This week I’ve been reflecting on who we need around us to make us successful. Most people who’ve built viable businesses, including me, will tell you that they couldn’t do it without their people and yet running your own business can be a lonely place. Many of us feel we have to be strong and confident at all times, which makes it hard to trust and let go. How do you find good people and how do you get the best from them? How do you inspire your team and get them pulling in the same direction?

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur!” Red Adair

Who do you need in your team?

Most successful people, whether they’re entrepreneurs, sports stars or performers, talk about their team. They tell us that they couldn’t have achieved what they did without the people around them. When British tennis player Andy Murray wins a match, he’s quick to mention how his physio, coach and nutritionist played just as important a role as he did. Collaboration between individuals with complementary strengths, experience and preferences is a key element of building a successful business.

Although we often hear that the customer is king, Richard Branson has a different perspective and is widely quoted as having said: ‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.’ None of us have everything that’s required to succeed. Successful entrepreneurs accept this and looks for people who will complement them.

It’s easy to get dazzled by someone’s credentials, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you need to be able to work with them. If someone is going to make your whole team miserable, then it doesn’t matter how great their experience or skills are – hiring them is always going to be the wrong thing to do. Just as hiring too quickly can be a huge mistake, firing too slowly can have an equally devastating effect on your team. Most people dread having ‘that’ conversation, but often people know that something isn’t right. If it’s really not working, end it quickly and professionally. You may be surprised by how well the person takes the news. When you take the time to explain in clear, rational terms why it’s not working, you’ll often get a reasonable response – the person may even be relieved.

Here are my Top 10 Tips on getting the best from your people:-

🌟 Clarity. Being clear about your expectations is vital. Your job is not to make everyone happy but to give them clarity. People won’t always agreed but they need to understand.
🌟 Delegate. It’s not easy to trust and let go but it can be learned. The secret is to be clear about the outcomes you want, rather than being too prescriptive about the method.
🌟 Communication. As your business grows you will need to communicate more than you think is necessary. You may know what’s going on but if your people feel disconnected you will lose them.
🌟 Be honest. Accept responsibility and own up to your weaknesses and mistakes. Reward honesty in the people around you. Talk openly about the challenges and opportunities that the business faces.
🌟 Empower. Back your team in front of clients and stakeholders. Avoid playing the hero by swooping in and saving the day. Instead empower your team to solve problems and come to you when they need help.
🌟 Value differences. It can be challenging working with people who are wired differently, but it’s important to acknowledge the value of their unique contribution and perspective to your business.
🌟 Deal with conflict. Don’t let problems fester or be swept under the carpet. Create a safe environment that encourages the airing of different views and perspectives instead of allowing conflict to damage your team.
🌟 Feedback. Give feedback honestly and ask for it in return. Encourage your team to give each other feedback and learn from each other. Create a culture that rewards the finding and fixing of mistakes.
🌟 Reward. Celebrate success and achievement. Make sure your people know just how much you appreciate everything they do for your business. Reward them for going above and beyond.
🌟 Belonging. Create a culture where people value each other and enjoy their work. Build trust and lead by example. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.

Lisa Zevi – July 2021