How your business grows is largely dependant on the people you have around you. You may think that you need a bunch of mindless drones to do your bidding, but that simply isn’t the case. Having the right team members is exactly what it takes to propel a business onwards and upwards—team members being the key word here. There’s a difference between an employee and a team member, and it makes all the difference for leaders looking to grow businesses.
What’s A Team Member Exactly?
The difference between “team member” and employee is important, but it’s not immediately apparent to most. An employee performs tasks, does what he is told. An employee comes to work every day, does what needs to be done and goes home. A team member has a much different attitude.
A team member is personally invested in the business. He believes in the mission and shares the vision. He knows that when the business does well, it’s good for him and he wants to work toward making the business a success not only for himself, but for the people around him. In short, a team member simply sees his work differently, and as such, approaches it differently.
Employees suck money out of a business, but team members are personally invested in seeing the business grow, which is why every business needs a team that shares the vision. The people you hire are going to be instrumental in the success of your business, so don’t just hire anyone. Take the hiring process seriously.
For some companies, they see someone who appears to be a good fit and jump right in. That’s a mistake. It’s always best to take the time to learn—in detail—about this person on whom your company is going to so heavily rely. Don’t just learn about the resume; find out what makes this person tick. Learn about their family, their passions, and naturally, learn about what drives them.
Effective hiring is a process, not a race. Finding the right people to share your vision and work hard for the good of your company will make all the time spent completely worth it in the end.
Your Company Deserves The Best
Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been around the block in business once or twice, having the right people around you is essential. Part of being a good leader is surrounding yourself with the right team members. Don’t be afraid to hire people with more knowledge, more education, or more experience than you either. It won’t undermine your work as leader, it will only enhance it.
A strong leader knows his own weaknesses and doesn’t hesitate to fill in those gaps by hiring team members who thrive where he struggles. Together, collectively, you should have what it takes to take your business to the next level. Effective hiring and bringing on strong team members who share your passion and vision will help take your business to new heights you never dreamed it could achieve.
Team members, not employees, will push to make your dreams in business become a reality.
We talk frequently about having integrity. It’s very much considered to be a personal trait, something that you personally possess and practice, but businesses need to have integrity too. Why isn’t anyone talking about that? Failed attempts at integrity will mean failed attempts at properly growing relationships, business, and profits. There’s no easy way out, only a right way to do things.
What Does Integrity In Business Look Like?
In his book Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey defines integrity as “the state of being whole or undivided”. This needs to be discussed openly among team members in the business so their is a shared understanding of what integrity looks like not only in the workplace, but for the business itself.
There are several common truths that are shared across different peoples and cultures, and these truths should also be recognized in business as well. The first step is identifying your values and then reviewing them with team members. Once everyone has a thorough understanding of what integrity means for the business, they will better be able to function in a way that honors those values. If they don’t do that, their employment should be reconsidered or training may be necessary.
Plenty of businesses start out strong. They discuss values and build a foundation for their business to grow upon. It’s a great start, but as time goes on and challenges arise, the foundation starts to crumble. Businesses begin thinking about what is right for the business, not necessarily what is right, and integrity becomes less and less of a priority.
Integrity should always be a priority. Always. If you have strong convictions and practice integrity or being whole and undivided in your personal life, you are certainly more likely to do so in business. The people who work hard to stay unshakable in their values and consistent in their actions are likely to be the ones who become leaders and carry that integrity on into business practices in an effective and meaningful way.
Take The First Steps
Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out in the business world, you can benefit from understanding integrity in business. Start by evaluating yourself and your personal goals, dreams, and values. Then, take a long hard look at your mission for the business. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to decide how you will get there.
Write down your business’ mission. Make sure your team members don’t just understand it, but are onboard with it. Talk about what these goals mean for each individual person and how they will contribute to reaching them in an honest way. This is the perfect time to ensure that your employees know that integrity isn’t just about their personal behavior, it’s about the “behavior” of the business as well, and they contribute to that.
When you make these goals and expectations clear, you are one step closer to building an effective business based on integrity and passion, two ingredients that are essential for success. Set a solid foundation and be sure the entire team is working to keep it strong.
Your system is perfectly designed for the results you’re getting. What do you think of that? It’s true, and not a ton of business owners or leaders want to hear it. It’s a very simple concept, and all leaders need to think about how it applies to them and their business if they want to start seeing the results they truly desire. Only change in your systems will create change in your results.
We usually start talking about this principle when it becomes apparent that the leaders of a business are not impressed with the results they are seeing. They start to question a myriad of things from their employees to the lunchroom policies to the copy machine’s inability to do one complete job without getting jammed.
None of these things are to blame. Because your system is designed in a way that sets the business on the course which renders your current results, the system is really what you should be looking at. Our favorite definition of insanity (because there are many) is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different result. Similarly, why would you have the same systems and processes in place and expect something more favorable to happen?
Ultimately, you can’t talk your way out of a situation that you behaved your way into. If you want out (and we think you do) you’ve got to act—and act differently at that. Let’s talk about some systems that receive a failing grade:
- If your business is spending more money than you are earning, no amount of investments, new loans, or hard work will change that. Your system is perfectly designed for bankruptcy.
