"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
-- Henry Ford
There are easily 18 billion quotes about teamwork, aren’t there? Not to mention the numerous articles, workshops, websites, and podcasts that talk about the importance of teamwork. We know a lot about it, and we talk a good game.
So, I got to thinking the other day, why don’t we see more evidence of teamwork in the small business community?
Every weekend, we see multiple shining examples of teamwork on the professional playing field and yet, when Monday morning rolls around, all is forgotten. The message hasn’t gotten through. The concept doesn’t translate.
Small Business Owners are historically long on the courage it takes to start a business, to put their ideas out into the world, but they tend to be short on the trust it takes to put that precious baby into anyone else’s hands.
Contradictory, at the very least.
On the one hand, summoning up the courage to go out on your own to face the firing squad of criticism, scrutiny and rejection is tough stuff. That takes guts. You may as well stand in the middle of Times Square in your birthday suit.
But then, when it’s time to hire staff, the Owner is so in love with and protective of the business they can’t relinquish control. “What if something goes wrong? What if they don’t treat the customers correctly? No one can run this business as well as I can.”
It isn’t easy to let go of control, but it’s mandatory if growth is the objective. Letting go is the first step toward creating a sustainable, scalable and sellable business which is every Business Owner’s # ONE job responsibility.
All Owners want to make something of their business. They have dreams of creating something substantial, something that can grow and eventually sell. But here’s the thing: growth can’t happen in chaos. It requires a solid, well-defined infrastructure – procedures, process flows, team structure, job descriptions, performance goals and a measurement system.
Stepping back and releasing control over every aspect of the business creates space for talented people to join the team, not just as entry-level clerks who are there to take your orders but as collaborators. That’s the moment when the business has the potential for rising to the next level.
Define the space for the team, give them the language of the business, establish expectations clearly, and they will help make the business thrive.
The team is the engine of the business, and they need (deserve) the Owner to:
- provide them with the tools to do their jobs efficiently and successfully
- put procedures and policies in place that clearly demonstrates your trust in them to be accountable for consistency and accuracy in their job performance
- partner with them, talk to them and listen to their suggestions
- give them the chance to take on responsibility and ownership of their role
- engage with them, especially when things go south, in finding the solution and to solicit their ideas for making sure it doesn’t happen again
- exemplify a culture of teamwork, collaboration and harmony
On a personal note: Team trust starts with self-trust: know what you want, where you’re going and have a plan for how you’re going to get there. Get clear about that, put the structural components in place, and give the team their reign. You’ll all benefit immeasurably.
As Your Project Planner, I specialize in helping small and medium-sized businesses strengthen their infrastructure so they can achieve the growth goals they envision. I do that by bolstering their Standard Operating Procedures, sorting out their process flows and aligning their business systems so they can operate more efficiently, effectively and profitably.