being.

Drama is a teamwork killer. Leaders that don’t have their finger on the pulse of the business can quickly find teamwork deteriorating into chaos.

What state do you live in?

All teams have leaders, but not all leaders do the work necessary to elevate individuals into a cohesive teamwork state. Inspiring, demanding, tenacious, compassionate, tough decision making and pure “no compromise”, describes leaders who create high-achievement teamwork environments.

How to prevent teamwork fizzle

Teamwork fizzle can happen in an instant. Follow these tried-and-true strategies to maintain team focus, energy and momentum:

  • Teamwork is fueled by vision, mission and objectives: Don’t expect teamwork if the challenge is vague or undefined. A cool idea may get teamwork out of the gate, but it won’t keep it going. Be specific.

  • Communicate your vision, mission and objectives: Too many leaders stop communicating and wonder why teamwork deteriorates. Lack of communication can signal that the mission is over.

  • Keep score: Yes, scoreboards are an essential tool in creating and maintaining teamwork. When the answer to “how are we doing?” is “not good enough,” you’re inviting fizzle. Scoreboards show progress and opportunities for improvement.

  • Celebrate progress and wins along the way: Doing so fuels teamwork energy and maintains momentum. Achieving incremental milestones is like climbing a ladder; each step brings you closer to the top.

  • Coach teams and individuals when they encounter obstacles: This may require additional resources or mini-teams to brainstorm solutions. The key is getting back up to speed before fizzle sets in.

  • Make tough decisions: If you have to pull a weed or two from your team, do it. If coaching efforts fail, you must act to protect the integrity of the team.

  • Teams love rewards: There’s nothing like that surprise lunch or bonus celebration to power up teamwork. Sometimes simpler is better. Learn what motivates your team.

  • Make it fun: Teamwork, games, winning and celebrating should have fun built in. Sure, there will be tough moments, but fun should be waiting when breakthroughs occur. Fun is contagious. Fun is empowering. Have fun.

Here’s my challenge to you: If you’re thinking, “I’ve heard all this stuff before,” then I challenge you to answer the following three questions with 100% honesty.

  • Is there a unified, shared vision in your salon/spa?

  • Is it evident in the thinking, behavior and performance of all employees?

  • Is everyone pulling the salon/spa in the same direction?

Yes, you’ve probably heard this teamwork stuff before, but are you truly doing the work that creates teamwork?

Chances are pretty darn good that this blog post added some BIG items to your to-do list. Do the work.


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