- If your employees are allowed to take advantage of your generosity, you’ll probably find that your system is perfectly designed for a lack of productivity.
- If your business doesn’t spend time nurturing clients, then your system is perfectly designed to fail at obtaining repeat clients.
When you find your business here, it can be hard to figure out exactly how you got there, and that’s frustrating. That’s usually the point where leaders go looking for a source or even a person to blame. The fact is, however, that what you must really find is the flaw in the system.
Change Your System Get Results
The first step toward seeing better results is to identify the results you’d like to see. Sit down with a business partner or a trusted advisor and get cracking. Once you’ve discovered one or two results you believe can be achieved, think about what actions need to be taken to get there.
How do those actions differ from the ones you currently see? This knowledge is invaluable; it will help you make the changes necessary for your own system to start seeing results you desire.
So next time you find that you aren’t seeing the results that you think you should be getting, think about actions are being taken that produce that undesirable result. When the system is perfectly designed to achieve negative outcomes, it’s time to start focusing on changing the system.
Money makes the world go round, so it’s understandable that many businesses think that money is the key factor in driving business success. (It’s actually not.) There are many things that affect the success of a business, but the most important factor is relationships. Building solid relationships isn’t an easy thing to do. It requires courtesy, professionalism, attention, and most of all, it requires change. When these relationships blossom, however, your brand will have some solid ground to stand upon.
There is always someone who has been where you are. There is always someone who understands the system better than you. There is always someone with a connection that could make your business big. If you don’t bother to connect and stay in touch with these “someones” then your brand won’t reap all the benefits.
Networking is important for both businesses and a personal career. It can be a ton of work, and it certainly requires some dedication, but it’s worth it. In the end, your connections may be able to take you somewhere you weren’t able to go by yourself.
It takes a great deal of work to maintain good customer relationships. It encompasses your online presence, how you interact with customers, and of course, at what lengths you’ll go to to work through issues and situations for them.
Customers drive business; without them you don’t have much. Developing a personal relationship with your customers is the best way to foster trust and garner loyalty from the people who make your brand a true sensation. Taking the time to get to know them shows your customers how much you value them, and that is not something many businesses do. They will take notice, and it will make a difference for your brand.
We like to think that businesses are run because of our knack for technology or acumen for finances, but what really makes a business shine is the people who work for it. When team members feel valued, when they feel needed, when they feel cared for, it shows in their work and their determination to see the brand reach new heights.
Showing your employees that you care about them is probably the easiest task here. Networking takes a great deal of effort and so does maintaining valuable relationships with your customers. Doing your best for your employees is easy in comparison. Giving a Christmas bonus or saying, hey, leave early and go to your daughter’s soccer game are easy. Even the smallest of gestures will leave an impression on your employees, and when they are happy, the business can prosper.
Driving Past The Competition
You’ll only get out of relationships what you put into them, and stellar relationships can put your brand ahead of the competition in many ways. The personal relationships with industry leaders, the trust you’ve instilled in your customers, and the dedicated, loyal employees are the driving force behind a business’ success. When you focus on these three types of relationships, there’s no telling where they can take your brand.
Nothing comes easy; diligence is required for success. Strong leaders possess a myriad of positive qualities from good listener to fast learner to logical—but diligence is key. There are plenty of things a leader can do to get noticed, but diligence is typically what sets her apart from the pack. Diligence will mean something different for every project and every person, but it always requires doing things carefully and completely, meeting deadlines, and following through.
Carefully & Completely
No one appreciates sloppy work. No one. It’s as simple as that. Whether you work for a client or you work for yourself, you can’t get anywhere with subpar work. Somewhere along the line, someone will take notice and it will reflect poorly on you. Doing things carefully is not quite enough, however.
Everything you do must also be done completely. Not 90%. Not 98%. If you won’t commit to completing a project 110% then you shouldn’t bother at all. How do you complete something 110% you ask? Go back and check your work. Then check it again. Then have a colleague check it. Then brainstorm five ways you can make it better. Implement those changes.
Everything you do from running over a supply list to putting the finishing touches on a marketing campaign require nothing short of your best from start to finish and beyond.
Deadlines are a common theme in the business sector. Everyone has them and no one has yet figured out how to overcome them. (Not without negative consequences that is.) The truth is that deadlines are there for a reason. They help us stay accountable, show that we value our work, and give us the freedom to say “that’s enough” and move on to the next thing. If we are constantly focused on one project and one project alone, we don’t get the opportunity to move forward.
Deadlines are important for the people we serve for the same exact reasons. They want to move their business further and feel like you value the work you provide.
Always Follow Through
Follow through isn’t just for the people you work for; it’s just as valuable to you as it is to them—maybe more. It’s easy for anyone to get so caught up in setting goals that they never actually accomplish any. Following through makes you reliable for both your client and yourself. After all, if you can’t rely on yourself, who can you rely on?
