The words “team” and “building” might conjure up bad memories from business school of trust falls or building tricycles and racing them as full-grown adults. Perhaps you still shutter at putting together a boat made out of nothing but a piece of cardboard and some plastic wrap to “sail” across a small pond in your business clothes—yeah, you get f**king soaked and have to drive home thinking: “What in the world did that teach me about working together as a team? We had to build a boat out of cardboard that doesn’t float and I basically went for an unexpected swim.” Not that I’m still bitter about these experiences…
I think there is a misunderstanding about what team building really is for a small business. Team building is any activity that enhances the work your team will complete at your business. Activities like reviewing your specific operations processes, learning about a new product or service, and sales training would all be considered team building. Activities like getting dinner together or going out for drinks are not team building exercises and in my opinion, should be considered rewards for meeting business goals.
Now that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort hiring the best possible team, you’ve got to spend time developing and training them. There’s nothing worse in life than wasted talent and trust me your team has talent, so use it!
“But it’s so hard to delegate,” you might say. “I can do everything myself faster and better than my employees.” Um, remember what we talked about? If you don’t grow your business, then it’s dying. And, what’s the definition of a business, again? Oh yeah, a profitable enterprise that works without you…find the time to document all of your business processes so your employees have a reference to refer to on how to do everything that you do. You might find that someone on your team does things better than you. Wouldn’t that be great!
Maybe you write an operations manual. Maybe you write out sales sheets. Maybe you write out role-playing scenarios to teach your team how to combat opposition to a sale of your product or service. Maybe you write out phone scripts. Whatever you do, write it down and teach your employees how to do it like you would. For the record, I do all of those things at my studios. Well, actually I have my amazing manager create them. I review, and then she teaches everyone. Delegating. It works when you have the RIGHT team working for you.
Then after my team meets a sales goal, they are rewarded. Last month, we all went out and got pedicures. After all, it’s tough staying on your toes!
Remember, when your team is working FOR your business, you are free to work ON your business. You will have time to develop a killer marketing strategy, or create an events calendar and budget for the next year.
It is imperative, however, that the team is always learning. That means, you are always challenging them, giving them new goals, and spending time supporting their efforts.
Uh, it never ends, does it? Nope. But, if owning and operating a business was easy, everyone would do it! Besides there is nothing better than rewarding your team for a job well done. When I took my team out for those pedicures, seeing them all smiling and happy was sweet. Ok, maybe they were just buzzed from drinking wine. Don’t ruin it for me! In my mind, they were happy to celebrate working hard and meeting our completely unrealistic goal of bringing in new clients for the month of September. But they did it! What did I say about talent?
Unfortunately, there may be times when your team is not working well together or you have made a hiring mistake. I’ll discuss many of the hiring mistakes that I’ve made in my next post. Some of them are funny, but one almost cost me my business.
Until then stay on your toes!