Setting up a team strategy

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

While I have worked in the service sector for a long time, this is my first time taking on a leadership role.

Dear Caroline,

I have joined a new start-up and I have discovered that I am the first customer srvice manager in the role. While I have worked in the service sector for a long time, this is my first time taking on a leadership role. I have been asked to write my department strategy, but I am still trying to figure out how to go about it. Where do I begin?


Hello Benjamin, congratulations on your leadership role. You will do well and bring your experience and innovation to the organisation.

Regarding developing your first strategy, your starting point is to fully understand the organisation’s vision and mission and what it hopes to achieve over three to five years. Your strategy will contribute to the bigger picture. Take a moment to speak with the head of the organisation to understand what they want to achieve. You will also need to understand your market and the customers’ want. Start-ups generally have conducted much research about their customers, products, markets and price. Use that information to inform your strategy. At this stage, you are unlikely to have staff, so my advice is to develop a plan on your own in consultation with your manager and then share it with your peers. It is important to remember that your success is not on your own, and you will undoubtedly need to work with other managers. Your engagement with them ensures that they understand your strategy and can see how they contribute to the successful implementation of your plan.

I suspect your strategy will initially focus on the technical aspects; however, you should also consider the environment where you want it to be implemented; clearly understand what systems need to be placed to support your strategy implementation. Given that you are front facing and will eventually work in a team, you should also define the culture and behaviour you want to achieve within your team. This should include aspects such as team cohesion and working as a team, respect and trust. The critical aspect of your successful implementation is to ensure that you have clear goals; that you have key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure success. For KPIs to be valuable, please ensure that the organisation has systems in place to collect the data; otherwise, you will find it very difficult. The last point is to ensure that you have a strategy that allows you to monitor and review constantly to match the changing customer trends.

Once your team comes on board, ensure you include them in the debate; they will have ideas and suggestions that can make your strategy more relevant. Good Luck.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)  [email protected]