This article explains the 3 key elements to getting your employees to work effectively as a productive team for your own business.
It will take some effort though – a high performing team starts with strong leadership and that’s all about you.
Strong leadership is not about being a sergeant-major, barking instructions and expecting everybody to jump at your every word.
It’s about setting clear direction and purpose for your employees, then giving them the right environment to succeed.
Some of this will be things like effective systems and processes, but the foundation for your leadership and business management starts with the three elements on this page:
- Clear direction – your one-page business plan
- Right people – hire the right staff, give them clarity of roles
- Strong team work – stronger communication and personal bonds get the highest performance
They’re described in the rest of the article below.
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Management Blueprint 1: A One-Page Business Plan
Most small businesses have no written plans. There is no clear objective and there is no sense of direction for the long term. There is just work.
Nobody gets anywhere without some sense of ambition and direction. Writing down your goals brings your ambition into clear relief and moves you onto thinking about how you’ll make it happen.
Your one-page business plan is a single sheet that links together the long-term objectives you have for your business with the day to day actions that you and your staff have to take to get there.
If you don’t have this linkage, it can be difficult to get any consistent focus over a period of time.
The plan always starts with your vision. What exactly would you like your business to become through time?
Don’t take the easy route of just setting a turnover figure, because that’s not going to inspire your staff.
Instead, you need to think about some greater purpose that your business will serve beyond simply making money for you.
For example, if you have a restaurant you could decide you’re going to make it the most romantic in the city, catering to loving couples. Or you could decide to go for a Michelin star and to be one of the best in the country. Or perhaps the most fun.
Once you’ve set your vision, you have to define the strategies, plans and actions to get you there. There’s a template for a one-page plan available to free members of Double Your Business Growth Club.
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Management Blueprint 2: The Right People Doing The Right Things
Too often, small businesses employ their friends, neighbours or friends of other employees. There is no effective interview process to filter out poor employees and hiring decisions are often made after seeing just one candidate.
Small wonder, then, that your team doesn’t feel as motivated and capable as it should be! Sort out your people, and watch things improve.
Stars are highly motivated, have a great attitude and are very capable. These are the people who care about your business almost as much as you do.
Apprentices are very motivated, but need to learn the ropes. The label is a bit unfair, because sometimes you can have a very experienced worker move into a new job, who needs to learn the new skills before they can move up into the star performer again.
Divas are almost impossible to manage effectively. Full of attitude and ego, they often feel critical to the smooth running of your business because of specialist skills or knowledge. If you can avoid them, do so, but don’t invest a huge amount of time and effort into trying to make them become the person they are not! Divas can often be replaced after you sort out the operational systems and processes in your business.
Millstones are a dead weight around the neck of your business, holding it down and causing everything to be much harder work than it should be. Get rid of them. You might have one, and know it, but are afraid to act. Just get on with it – they are dead wood and are costing you in performance, time, stress and lost profit.
Roles and Responsibilities
As your business grows you need to make sure that everybody understands their job function.
If there are no clear boundaries or set roles and responsibilities, then friction will occur wherever a task falls between the cracks and people will start blaming others for the problems.
The root cause is a lack of clear roles and responsibilities. Clarifying these and writing them down so they are recorded for permanent reference is the secret to clearing this up.
When people are clear, the emotional heat is taken out of their frustrations, blaming is eliminated and your team can just get on with doing a great job for you.
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Management Blueprint 3: Team Building
Team meetings are a rarity in most owner/managed businesses. Instead, smaller gatherings of two or three people come together to discuss specific problems or tasks. Teams don’t get together to brainstorm ideas for growth, develop action plans or to ask for help when they can’t get things done.
As a result, most teams bubble along working OK, but never reach their true potential, even when you’ve got all of the right people.
If you’re ambitious, set a regular meeting for your team to get together. In this meeting you’ll want to review business performance, identify serious issues, brainstorm, set goals and agree action plans.
These regular meetings are like the heartbeat of your business. If a team member agrees to take an action at a meeting, you can be sure that they’ll want to get it done by next time if they know it’s going to be reviewed.
Thus the regular meetings become a real pulse for your business, and the more frequently you hold them, the faster your business can change.
For a business going through rapid change, where you are looking for weekly improvements, you’ll need to hold a weekly meeting to review progress and set the actions for the next week.
Being held accountable is a powerful tool for growth – it’s one of the key reasons my clients choose to work with me as their business growth coach.
There’s a template agenda for team meetings in the resources section of Growth Club.
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