Every business needs help. You can’t do it all alone.
Your team is central to your business. Even if you have part-time or virtual help, you still have a team supporting you. If you’re just starting out, your team may only include your accountant, your lawyer, and your banker.
So how do you make sure that this help you have is really helping? Let’s look at 5 things you can do:
1. Start with the Big Why. It’s important that your team understands what you’re aiming for, what you want to accomplish, on a high level. Once they understand that, they are more equipped to make those small decisions that are usually part of every project in a more informed way. That empowers them, and frees up your time.
Also, if you can find people who believe in your Big Why, your business’ reason for being in terms of the impact it will have, you’ll have the most motivated and inspired team members. You won’t have to work so hard to pump them up and get things done. They’ll be driven by their own enthusiasm for the impact your business has.
2. Follow with the little why. Sharing with team members the reason why this particular project or task needs to be done will allow them to draw on their own knowledge, skills, and expertise in a bigger way. They’ll be thinking ahead, being proactive about how something could be done better and faster, and anticipate possible roadblocks.
3. Give them a corral. In coaching my clients, I use the metaphor of the Big Pasture. The Big Pasture is created by a set of boundaries that define the parameters of the work. Be clear about those boundaries: timeline, budget, and resources. Once you have established those boundaries, they can gallop around inside of them to their heart’s delight. Creativity can open up, and they will feel free to suggest new ideas that serve the Big and little Why.
As part of your pasture-defining, be clear about your level of willingness to be involved in the process. Do you really want to be asked to approve every step, or can they carry on to a defined milestone on their own? Once you define the limits, follow through on them, so the boundaries of the Big Pasture are reinforced.
4. Provide lots of yummy eats. OK, I’m really milking the pasture metaphor! But stay with me – this works! Give feedback. Substantial feedback (=yummy eats!) that is grounded with specific examples.
When something needs adjustment or a change in direction, let your team members know. Don’t leave it unaddressed, and then stew on it. Address each issue as it arises. That will be easier for you, and easier for them. Most people really do want to know if you have concerns. They’d rather know about it right away, so they have a chance to adjust. If there continue to be a lot of issues, or serious ones, then it may be time to look at whether this team member is a good fit.
When things go well, let them know! Offer praise at the level that’s appropriate for the size and/or importance of the task. Celebrate accomplishments by taking them out to dinner (more yummy eats!), throwing a party, or sending them a gift. Let team members join you in taking time out to acknowledge what’s been done.
5. Let them know the outcome. How did the project turn out? Often, if you’re working with multiple virtual team members, they may not still be involved at the end of a project or effort. It’ll up their level of engagement with you and your company if you keep them posted on how things turned out. Did sales go up with your new website? Did you get many more signups when the opt-in box was redesigned? Share the outcome, and you’ll build rapport and longer-term relationships with team members.
The whole point of this is to do everything you reasonably can to support your team in delivering a great outcome for your clients and customers.
These 5 strategies for helping your help help you help… wait… OK, now that we’ve caught up with each other… will put you in the best position to do the great work you do, to have the impact that you have on your clients and the larger world.