Your business determines the person that you are and the life that you live. Yet, for so many of us, the organisation in which we work is our enemy, not our friend.
Every day, I work with business owners who are frustrated, resentful and overworked – I have been that business owner myself. These executives are never the most profitable, the most effective or the most fulfilled in their business.
I can trace a clear pattern in my business journey; the times when I have been at conflict with my business have, without a doubt, been the hardest. The treadmill of productivity and output becomes draining and makes it easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. During these periods, I have inevitably found myself less effective, lacking in motivation and surrounded by negativity. I have also been making less money!
In 2015, I made a very specific decision. I was going to build and sustain an environment of total motivation in my business. I was adamant that I would develop a relationship with my business that was functional, happy, mutually beneficial and filled with love. I wanted to run an organisation that I always spoke about kindly and provided an environment of support for everyone within. I aspired to create a business that people were drawn to because of its deeply attractive culture. It would allow me to attract the best staff, win the best clients, align with the best partners, and ensure that I worked with purpose and passion every day. My business was going to be the kid that EVERYONE wanted to hang out with.
Thankfully, I had worked in and with over 400 businesses, and I had a lot of insights to support my approach. Elation Experts – the organisation I have today – is my happy place. I have built this relationship through 3-key principles.
When taking control of your professional destiny, you need to focus on these three areas. Doing exactly the right amount of the following will ensure that you fall back in love with your business and you create somewhere that everyone else can love too.
What do you put in?
One of the key drivers of the human condition is our desire to add value. We want, perhaps even need, to know that the impact we have is positive. We want to be recognised. We want to know that our talent is influential. We grow when we contribute, so focus on this every day. If your business is a place where everyone has a chance to shine and contribute in a meaningful way, you create a powerfully positive environment.
Ask yourself and encourage your team to ask questions like:
- What areas of the business can I improve on today?
- Where do I have a really positive impact, and how do I ensure I use that influence regularly?
- How can I harness and encourage the strength of others?
A wonderful business plays to the strengths of every team member. The great communicators lead the meetings, and the fantastic innovators contribute to new ideas. Have you identified the strengths of yourself and your team? Are you making the most of those strengths?
Make sure that you speak with everyone in your team regularly to give them the boost they need. This allows you to have a real impact and witness the tangible results in daily business operations.
Consider each team member, including yourself, and think about their strengths. Now look at whether that person is doing work that plays to that strength. Are they in a position that allows them to contribute that strength to the business? If they aren’t, then look at how you can change this and help to give them work they will feel is making a positive impact.
Look for ways to feedback to team members how their contribution is making a difference to the business. Everyone likes to understand how they fit in and how what they are doing means something in the bigger picture.
Purpose is a great motivator. By helping people see the value they add when they are at work, and understand the benefit they are bringing with their skillset, you will automatically motivate them. As a business owner you must not only ensure that you personally are adding tangible value but also that every person in the team has a chance to shine.
If you can give and create a sense of purpose in your business, you will thrive.
What do you get out?
Growth and development are key measures of human success. For some, this might be hitting a target, or learning a new skill. For someone else, it might be repairing a broken item or creating a new recipe. We measure development in very different ways, but without it, we stagnate. A business in which all members can realise their potential is one that attracts the best.
The questions for your business and your team are:
- What personal development will make me more powerful? (Training/Coaching/Mentoring)
- How can I stretch my team to ensure that they grow every day?
- How can we create a culture of feedback that means everyone’s potential is realised?
A business that has a culture of personal development, layers learning on even the smallest of tasks. It embeds personal development planning, individual training budgets and plenty of extracurricular opportunities.
Every week, ask your team to report on the three biggest barriers to success, and find a way to develop the team in order to overcome those barriers.
Consistent improvement is highly motivating – for you and your team. If something motivates you, it’s difficult not to fall in love with it. So, make sure your business is motivating everyone involved in it.
Where do you get your energy?
Running on empty is the quickest way to failure. Often professionals who are not seeing the results they want continue to push harder: a recipe for burnout. Resting is not seen as a productive way of achieving more. But being full of energy creates an environment of success. If you get a sense of joy and balance from your work, you perform far better.
These are the specific questions you need to focus on to ensure you and your team are efficient and enthused:
- What is the best way for you to relax and de-stress?
- How can you make sure your team are recharged daily?
- What signs will tell you that a team member is overworking and underachieving?
- How comfortable do people feel about asking for support?
Keeping your business full of energy guarantees sustainable output from your team. This requires agile working – allowing your team to work on key tasks when their energy is high, and permitting them to step back and recharge when required.
For my team, taking 15 minutes to meditate at lunchtime or running/walking meetings make a huge impact. If deadlines are heavy, we will stop for a full hour and have a team lunch before addressing the task with full commitment.
Resting makes us strong, and I recognised that when I started permitting myself to stop, I became much more effective. The same applies to everyone on the team – they need rest, and they perform better for it.
I love my business. I wake up every day knowing that I am going to spend my day doing things I love, that add value, with a team of people who feel the same. I have a purpose, I feel successful, and I know the future is bright.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Dunne-Squire is founder of Elation Experts, which is on a mission to empower SME’s by giving them the knowledge and skills to increase revenue, build powerful sales opportunities and create committed, loyal teams that are motivated to drive change. Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker and creator of The Growth Framework, an award-winning methodology, applying ‘Big Business Corporate Insights’ to SMEs in a way that makes practical sense for them.