It’s important to get the people around you more motivated so that your business can run like the well-oiled machine you’ve always intended for it to be.
There are some I correspond with, specifically solo entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, that aren’t sure how this might apply to them. But even solo business owners need to rally a team — whether they are independent contractors, vendors, or even clients.
You see, I’ve come to realize over the years that WE are our own worst enemy, when it comes to running our businesses … not external factors, not market forces, not even good or bad staff members. It comes down to looking in the mirror, and taking responsibility for the results we’re currently experiencing.
So … if things are down right now: don’t blame anyone but yourself. This doesn’t mean self-flagellation, but instead that seeing things in this light really is the first step to getting OUT of it — because you finally begin to focus on things WITHIN your control, instead of outside it. Recognizing that is really quite liberating.
Conversely, if things are GOOD: don’t abandon what got you there in the first place and coast, as if just by showing up, the magic happens. That just isn’t the case, and you know it.
And, did you know that, when I sit down with business owner friends, one of the most common complaints I hear about relates to employees?
But when you get to the bottom of it, these complaints amount to an abdication of responsibility for results.
So here’s how to do better by your team…
“Real World” Business Strategy
Valerie McLaughlin’s Tips for a Better Functioning Business Team
“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” -John Ruskin
Many business clients I see are one-man shows. I think that the task of managing employees has frustrated more small business owners than it has made feel “warm” inside. So people like to avoid dealing with employees.
But, instead of blaming employees for their laziness or unreliability, it’s most helpful to focus on what you CAN change, and not fire and hire like it’s the only good solution for shifting a company culture. After all, it’s quite expensive. These tips are cheaper — and more reliable.
Try them out and let me know how it works for your business…
1- Measure productivity. From the moment you first interview a candidate, they should understand your expectations. Whether your culture is a high-stress, strict regime, or a laid back, “go with the flow” atmosphere, be sure your employees truly comprehend that you value and expect productivity.
You can do this simply by implementing systems which track and measure employee output on a daily basis. You’ll be amazed by what happens when your employees simply compare their work against themselves.
2- Don’t avoid incentives. Even the most dedicated and self-motivated worker needs an external incentive on occasion. Think of an incentive (such as Employee of the Month, or additional bonuses) that you can consistently offer. Remember that it does NOT have to be monetary in order to motivate.
3- Have employees learn the mission statement. Make sure your staff is aware of the company’s purpose. When the entire company is united in a common purpose, more work gets done.
Now this doesn’t necessarily touch every employee…really, it’s most effective with the sort of person who thrives by understanding the “big picture”–but that’s more of your employees than you likely realize.
4- Give your employees a chance to grow. Too many business owners are tempted to do it all themselves. Relinquish your tight hold on the company and give your employees a chance to solve problems, try new ideas, and put their own thoughts and ideas to the test.
Look, even if things don’t go as well as if YOU had done them, guess what? You’ve gained good experience in delegation AND excellence from your staff.
5- Practice “lavish praise and quick corrections”. One of my favorite books is The One-Minute Manager. You should read it. The essence of it is to catch people doing well and point it out to them. But you also have to quickly correct and reprimand when you see something outside of what you expect.
Hope you’ll be able to put at least some of these to work in your own business soon, and reap generous rewards from them.
I’m grateful for our partnership, and for your referrals!
Valerie McLaughlin, EA