When I start working with business owners, one of the first things I ask is, ‘What is the purpose of your business?’ In other words, why does the business exist? Surprisingly, this simple question often causes some debate.
If the owners struggle with the purpose of the business, what does your team make of it? Add the challenges of new working patterns, such as home working, and some team members being furloughed, the importance of ‘purpose’ comes even more into focus.
It’s worth asking yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of this business and has the current situation changed anything?
- How does my role and the roles of each team member support the purpose of the business?
- How can we improve, particularly if working patterns and locations have changed?
If you read any of the material written by people such as Simon Sinek and Daniel Pink in recent years, you will find a strong theme around simple, clear statements of what a business exists to do. When the purpose is articulated in a clear, simple way, it’s so much easier for everyone in the team to understand what they’re doing and why. This is powerful – it inspires people to give their best in achieving that common purpose.
In times of pressure and change it is critical to keep your team with you, whether they are still working, but maybe from home, or furloughed and wanting to be kept updated on progress and prospects for resuming their roles. Your role as business owner and leader doesn’t change but the way you do it might. If your normal set-up is an office or factory and you are very visible and present as the leader you may find that leading a dispersed workforce a challenge. So, if you don’t have the spontaneous face-to-face interactions of working in an office how do you keep your team engaged, whilst helping them adjust to new working patterns and keeping them effective?
Contact and communication. As business leader you need to add extra contact time with your team and create a structure for communication, both collectively and individually. Build this contact into your weekly schedule and ensure your team members have it in their calendars. The structure itself will help with remote working as well as provide points in the week to update and receive feedback. Additionally, make sure you are available to your team. Don’t let the fact that you are at home inhibit your team from reaching out by phone, video, messaging etc.
Henchards works with business owners and their teams to clarify what the business is aiming to achieve and the roles of each team member – including the owners – in delivering that goal. Sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious at all, and sometimes assuming that people ‘get it’ leads to problems. That often explains the gap between what owners expect their teams to deliver and what they actually achieve. If you’re struggling to get your team firing on all cylinders drop us a line.