Building a power team for your business goes way beyond the necessity of hiring. This step involves vision and intent to create an internal support structure made up of people who really “get” your company, who are excited about what you’ve created and who can help take your dream to the next level of success. These are employees who feel connected to your company in such a way that they are truly taking ownership of their piece as if it is their own business; that’s how invested they are. You are the entrepreneur, and your team members are the “intrapreneurs.”
You also want to have experts around you. Steve Jobs always said that his goal was to be the dumbest person in the room. Surrounding yourself with experts means that you aren’t always the one who has to know everything and give everyone all the answers. You want people who can come to you with their ideas and suggestions and who are self-propelled and capable of creating solutions. You may not agree with everything they come up with, but being in a position to pick and choose between great ideas is a powerful place to be!
To accomplish this, you need to be strong and clear in your leadership. This is a skill that can be learned. A great first step is to check in and see how much you are doing in a vacuum that your team is unaware of. If you are operating so independently that your team doesn’t know what you do with your day (i.e., where you are, who you’re meeting with and why, etc.), there is a disconnect here that you should stop and address. Empower your team to be aware and involved in understanding what you do on a day-to-day basis for the company. This may also help to reveal some tasks that could be undertaken by other team members from time to time.
A weekly meeting is a great tool to accomplish this level of connection and communication. You can also use it to have everyone share information about the piece they hold, so the whole team gets a sense of where things stand:
- What are you working on in each department?
- What do you have coming up on the calendar?
- What needs to happen to meet current tasks and timing commitments?
- What are the company’s goals?
- Where are you number-wise?
- Where do you need to be?
Regular weekly meetings can actually save time throughout the week, as they help everyone cut back on other emails and phone calls and questions that can be resolved at this time. From there, build in a quarterly meeting and a yearly meeting. These are planning meetings that move your business from being reactive to being proactive. You can create your goals for the coming quarter or year as well as review what has worked and what hasn’t in your strategies and efforts thus far.
- What are the top two goals that your company needs to achieve in the next 90 days?
- What are the top three projects that need to be seen to completion this quarter?
- What are your revenue goals and how can you create a path to achieving them?
- Ask people to share their own strengths and accomplishments over the period and celebrate successes.
- Present an overall view of the successes and challenges for the company and brainstorm ongoing solutions with the group.
- Assign specific tasks and deadlines before leaving the meeting to solidify the action steps the team came up with.
Consider having a daylong brainstorm session for these quarterly and annual meetings. It may seem counterintuitive to stop business for the day, but these sessions will have a hugely positive impact on your company.
The key is to work as a team. When you create a team environment for your staff, they are more productive. They’re happier. Business runs more smoothly. Cash flow goes up. Revenue goes up. Good things happen when everyone is working in sync.
Keeping the Team On Track
When you notice that someone on the team isn’t producing work at the level you believe they are capable of, it’s good to check in. KPI, or Key Performance Indicators, are a great way to do this. These are the key things that each team member needs to accomplish, and the KPI for each business area will be unique. For example, in sales, KPI might be the number of calls they’ve made, the number of sales in the pipeline, the number of conversions they’ve made and so on. For an executive assistant, KPI can look like tracking daily activities (i.e., picked up business supplies, 2 hours replying to customer emails, etc.). This level of accountability helps people to stay on track, and it helps you to easily ascertain whether things are where you want and need them to be.
Helping the Team Stay Motivated
Giving team members a raise when you can is great, but studies have shown that’s not what truly motivates people. They want to feel like they’re part of something, like the work they do and the energy they put into the company is making an impact. And they want to feel appreciated for it! Having occasional check-ins with each team member is a great way to support them in maintaining this level of connection to their work.
- Find out how they are feeling about the work they’re doing.
- What are they proud of?
- What challenges are they facing?
- What are their expectations?
- What would they like to see happen?
- Share your vision and your expectations.
When you get to the last step above, make sure you express the heart and soul of why your company does what it does and the impact you hope to make on the world. Then let your team members know how crucial they are to making that possible; let them know that you can’t do it without them! Then be sure to pass the baton back to them and ask for their thoughts on how they can best contribute to this vision. Having the right team around you means not only having people who are excited and aligned with your mission, but they also need to feel valued. When you help them to feel that way, your company will reap the benefits 100 fold.