As business owners we have such grand plans. That’s great and all, but, at least in a business like mine, you cannot carry out these plans and maintain everything else you are already doing by yourself.
In our business, we rely on a team of leaders to carry out our plans on a daily basis. We work together to get things done. This is extremely effective, as long as everyone is on the same page.
Working with a team of leaders has the obvious advantage of accomplishing goals on a larger scale, more quickly than working alone. We could not have accomplished what we have over the last two years without a team of leaders. For a business like ours to grow and continue to improve, you need the support of others pulling the same direction to achieve the results you work so hard to see.
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Oh, Oh, Oh it’s Magic!
This magic only works if everyone is pulling the same direction, however. A team of leaders is only beneficial to the level that they share common goals. If you, as the business owner have a goal in mind, but you have not communicated it to your leadership team, you cannot expect them to be reaching for your goal. Getting your leaders to support your stated goal requires you painting a picture of a better tomorrow once the goal is achieved. The repetition of this process over and over again – stating goals, discussing how to achieve them, and sharing vision for a better future as a result of achieving these goals is how businesses grow and improve.
Your leaders must know and buy in to your goals if you are to make progress together.
Simply put, if you have a shared goal, your team can be very effective in helping to reach it.
Challenges – Communication
One challenge is a goal that is not communicated, as we alluded to above. Suppose I have a goal of improving our readiness for the morning rush at our coffee shop. First, I need to present this as a goal to our leadership team. Once the goal is presented, we can all discuss how we can all help to see that this happens. This is where plans are made, systems are created, and buy in is cultivated which will put a framework in place to see our shop be more ready for the morning rush each day.
Skipping the all important step of communication will only frustrate you. Let’s assume that I have my same goal – improving our readiness for the morning rush. This time suppose that I do not share this goal very effectively with our leadership team. Perhaps I tell one leader (we currently have 5), and then I go about my business. I start doing things to help make this happen, and perhaps the other leader with whom I discussed the goal does too. This scenario results in two people pulling one direction with three people either standing still or pulling the opposite direction.
The undesired result of not making much if any headway toward my goal of being more prepared for the morning rush is not the fault of the the people with whom I have not communicated. It is certainly not the fault of the one leader attempting to help me make this happen. The business owner has to be the visionary and the communicator of these goals.
Making good things happen in your business begins with you communicating your goals and discussing how to achieve them together with your leadership team.
Challenges – Vision Casting
Now that you have stated your goal, the hard work of helping your leadership team understand the why behind your goal begins. Goals usually begin with trying to solve some sort of problem. To the business owner stating the goal, the vision is extremely clear. They have noticed a problem they would like to solve, or something about their business they would like to improve, and the implementation of the solution or the improvements is the vision. This is not always clear to the people you rely on to help you get there – you have to paint the picture of what could be to them as well.
I know that if my goal of being better prepared for the morning rush at our coffee shop is achieved, a few really good things will happen.
- The level of stress for those working will be much lower.
- Team members’ job satisfaction will increase, helping both performance and retention.
- Our customers will enjoy better, faster service.
- Our business will grow, since our customers will begin to tell others about their great experiences at our business.
Now the work of turning these pictured results into a vision to present to the leadership team begins.
I have to point out the benefit to them, so that they will see value in helping to make it happen.
Lower stress level for the people working is an easy one. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Sometimes, however, you have to really show them through words what that really means. You could say something like “Hey Bethany, would’t it be great if when you came in to open and these items were already stocked up and ready for business? That way when you come in to open, you can focus on more important things, like making sure we have brewed coffee and cash drawers ready. What do you think?”
Now Bethany is bought in! This accomplishes the goal of being more prepared for the rush, and Bethany sees the value as well.
But what about the people who have to do the extra stocking in the evening to make this happen? Explain that everything is a trade off. If they will do this for the morning crew, the morning crew will do something to make their lives easier as well. So this is a “pay it forward” type of system where everyone benefits.
This kind of thing really works! I have been in this industry for 25 years now, and I have seen this system of vision casting work over and over again. Even I am surprised at the results sometimes.
It will be better than you thought…
There are many benefits of fulfilling your goals that you can see and talk about to your leadership team ahead of time, and many, if not all of them will happen for you.
But that is only the beginning.
You will see more benefits to your hard work than you ever could have imagined on the front end. Connections to other areas of your business you had not even thought about will be the benefits of your increased awareness and effort. What I am telling you is…
You will see improvement over the whole of your business as a result of your efforts and the efforts of your leadership team.
It’s time to do it!
What is something that you would like to see improve in your business? Will you go it alone or will you engage a team of leaders to help you accomplish your goals? Whatever your method, a brighter future awaits, and the work will not seem nearly as hard when you start seeing results.
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