( adapted from my article in July issue of Home Accents Magazine)
Many designers and small retailers are pivoting fast and furiously to answer the needs of the busy marketplace and find themselves with a need for not just help – but qualified and specific talent. Early in my own career I was trying to wear all the hats. But as I honed my skills as a visionary and a motivator, It hit me hard. It takes a lot more than these skills to effectively manage people, run a business and truly create an outstanding team.
Here is my 60 second best advice on what has worked to create my own talented team.
You must be willing to pay the right person.
You must be willing to give them autonomy.
You must be willing to relinquish some control.
You must figure out what motivates them.
Look for your integrator.
At some point in your career you hire THE person who changes your life. Typically for most people who own a business, you are a visionary. It can be reversed but entrepreneurs tend to be big picture people. A visionary needs an integrator.
When you find the right integrator for you like I have, life as a small business owner is transformed in a way that is pure magic. Simply put, visionaries like us are rainmakers. They are strategic idea people who motivate, inspire and creatively problem solve. The integrator is the person who finds the umbrella and remembers to bring it when the rain comes down. They are ‘get it done’ people who execute with precision and corral ideas into manageable components. They are the yin to the yang. They are priceless.
Be process driven.
Give your team a playbook- have the process for doing anything in your business outlined. Sounds basic but I guarantee you some have not consulted their standard operating procedures since they opened. SOP’s are a living, breathing document that must be evaluated annually. A strong team has no questions about the expectations of the company and how to execute on those expectations.
Be willing- even excited- to listen to new ideas.
Even if they don’t jive with your tried and true ways of doing things- be open and eager to listen.
This is sometimes hard If you have been alone or with one or two employees for awhile. It is so very easy to get complacent and miss out on one of the BEST parts of having a team- the collective brilliance and powerful mojo that can come from even the most green of new people.
Can you delegate? For real? be honest.
I know it is hard. It took me way too many years to learn this and yes people will make mistakes. Inevitable. I do not care about money as much as I do learning the WHY of the mistake and HOW we will prevent it the next time.
You will lose money. People make mistakes. It is the cost of doing business. But what is critical is to know why it happened so that you can see how to prevent it and most importantly the mindset the team member had when they made a poor choice. Whatever it is you need to know the why to effectively redirect for better results.
Reframe your own mindset.
Wrap your mind around a good team as a capital investment but far more important to your ongoing success. Yes, labor is expensive. But the biggest mistake small businesses make is not hiring early enough- and not spending the time to hire the right person for the job.
Don’t let paralysis keep you from looking for the right person.
Think in terms of 90 days when you find someone you think is the holy grail person you have been looking for – but afraid you cannot afford. Can you afford 90 days? Getting someone really making money for you will take longer but this is the time frame we use to determine if is a good fit.
Do not give into the idea you cannot afford a higher salary or wage- YES you can if this person is the holy grail you have been seeking. In 90 days you can get comfortable with someone’s skills and abilities to be part of the team- and if they can be a good investment long term.
Consistently train and encourage growth.
Invest in specific training in sales and communication. It is essential to train properly and stay relevant. For you and your team. I cannot emphasize enough how much this is overlooked. Yes you can do it yourself but do you have time? If not, hire good retail sales trainers.
Feel this in your heart. And if you do not, fake it until you make it. Because the last sentence is the gospel.
I love our team. I love being part of a team. I value our team. I pretty much would do anything for our team. The team experience is everything to our success.
A great book on integrators and visionaries is “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters.