In describing the three ways to know if your business is aligned, I mentioned that communication was a huge piece to aligning your business. I also mentioned that there are too many business owners who are unwilling to commit to great communication. Since you are reading this I am going to assume that you are one of the committed and want to connect with your team.
It’s so hard for me to not use a sports analogy here but, since I am sports enthused meathead, here it comes. In sports, great individuals don’t make great teams, great individuals must learn how to best operate in the system and with regards to what other teammates bring to the table. Many talented athletes have ignored this at their own peril.
Remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone and Gary Payton? Detroit Piston fans do. The Lakers had 4 future hall of famers on their team. Everyone wanted to hand the trophy to the Lakers at the beginning of the season but they lost in the finals to Detroit. The stronger team won.
If you look at your team in your organization, what do you see? You may have some strong team members, some team members who you think are doing an OK job and then other team members that are weak performers. The question is, how do you get more from all of your employees in a manner that inspires them to help you move your business forward?
To connect at a deeper level takes committed communication. Here’s how committed communication looks in your organization:
- Know Your Team: How well do you know your team? I mean, really know them. Do you know their goals? Their hopes and dreams? What is their Soul Purpose? Even tough to read employees who say they don’t have goals come to work to get a paycheck. What does their paycheck allow them to do? In order to connect with someone, you have to know them. Management advice that says that you shouldn’t get close to your employees is just plain bad advice. Pull your team as close to you as you can.
- Communicate The Big Picture: If your team doesn’t know what the big picture is then how can they work towards that end? I have worked with many business owners who assume that everyone knows the big picture. Your employees won’t ever know it unless it’s communicated to them. Just like a marketing message, you have to communicate it several times for it to sink in. Share your vision, your mission, your values and your objectives.
- Ask For Participation: When you are planning certain aspects of your business. Get buy in and feedback from your team. You don’t have to ask your team about everything that you do but when you are setting objectives or looking to make changes, get feedback from your team and empower them.
- Give Regular Feedback On Progress: When you know what people want to achieve personally (see #1 above) and you are communicating the big picture, it’s important to give regular feedback on how your team is doing. This is important regardless if you have 1 employee or 100. This feedback can be informal and formal.
- Good Communication Empowers: Most business owners make the mistake of relegating tasks rather than delegating what needs to be done. Relegating saps employees of enthusiasm and keeps them in a state of constantly putting out fires. Delegation empower and puts your team in a position to be proactive. You create a culture through the conversations that you have in your organization. The more powerful your conversations (inside your head and out), the more powerful the culture. Gossip, complaining for complaining sake, talking about things that aren’t inspiring can all damage the culture of your organization.
Is your team working towards a common goal? Do they know the big picture? Do you know what your team truly wants at a deeper level? Take a look at the communication in your organization. How can it improve? Start with connecting with your team on a deeper level and then create a system for communicating the important items in your business.
How do you create an environment that fosters communication in your business?