As leaders, we are busy in our business. We need to count on the team around us to do their jobs without close supervision or distractions from company goals. To get the most out of our staff and ensure they are prepared to perform at their best, it boils down to three critical areas.
It goes without saying that you should trust those who wear your logo, talk to your customers and cash your paycheck. But statistically and experientially, we can all agree that isn’t always true. At some point, you have bad apples in your barrel, poisoning those around them or causing harm to your business — whether nefariously or unintentionally.
This phenomenon is often traced to a simple lack of fit. The employee may have the right skills, but may not share the same cultural values. Unfortunately, attempting to instill new values in an adult employee is a mountain not worth climbing.
To ensure you have the right people on board, you must know and interview against a set of established core values that are true within your business today (not aspirational). Look at your best people and ask, “What makes them trustworthy? Why am I comfortable with their integrity, judgment and decisions?” The answers to those questions will help you identify and articulate your values.
Once you’ve prioritized fit over skill, the business needs to give employees the tools and training to manage their responsibilities and meet or exceed expectations. Hopefully, you have found people who are nimble, ready for growth and hungry for a challenge so that they are ripe for effective training.
The key processes and expectations around the job should be broken into modules to simplify and systematize the training. Additionally, professional development needs to be budgeted, offering continued stimulation and growth.
In my company, we work very hard to provide frequent and appropriate training — internally through mentoring, exposure and peer-to-peer sharing. We also send staff to conferences, luncheons and webinars to learn from people outside the organization. This ups everyone’s game and keeps them engaged to maximize performance and nurture loyalty.
A clear vision or target is imperative to get everyone pointing in the same direction — whether you have six or 6,000 people. But vision cannot live in the heads of leadership alone, forcing everyone else to guess what you are trying to accomplish.
Consistent, transparent communication around vision, goals and targets is key. Make posters, host events and celebrate big wins. Find opportunities to repeatedly speak to the vision so it is not just remembered, but enthusiastically adopted by each employee.
Once everyone understands the vision and their role in helping the business get there — tangible, financial, desired milestone accomplishments and other measurable goals — you can trust they will make decisions with ease and clarity, operating more autonomously and giving you, dear leader, more time, more success and more continuity in your life and work. ●
Rachel Downey is founder at Guide Studio