As a business owner, your business should be your greatest ally. It shapes the person you are and the life you are living. Unfortunately, the organization in which we work can become our enemy rather than our friend.
I work on a daily basis with business owners who are frustrated and overworked. They are not the most effective, the most fulfilled in their business, or the ones creating the most profit. If you recognize yourself as a member of this group, I advise you to focus on these three key areas to turn things around.
What do you put in?
One of the key drivers of the human condition is our desire to add value. We want, perhaps even need, to know that the impact we have is positive. We want to be recognized. We want to know that our talent is influential. We grow when we contribute, so focus on this every day.
If your business is a place where everyone has a chance to shine and contribute in a meaningful way, you create a powerfully positive environment.
A wonderful business plays to the strengths of every team member. The great communicators lead the meetings, and the fantastic innovators contribute to new ideas. Have you identified the strengths of yourself and your team? Are you making the most of those strengths?
Make sure that you speak with everyone in your team regularly to give them the boost they need. This allows you to have a real impact and witness the tangible results in daily business operations.
Consider each team member, including yourself, and think about their strengths. Now look at whether that person is doing work that plays to that strength. Are they in a position that allows them to contribute that strength to the business? If they aren’t, then look at how you can change this and help to give them work they will feel is making a positive impact.
Look for ways to give feedback to team members on how their contribution is making a difference to the business. Everyone likes to understand how they fit in and how what they are doing means something in the bigger picture — and doing so will help you find your place within it as well.
What do you get out?
There are a few questions for you, your business, and your team to consider:
- What personal development will make me more powerful? (training/coaching/mentoring)
- How can I stretch my team to ensure that they grow every day?
- How can we create a culture of feedback that means everyone’s potential is realized?
A business that has a culture of personal development, layers learning on even the smallest of tasks. It embeds personal development planning, individual training budgets, and plenty of extracurricular opportunities.
Every week, ask your team to report on the three biggest barriers to success, and find a way to develop the team in order to overcome those barriers.
Consistent improvement is highly motivating – for you and your team. If something motivates you, it’s difficult not to fall in love with it. So, make sure your business is motivating everyone involved in it.
Where do you get your energy?
Running on empty is the quickest way to failure. Often professionals who are not seeing the results they want continue to push harder: a recipe for burnout. Resting is not seen as a productive way of achieving more. But being full of energy creates an environment of success.
The simple truth is that if you get a sense of joy and balance from your work, you perform far better.
These are the specific questions you need to focus on to ensure you and your team are efficient and enthused:
- What is the best way for you to relax and de-stress?
- How can you make sure your team is recharged daily?
- What signs will tell you that a team member is overworking and underachieving?
- How comfortable do people feel about asking for support?
Keeping your business full of energy guarantees sustainable output from your team. This requires agile working – allowing your team to work on key tasks when their energy is high, and permitting them to step back and recharge when required.
For my team, taking 15 minutes to meditate at lunchtime or running/walking during meetings make a huge impact. If deadlines are heavy, we will stop for a full hour and have a team lunch before addressing the task with full commitment.
Resting makes us strong, and I recognized that when I started permitting myself to stop, I became much more effective. The is true for everyone on the team. People need rest, and you’ll see them perform better for it.
The average human will spend 92,210 hours at work in a lifetime – are you willing to waste that many hours of your life in an environment that you don’t love?