This week I’m starting a series on team building for business growth. I’ll be touching on job descriptions, the hiring process, onboarding, performance reviews, the firing process, and more…Stay tuned!
Today, we will get started with an overview of why the right team is critical to success and a few strategies to start to evaluate the overall health of your team.
No question about it! Growth requires the right team.
In last week’s blog, I talked about moving from being a doer to being a leader. You have to learn to delegate if you want to be a true CEO.
Choosing the right team is one of those make-or-break decisions that can either be the foundation of a successful business, or it’s complete undoing.
It’s easier said than done.
Business growth creates a lot of moving parts which can create confusion when it comes to figuring out where to make changes to keep pace with expansion.
Staffing isn’t a single decision, either. Instead, think of it as a constant process of evaluating the structure of your biz, assessing workflow systems, and making choices about where people best fit in your organization.
On the other hand, if your growth is stalled, or if there is a bottleneck in your business, the first place to look for solutions is within your team.
Do you have enough support?
Business growth can creep up slowly or explode suddenly. Either way, it’s all too easy to get used to chaos, stress, and 12 hour days. Don’t let yourself get to this point! Take a deep breath and consider whether you have enough people in place to actually do all the work.
- Spend some of your strategic planning time to write down tasks that you are ready to delegate to others. Get busy-work off your plate!
- Would another full or part-time worker make all the difference?
- Can you hire a contractor for a short-term project?
- What processes can be outsourced for less money and overhead than you can provide from within your business?
Are you on the same page with core values?
Finding employees that not only understand but also share, the core values of your biz matters a great deal. After all, they will be representing your brand with every customer they interact with and every word of content they create.
In addition, team cohesion will be strongest with a diverse set of people coming to the table with shared goals. The point is not to fill your ranks with people that all think the same, rather, to find people that can bring their unique perspectives and expertise to the ideas that are at the center of your business’s mission.
Does everyone know what his or her job responsibilities are?
It isn’t enough for the job responsibilities to be clear in your head as the CEO. Unless your team members have a clear understanding of what they are expected to do, they can’t possibly perform.
- Have the job responsibilities been clearly communicated to the employee?
- Are you checking in with a weekly meeting to be sure that they are on track?
- Have you defined clear benchmarks for success so that your team members can reach growth-oriented goals?
Is everyone doing what they are supposed to do and achieving their goals?
People may know what they are supposed to be doing, but are they actually doing it? Once again a weekly meeting (at least in the beginning) to check in and see if the employee/contractor truly understands her role, or has questions, will go a long way towards solving potential problems before you both get into trouble.
Is everyone operating in their “Zone of Genius?”
Along those same lines, do you have your people operating in roles that bring out their best assets? Do you know if your bookkeeper is a design wizard? Do you know if your customer service person is fabulous with processes and procedures, but only so-so with customer interaction? Both of these employees may be a great asset to your organization but may be in the wrong roles, or their jobs might need to be adjusted to really take advantage of their strengths.
Do they get along with one another?
Not everyone has to like one another, but they do need to be able to work well together. If there is unhappiness or friction between team members, everyone suffers, and the business will too.. Addressing this head-on with a meeting with all concerned will go a long way to resolving the tension, providing all parties are willing participants. If it the problem persists, it may be time to make a change in personnel.
Are they productive enough?
An employee may know what their job is and be good at it, but perhaps it’s at a snail’s pace–too slow for the growth your biz is facing.
Sometimes you can solve this kind of problem with some additional training. For example, they may need support with organizational skills, or perhaps productivity tools will provide a much-needed boost.
Or…they may just be in the wrong job. (Stay tuned for a future blog post in this series that will discuss the firing process.)
Do you enjoy working with each member of your team?
If this is not the case take a good look at your hiring process (more on that in a later post). If you as the CEO are not happy with your people, your business will reflect that friction.
Does drama get in the way of any of them taking care of business? This is one of my pet peeves. My assumption is that we are all adults and professionals here. If someone consistently acts or reacts, from a point of emotion, rather than clear thinking, and if they are repeatedly upsetting others in the organization, this must be addressed. If this is the case with any of your team members, let them know early that this kind of behavior has been noted and is not acceptable. If you don’t see vast improvement cut them loose, for everyone’s sake.
Is your organizational structure keeping pace with growth?
Typically we hire with a specific job description and certain responsibilities in mind. However, a business is not a static organization. As your biz grows, staffing is a moving target. You must be willing and ready to evolve to keep up.
It’s your job as the CEO to regularly examine the functional needs of your business and make changes accordingly.
Once or twice a year, take a fresh look at what needs to be done functionally at this stage of your business to support your growth and then see if you have people assigned to those tasks. If not, you have no choice but to move the tasks around to fit the personnel you have or create new positions to bring on the talent you need to thrive.
A strong team is essential for your business growth. Incredible creativity and productivity come when a team is working together and is accountable to each other and you. A team can meet or even exceed your expectations when they are clear on what you want. A winning team works together and gets you that much closer to being about to take a vacation without worrying.
Invest in and support your team and they will contribute to your thriving, growing business.