There is a significant reward we reap when we teach and grow those who have chosen to work for us. So how do we build a team of one-minded advocates.
Renowned leadership authority Steven Covey taught us: “Begin with the end in mind.” Covey is saying we must first embrace the challenge of our three main job functions: to hire, fire and train. Our responsibility to those who work with and for us is to train them. We are to cast a vision of what it looks like, feels like, and how we react to situations in our culture. We are to never waiver from the goals and targets we have set forth to achieve.
Sounds so easy, right? Well, as most of us can admit it’s not so easy.
We have all experienced the “super-star” employee. Yet, that same person either broke rules, took short cuts, or mistreated others on our team. We have all had that old friend or family member or been-here-forever individual on our team, too. We all know these individuals ,more often than not, a negative influence on the team. Not to mention the fact we have a hard time either getting rid of them or they resist learning a new way of doing things.
And some of us along the way have had "the poser.” You know the type. They say what you want to hear, do mostly what you want them to do, but all the while they are working against you and your vision or plan.
So, this article is titled “Change People, Or Change People,” and as I’ve stated this is just another way of saying our job is to seek our own trainer/teacher/mentor from outside our business. Once we have found a mentor we can move forward with our plans to transform our business into something special.
So, here are some tasks all great mentors will challenge us to face in our own businesses. If we don’t know and can’t share the vision, then we can’t expect those around us to help us achieve it. We must share our Why (purpose) and What (passion). From there our teams should be charged for creating the How (actions). In many cases, we need to create the Hows (actions), as well. This is true for a smaller businesses or simply for the first version of our plan.
Here is a list of our responsibilities:
Cast a vision
I suggest a vision written about the future and detailing the feelings and behaviors that will exist.
Share an organization chart
This should include today and an additional chart that depicts your goal/vision for the chart in 3 years.
Create and maintain a regular meeting schedule
This includes setting agendas for all meetings, as well as action steps from all meetings.
For example, consider how it would apply to an annual strategic planning meeting:
- Annual self-assessment and improvement plans
- Bi-annual full company meetings
- Monthly department meetings and One to Ones with direct reports
- Weekly sales, operations and office/support meetings
- Daily huddles in each work group
Work the plan. Measure progress, not perfection
Share the vision in writing on your website, post it in your building, make sure it is in every language that your team reads. Whatever it takes, just get it out there. Have the meetings, ask questions, share information and work the plan. Never vary from the plan without involving your team and deciding together that the plan should change.
Focus, focus, focus
When we are successful, the experts say we should be spending about 70% of our time teaching/training and the other 30 percent of our time hiring/recruiting/celebrating our team’s successes and, when we need to, firing.
Depending on where we are with our plan and the growth of our business, we frequently find ourselves selling, running operations, fixing equipment or working on finance tasks. If we are not careful, then this list of very important parts of our business becomes our full-time job. These are all great places to spend time, we just need to plan for the day -- assuming we want to build and grow our business -- that we will replace ourselves in these roles and ultimately achieve the level of working on our business, not in our business.
Easier said than done. Remember, until our minds change, nothing at all changes.
Our job is to maintain a clear and defined plan that describes the beliefs, behaviors and results we trust and believe in with all our heart. Then we must surround ourselves with others who believe, behave and create results that align with our vision. We must teach and train constantly, starting with ourselves. We owe it to ourselves and to those who make the commitment to work with us to get trained and educated in the art and skill of team building/management/leadership. In the end, if we don’t have the right people around us and we can look in the mirror and trust we have done all we can to help them and they won’t or can’t or refuse to change. Well, then we must “release them to the market”. Remember, you must give what it takes, not all you’ve got.
Nobody ever said leadership was easy, and for many leaders it is quite a thankless job. It is important to stay strong, keep focused on your shared vision, keep grounded, keep learning, keep looking in the mirror, stay humble, do what you say and always be grateful.
To cap this all off I’ve chosen to quote Yoda: “Try not. Do or Do Not.”
A 2010 Leadership Award recipient, Troy Clogg is the Founder and President of Troy Clogg Landscape Associates and a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.