You are not alone, even if you are self-employed; you have a group of suppliers, peers, or other professionals around you. You will have a process of recruitment and bringing people into the business. Ideally, they will be doing their best work and achieving results. You have a culture that inspires people, and people are proud of where they work. They want to do their best work, and feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
- It's really important that we align people to the plan. And what do I mean by that? Do people know what they're there to do? Do they know their responsibility? Do they know what success looks like? I like to use the analogy of rowing, a rowing crew, a crew of eight. Now, the leader is the smallest one. She is the only one who sets strategy, she sets the rhythm of the river.
All the others have their back to where they're going, so they'd have to deeply trust their leader. But they don't try to outperform each other. No, no, they bring their best talents to the boat, the right talents. You don't have best on day, best unfairest. No, no, they know their job that they need to do in their seat to get the best outcome. And when a crew is in true flow, they are one, they are one.
And that experience of flow is really what we're looking for in our own small businesses. So, sometimes in business, we call goals KPIs, key performance indicators. And if your people have this, and they may have one or two, don't give them too many, keep it short. It's all about those KPIs, when you roll them up, they're giving you the view of your overall business plan. So, each individual has their KPI, that, when you roll it up, it makes a complete plan.
And if you're watching carefully who is delivering on those KPIs, you'll understand whether you are going to achieve your plan, or not. It's a really important metric to look at, who is delivering on their KPIs? Again, you might use red amber green just to keep you focused on individuals and at individual levels. It's an individual effort that makes the team. But the coach is also important, the communication. Communication is essential to any business.
You know, the last thing I wanted in my business was anybody saying, "I didn't know, no one told me." It's so frustrating. I do believe that people need to take responsibility for asking questions themselves, but, as a leader, as the business owner, it is our job to communicate with people and let them know what is going on. So, having a way that you communicate, whether it's an all-hands meeting, whether it's one-on-one meetings, it's really important that you communicate. So, making sure that you are communicating effectively, allow people to have space and time to ask questions.
It might be worth taking the time to individually ask each of your team members, what does success look like, what does success mean for them? It's a great way of understanding whether they relate their personal success to your success, or the business' success. I've recently asked every single person in my business what success looked like for them and I was surprised at the answers, I really was surprised. What I found was people kind of rushing to the urgent for the sake of the important. In other words, emails were coming in, or something happened with a customer, and they're rush, rush, rushing to fix that rather than thinking about, wow, does this problem happen a lot, how can I fix that strategically? How can I, if I fix this, how can I solve it forever? So, I found that success for people was literally, I've got to get through what I need to get done today, and, actually, I'm feeling exhausted, because, tomorrow, I know it's going to be exactly the same as it was today.
So, my job as leader is to encourage them to say, hey, we could do this differently. We do the same thing over and over again. We've got to stop the rushing, take the time, breathe, and assess, is there trends in what is going on? Aligning people and allowing people to speak up is equally important. Your people have the answer to all the innovation you need in your business, because they experience it every single day.
So, think about this, how much time do you spend racing around for somebody else's urgent and you're not working on your important? At Red Balloon, we found it was really important to create a whole employee framework. I needed to look after my people, so that they could look after customers. It was this employee framework of how we communicate why, what, and how, really made the difference to our business. My job, as their leader, is to make sure I give them the tools and the environment to do their best work, and part of that is the communication, and, absolutely, keeping them aligned to the plan.
I want every single team member to go home feeling like a winner and feeling a sense of accomplishment. And we get that when they know what they were there to do. And it can be great fun.
- Finding your purpose
- Keeping the passion alive
- Setting the framework for success
- Ensuring that your people are aligned to your goals
- Setting your priorities
- Promoting your business effectively