Team Management Lessons from a Business Owner: A Chat with Lali Sichinava

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, effective team management is essential for sustained growth and success. We had the pleasure of speaking with Lali Sichinava, the owner of a thriving flower shop, about her experience of managing a team of 18 employees and the key skills and qualities necessary for effective leadership.

The Necessary Skills and Qualities for Effective Team Management

Lali Sichinava runs a Georgia-based flower shop and delivery business, Lovely Roses. With two offline locations, an online store, a delivery service, and a big team, Lali has her hands full with managing the operations and ensuring customer satisfaction.

“Our business is very customized, we work in a premium segment of ‘whatever the client wants’ as long as we agree that it’s beautiful. So, non-standard delivery time, non-standard compositions — we will do it all. This makes it much harder to customize the processes and turn them into an instruction. Also, it makes it much harder to hire.”

Lali shared with us her insights on establishing a strong foundation for team success. In her experience, concentrating on the following aspects has created a well-functioning and productive team:

Adjusting the Hiring Process to Your Business

Investing time and effort into hiring the right people is essential. Lali emphasized the importance of identifying early when someone isn’t the right fit for the job or the team dynamics and making necessary adjustments.

Here’s how Lali approaches the hiring process:

“People are our biggest asset. We place ads on different job sites and ask people to fill in the application form and answer three questions. Along with a CV, which will show us the ability to multitask, the form is enough to filter out 95% of candidates.

Since our industry is all about communication, we send the remaining candidates an email and see how they reply. That also filters out a certain percentage.

We conduct phone interviews with the remaining candidates, as it’s a crucial step — given that our clients mainly communicate via calls or emails. Following this, we arrange an in-person meeting and invite them to work with us for a day so we can see if we are a good fit for each other. This way, we can also evaluate their technical computer skills.”

Implementing Trial Work Days for Good Candidates

While some business owners might initially perceive the employee trial day as overwhelming and costly, Lali firmly believes that this step is crucial for ensuring the right fit for the long-term success of the team. By dedicating time to assess an individual’s skills, work ethic, and cultural alignment, businesses can mitigate potential risks and make informed decisions that positively impact their overall productivity and company culture.

“Yes, you can easily check if the candidate speaks the languages at the interview stage, but how do you judge if someone is ‘smart, quick, a multitasker, technologically advanced, a problem solver, friendly, compassionate, diplomatic and has good taste’ all in the same interview?

This is why we typically provide candidates with a few working days to experience firsthand what it’s like to work with us. This also allows us to assess if they are a good fit for the role.”

Investing in Training Your Team

When it comes to florists, Lali is not afraid to hire people without experience as long as they possess the right attitude and motivation for learning. She believes that investing in training and constantly improving the team’s skills is a must for staying ahead of the competition.

“Hiring florists is a completely different ball game. You have to start with someone without experience and build them up since there are no floristics schools in Georgia.”

Developing Standard Operating Procedures

Lali believes that setting up standard operating procedures for as many situations as possible and getting involved only in non-standard problems is vital. This setup allows the team to operate smoothly and effectively while the leader can focus on resolving unique challenges that arise.

“I might not get involved in day-to-day when orders are running smoothly, but when there is a problem, I will spend hours getting down to the smallest details. Mistakes are not bad; every little one of them gives us the potential to improve and set up a systemized approach, minimizing human error in the future.”

Delegating Tasks According to Employee’s Strengths

When it comes to determining which tasks or responsibilities should be delegated to people on her team, Lali takes a methodical approach. She believes that delegation empowers individuals to take ownership of their work.

“Task delegation is decided partly at the hiring stage and then later driven by the employees themselves. I start giving similar tasks to different people performing the same function and usually, it ends up being done by a person who employs the most and consequently is the best at it.

A lot of my colleagues are people with initiative, so sometimes they will invent tasks for themselves and will naturally be very good at them.”

Constant Improvement

Perfectionism, ultimate professionalism, and a constant drive for improvement are key to Lali’s success. By being attentive to details and using every mistake as an opportunity to learn, she has fostered a culture of growth and development within her team.

“What makes us successful is perfectionism and ultimate professionalism; we’re constantly improving our workflow.”

Maintaining Motivation and Productivity

Flower businesses really pick up during holidays, but that also means the team has to work extra hard to meet the increased demand.

When asked about maintaining motivation and productivity during busy periods, Lali explained that the right team members will naturally be motivated by the company’s growth and success. A strong work ethic and a shared dedication to creating beautiful results ensure that the team remains engaged and focused.

“The working environment is a big motivating factor in itself.”

Conflict Resolution: Communication is Key

While conflicts are rare in Lali’s team due to their high emotional intelligence and dependence on one another to achieve success, she shared that her flat organizational structure allows for smooth communication in case of disagreements. By involving relevant team members in important decisions before implementation, she minimizes misunderstandings and nurtures a sense of ownership among her employees.

“Being a small company, we have a flat organizational structure. No intermediaries — no lost in translation situations. I also try to run important decisions by the parties concerned before they are implemented.

Also, we are a 100% female team with a high emotional quotient. We don’t have many conflicts as we depend on each other to deliver beautiful bouquets. Having two groups, florists and managers, if one makes a mistake, another one will usually pick up on it.”

Embracing Technology for Communication and Collaboration

Lali’s team uses Ecwid, an ecommerce platform that allows for a wide range of customizations related to product offerings and delivery options. Compared to the previous platform they have used, Ecwid has eliminated a lot of manual elements and streamlined communication with their clients, making it a crucial tool for effective collaboration within the team.

“Ecwid is a big step up from the previous platform. Ecwid allows a huge amount of customization for types of products and delivery. Before, we had to go through developers for a new feature or fix, while now it’s done within a minute inside the Ecwid platform.

For example, we have several shifts during the day, and some days there could be three different people accepting orders. On Ecwid, all the information related to the order is kept in one place, which makes it very easy for the staff to hand orders over to each other.

Custom checkout fields and custom checkout notes allow to receive full order-related information from the client as well as communicate the maximum needed information to them.

Manual work is minimized by having flexible and easily changeable delivery dates, slots, and destinations. And if there is something else non-standard, you could always make use of the staff notes to pass it on to each other.”

To Sum Up

Lali Sichinava’s experiences offer valuable insights for business owners looking to improve their team management skills. By focusing on hiring the right people, establishing standard operating procedures, and embracing continuous improvement, business leaders can cultivate efficient, motivated teams that drive success.

Incorporating technology to enhance communication and collaboration can further streamline operations and contribute to a cohesive work environment.

By applying the lessons learned from Lali’s journey, you can push your teams towards greatness!

The post Team Management Lessons from a Business Owner: A Chat with Lali Sichinava first appeared on Ecwid | E-Commerce Shopping Cart.