Managing people is tough; they don’t come with a manual and they are even less predictable than profit and cash flow. Even worse, you are may be the most important and yet the worst employee you have. Here are seven ideas to help you navigate the people challenges associated with growing your company, including managing yourself.
- Your Health and Personal Life are important to the company – The company needs 100% of your focus to succeed. In order to make that happen, you have to be available both physically and mentally. If you come to work tired and run down with lots of personal challenges occupying your thoughts, you can’t provide your best leadership. But if you come to work energized and excited, with new ideas to solve the most recent challenges, everyone else will do the same. Take time to exercise. Allocate time in your schedule to nurture your closest relationships and also to relax and do nothing. Manage your finances or have someone you trust manage them for you. In order to master the many challenges of growing your business, you need to come to work with a clear mind and healthy body.
- Invest in an executive team – growth brings more clients, more employees, more technology, more products, more financials, more decisions, and more pitches to name a few. You need an executive team you can trust with various parts of the business as you focus on the areas with the most strategic importance. You will need a team that you trust to keep all aspects of the business running, who understand your vision, and who have the business acumen and knowledge to continuously be improving company performance. An executive team will make the hard decisions and will help you learn and grow as a leader. If you have to make all the decisions, constantly check-in, or continuously train and teach, you don’t have the right team and you need to make changes in yourself and your team before you can accelerate your growth
- Trust your team – Hire good people and let them do their jobs. If you can’t trust them to do their jobs, you have to let them go. To successfully grow a company, you have to let go of more and more areas of the business which you would really prefer to continue owning. If you can’t trust the people you hire, then the growth of the company will be limited to your bandwidth. Many entrepreneurs struggle with micro-management and trusting their team to do as good a job as they would. No one is as good as you, no one is as committed as you, no one has put as much of their blood, sweat, and tears into the company as you have. But if you want to grow the company, you have to trust that they will be good enough and can do a better job by focusing 100% on the task than you can do by focusing only 1% on the task. The more of your team you trust, the bigger the company can grow.
- Give clear direction, again and again – “If you have said it once, you have said it a thousand times…” but they still don’t seem to get it. That is why you have to tell them 1,000 more. The ideas are crystal clear in your head because you have been thinking about this business every waking hour of your life for the past however many years. Unfortunately, everyone else is behind. They need your vision and your clear direction so they can deliver your dream. Hopefully they got the big picture right away, but it will take a while before they understand all the nuances and details like you do. Keep telling them and keep clarifying. In order to grow your business, you need a mass of people who understand enough to keep everyone else going in the right direction. The more people who eventually “get it”, the bigger your company can grow.
- Your people will fail – there are no perfect companies, perfect employees, perfect partners, or perfect entrepreneurs. Sooner or later someone on the team is going to fail at something important. How you handle that failure and that person will resonate throughout your company and your culture for years to come. Do you want to create a culture of risk takers who are always willing to push the envelope, or do you want a team that is careful and deliberate about never confronting any unknown outcomes? If you want to grow your company, know that failure will exist and prepare your team and yourself to create the atmosphere that will best support the kind of culture you want to live and work in.
- You are not alone – Friends, family, advisors, and employees are all on this journey with you and most will sacrifice significantly to help you succeed. More than likely they helped you get to this level and they will become even more vital to getting you to the next level. You need people to humble you, challenge you, and to bounce ideas off of. You need people to pick you up when you are down. You need someone you can go to when you run out of ideas or when you run into that huge problem you have never faced before. Don’t suffer and struggle when you can reach out to others and get their support. Don’t waste your time trying to prove something when you can accelerate your growth by reaching out to your network of support. Most of your network will welcome the opportunity to help you succeed in whatever way they can. You are not alone, reach out and ask for help if you want to successfully grow your company.
- Enjoy the ride – Nothing stops growth faster than a disengaged leader. If you are not having fun and not feeling like you are accomplishing something and making a difference, than you can’t push the company to the next level. For many people, their best years at work are while they are working crazy hours, creating unexpected results, and making a difference for their team, their company, and often the world. If you don’t still feel that passion, if you are not ignited by the thought of waking up every morning and changing the world, then you won’t be able to successfully grow the company. Leadership and success are hard. Building great companies is even harder. Make sure you are having fun and enjoying the ride, or your results will eventually suffer. Don’t sacrifice your time for money. Have fun! Make a difference. Change the world; and most importantly be happy. Enjoy the ride and you will find that growth and success can be sustained for a long, long time.
Hopefully this list is helpful and you are on a path for profitable growth. What else would you add to the list?