What kind of business owner are you?
Over the last 16 years I have worked with a variety of business owners and recognise the impact that the style of leadership has on a business. So, if I was to ask you how you manage your business which of the few that I have illustrated below would apply to you?
You recruit people to do a job, and want to tell them how to do it. Although the person may have many years of experience and are quite able to organise themself you feel as though you have to tell them how to do their job, and even go behind them and change what they have already done.
If you fall into this category, you may want to consider whether this the best use of your time? Any concerns that you have about your team members’ abilities to do their job may be due to wanting certainty, or are showing you that you need to change your recruitment strategy. Either way your business is prone to suffer because it is unlikely to be operating efficiently.
You have piles of unopened business correspondence around your workspace, and when team members ask for documents you do not know where to start looking for them, but you “know” that they must be in a pile somewhere. Even worse, you do not acknowledge having received the information and ignore the request so that you can do other things.
If this sounds familiar the first step in making improvements is to acknowledge that this is how you used to operate, and then make a firm decision to get organised. If it is too painful to sort through all of the piles yourself get someone in to do the organising for you. Remember, you have to let them get on with their job and create a simple but effective system for you to use to stay on top of correspondence and action points. Then, stick to it!
Head in sand
Issues are not being addressed in a timely manner, and your team keep asking you to make decisions, but why can’t they see that you have other things to do and just get on with it?
Does this sound familiar? The point is that sometimes as the business owner your team do need you to make the “big” decisions, and if key strategic business decisions need to be made, or external authorities addressed your team may not have all of the answers to remedy the situation.
I remember one business owner who had called me in to review their collection process, I designed a process and supporting document for them to implement and needed their feedback on whether they were happy to proceed. It was when I pressed the issue and could highlight the cost of not making a timely decision the they eventually realised the impact that the delay had had on the company’s cashflow.
Resistant to take advice
You have hired experienced individuals to be on your team, but the advice that they are giving you means that you have to change the way that you have always done things, and you are not sure how this will impact your business. So, regardless of how many times they repeat the same advice you continue as usual.
The fact that you have hired “experts” in their field into your business suggests that you are aware that some things need to change. So, although it may be painful, and even stressful to embrace change if the long term impact is beneficial to both you and the business you can either feel the pain now, and embrace the advice given, or feel it later, when the outcome may be far more painful.
Appreciate the ability of others
When recruiting you know what you are looking for in a team member and let them get on and do their job. In your mind they are the expert in their area, so you can rely on them to deliver and you will focus on doing what you do best. If issues arise you know that they will get dealt with, or you will be informed when you need to get involved.
Although you appreciate your team you still have your eye on the ball, and know what is going on in the business, and where any potential issues may arise. You trust your team to have the well-being of the business as a priority, and in turn acknowledge them for what they do. This is a healthy approach to building a loyal team who feel responsible and valued. In companies where this level of autonomy is practiced, assuming that the “right” people have been recruited in the first place, staff turnover tends to be lower and team members feel like family. People stay with the organisation for more than the monthly paycheck.
You are passionate about what you do, and once you get an idea you want to run with it immediately. Your expectations are that your team will get on board and will make things happen.
Have I caught your attention? Are you already thinking about the next initiative that you are going to drive forward? Hold on, have you got all of the feedback to see how the last initiative has performed? Great if you have, and well done for your innovation. This approach works well if you have total commitment from your team, as they will either love the pace and intensity of your drive or will start to experience burn out just trying to keep up.
Once you have been in business for a number of years unless you have a process of continuous review and refresh you might identify with the following:
- Are you so busy in the business that you have forgotten why you went into business in the first place?
- Do those reasons still stand true?
- Do you enjoy life, and does the business satisfy your four primary requirements for health, business, relationships and leisure?
Most of us go into business because we believe that we have something special to offer, and want to offer it in our own way. We have visions of how the business will operate and grow, and expect that it will give us a good, if not great, quality of life. This reality, especially in the early stages of starting a business is considerably different for the majority.