Original article published on Contractor Magazine
Your service business is only as good as your team. After all, your team represents your business to every customer they meet.
A team that is negative or inefficient will hurt your business; a team that is positive and efficient will help your business. Here I share with you three strategies that you can use to build a strong, productive, healthy team.
Strategy No. 1: It all starts with culture
You can’t actually build a strong team without building a strong culture. Every business has a culture (whether you are aware of it or not) and that culture influences your team.
- Your culture gives your team its identity.
- Your culture gives your team a sense of pride and belonging.
- Your culture gives your team a benchmark to measure itself by.
- Your culture gives your team accountability between team members.
- A strong culture is one where team members are like a brotherhood; they’re fiercely loyal and they work hard because they don’t want to let the other team members down.
Culture is built through a clear brand, a feeling that “we’re all alike” and through shared experiences. From in-house mottos to after-hours get-togethers, your target should be to build a sense of community and shared identity among all team members. Once you have it, nurture it and grow it.
Strategy No. 2: You set the course
Your team is watching you very closely (even when you don’t think they’re watching) to see what you do. As the business owner, it can be tempting to put your feet up; after all, you’ve worked hard and now you have a team to do the work, so you’ve earned it. But all eyes are on you so you can’t let your guard down even a little bit!
If you want your team to work at a certain level, you need to work at 10 times that level to inspire them. Their work ethic, attitudes and career aspirations will be a lesser version of what you portray. Therefore, you need to portray each of those qualities at significantly higher magnitude.
For example, if you want them to work on the weekends, you’ll have a massive impact on your team if you show up on the weekends and enjoy it. Find the worst jobs in your business and tackle them with passion and excellence in a fraction of time it takes anyone else.
Remember this: good leaders remain behind their team, directing them where to go. Great leaders lead from in front of their team, being the first to every challenge.
Strategy No. 3: Hold regular team meetings
Good meetings are powerful ways to build a team and accelerate communication. Unfortunately, in many businesses, meetings are poorly conducted, so very little is achieved while all the “important” work piles up.
Put an end to bad meetings right now and instead adopt good meeting practices.
Set up a daily stand-up meeting with smaller teams: Each department should have a quick stand-up meeting every morning to cover any details for the day, to answer any questions and to ensure that everyone is on the same page for the day. This is an opportunity to ensure alignment and to inspire people before they start their day.
Set up a regular meeting for managers: Managers should meet regularly (perhaps weekly, depending on your company) to discuss their departments and to ensure that everything is moving forward. The meetings should have a clear agenda and a strict start and stop time.
Set up a quarterly all-company meeting: Every quarter, everyone in your company should get together to hear from you – the leader – for high level alignment and inspiration. This is not a meeting to deal with the day-to-day stuff (that should happen in the daily meetings) this is to help build a sense of culture.
Your team is your business! They represent you to the market, and a strong team will help you to grow a successful business. There are many ways to grow and empower your team but these three ways – by focusing on culture, by stepping up as the inspirational leader, and by enhancing communication and alignment through effective meetings – will have a significant impact on the strength of your team.
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