Follow through is the last key piece that makes diligence complete, and when you follow through and see your goal come to fruition on this project, you’ll be much more likely to do the same on the next. It’s a circle that you just never want to end.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that If you want to rule, if you really want to dominate the market that you’re in, diligence is essential. If you are diligent, you will be noticed and rewarded. If you are diligent habitually, you will be in charge. The people who are in charge not only make more money, they have more options than those who don’t. The your success reaches will be largely in part to how diligent you are.
Every business is looking for ways to save money, that’s a given. With more time and resources available, brands can make the necessary changes that will help them grow and and achieve the goals and milestones that set forth for themselves. Businesses are constantly searching for that secret ingredient, that magic tool that will make them successful. The biggest asset that a business has to propel itself forward, however, is always close by and easy to access: it’s the people who work there.
Shared Goals And Vision
Too many people go to work, do only what needs to be done, and head home the very moment the clock strikes five eager only for the moment their paycheck will arrive. This kind of arrangement doesn’t allow for the ownership and pride that comes with truly being a valued member on a team. It doesn’t endear an employee to management or vice versa.
Employees become assets when they believe in what the company is doing, when what they are doing has a direct impact on the results the company is achieving. When you take steps to involve your team members in the development of the brand’s goals and vision, it becomes their own, and they’ll work tirelessly to see it come to fruition.
Making Productivity A Priority
Results happen when goals are clear and strategies are put in place to maximize the time and effort spent. Businesses can help employees reach the peak of their productivity by giving them the tools they need. This may include things like to do lists, stage gates, and even project management software to help streamline processes and keep everyone focused. Making productivity a priority may also mean spending some time coaching team members individually to determine what practices are best for them.
When team members share the company’s vision and are making the most out of the time they spend working, the achievement of the brand’s goals isn’t too far off.
Investing In Your Assets
Every business makes investments in the hope that the return on investment will be high. Sometimes it’s project management software. Sometimes it’s a membership into an exclusive group that will make the brand stand out for potential customers. But what most businesses fail to notice is that what they should be investing in is their employees. This can take many forms:
- Vacation and time off. The culture in American business has become very “work hard, play hard”, but somehow, many people seem to forget about the play part completely. Encourage your employees to take the days they need, encourage them to go on vacation. Time away from the office is essential to good health and it also helps employees rest so they will be fresh and ready to push even harder when they return.
- Create a loving environment. Employees work harder when they feel that they are loved and valued; it’s a simple fact. Spend the time connecting with your team members individually. Take everyone out to lunch now and again. Create a culture worth contributing to.
- Ongoing education. Everything changes. As soon as you learn new tricks and processes, the industry standards will have changed once again. This is why it’s essential that you invest into your team members through ongoing education so they can continue to contribute in meaningful ways. Not only will their improved skill set help your business, but your investment will show them how much you value them and give them the encouragement they need to stay focused and work hard.
Team Members Build The Brand
In a fast-paced business world, team members are what really make a difference for brands. They are sometimes the face, sometimes the hands, but they are always the backbone. Taking care of your employees should be your number one priority as a leader in your business, and when you take care of them, they will take care of you. With the dedication and determination of all-star employees, you’ll be able to build your business in ways you hadn’t imagined possible.
Most of us work hard. We go above and beyond the regular 40 hour work week because we want to move forward in business, but that extra time invested doesn’t mean results. This happens because we have ideas, we have what-ifs, we have vague inclinations about what success means, but we work aimlessly and tirelessly toward and end that hasn’t been defined. When you dedicate yourself to becoming focused and changing the way you function in your efforts, you don’t have to work harder because you are working smarter.
Write Your Goals Down
This is the first step toward working smarter and seeing the results you desire. On any given day, we could have a thousand goals floating about in our brains, but they don’t truly become tangible until we write them down. When they aren’t tangible, they can’t be reached. Seeing them on paper makes us more accountable for strategies and follow through than if we had simply allowed them to stay in the world of imagination. For any achievement to be accomplished, the vision needs to be known and shared by all.
Once clear goals have been set, it’s time to change the way that you work so all of that hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Change The Way You Work
This is where working smarter comes into play. Now that you have your goals in front of you, you must ask yourself how you will achieve them. You are likely to find that the processes you usually employ aren’t sufficient to achieve the end that you seek. Now is the time to change the way you work.
You will quickly realize that you don’t need to work longer hours foregoing time with family and pushing your other priorities aside to start realizing those goals for your business. Employ the SMART model to change the way you work:
- Specific – Be very specific about what you want to achieve.
- Measurable – Identify ways that you can measure your progress.
- Achievable – Decide who will be in charge of making this vision a reality.
- Results orientated – Be explicit in stating the results that can reasonably be reached.
- Time sensitive – Determine a time frame for accomplishing your goal.
The last one on this list may be the most important at this stage in the game as setting a time frame is essential for staying the course. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to get caught up in other areas of business, letting your goal slip away.
Make It Personal
It’s always necessary to remember how important your personal life is as well—never lose sight of that. Now that you have your priorities set at work and strategies in place for achieving your business goals, it’s time to turn your focus inward. Start setting realistic goals at home. Start small with with things like eating healthier or reading a new book once a week. These kinds of goals are realistic and achievable and can improve your personal well being so you can focus on working smarter when you get back to the office.