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Editorial: Inspire your team to drive

Editorial: Inspire your team to drive
November 16
08:00 2017

By Algenon Cash

Starting your own business is a great milestone in life, but as you grow and serve more customers, it’s almost impossible to completely meet the day-to-day needs and create a successful business on your own. 

Operational challenges will eventually require you to recruit employees to provide exceptional customer service, increase capacity and achieve effective results.

It’s important you build a company with systems, procedures and employees in position to operate the business even without your presence.  Otherwise you’re not truly a business owner – if you build a company that requires you to be present, that’s a job, not a business. 

This may seem obvious, but it can be a tough proposition for entrepreneurs, many of whom enjoy running their own shows and making all the decisions.

Most people choose to become an entrepreneur to help make a difference in customers’ lives or often the community at-large, but rarely do entrepreneurs consider the need to become a manager.  However at some point you will have a team to supervise and inspire.  That’s why so many entrepreneurs fail to establish and maintain solid teams, which results in companies never making it through infancy.

Try some of the following strategies to inspire your team and create a high-performing company.

Clarify your mission

At the core of every successful company is a small team of people, with unique talents, who are committed to a common purpose and they must hold themselves mutually accountable.  Understanding that common purpose is absolutely critical – everyone in your organization needs to clearly know why they exist as a team and what goals they must accomplish.

To inspire a team, you need to have a clear mission – which means you have a firm comprehension of where you are now, a compelling vision of where you want to be and strong awareness of the strategic action steps needed to bridge the gap.

Make sure you have the following components firmly in place:

*Clearly documented and communicated employee roles.

*Clearly communicated performance reviews.

*Clear career pathway and overall team structure.

Establish standards

Most companies have well established policies regarding quality standards when it comes to customer products and services, but they often fail to utilize such principles for their own teams.

You want standards that encourage mutual respect and collaboration, include the following:

*All team members’ opinions are equally valued.

*The team will discuss, analyze and attack problems – but not each other.

*Aim for consensus, not democracy – everyone gets a say.

The list above is just a start; there are dozens of standards to consider, but try not to write an encyclopedia of policies – 5-7 is an effective number.  Just be sure to communicate them formally, in a written and widely distributed document.

Build diverse teams

Successful entrepreneurs fight against deep urges to surround themselves with people who look and think just like them.  That approach can be useful during the early stages of launching a company, but as you grow and expand, you’ll need employees with diverse skills.

Assembling a team is akin to conducting a symphony – there are lots of individual pieces and it’s not always immediately clear how to make a single piece of music – but embracing uniqueness in business development, finance, marketing and operations can generate exponential growth.

Hopefully some of these strategies enable you to build a truly inspired team – one that is diverse, where associates feel valued and appreciated, and most importantly able to see the forest beyond the trees.  Once you have a deeply vested team, they will help take your company wherever you want to go and they will openly utilize the best parts of themselves to drive future growth.

If you’re starting a new business or wanting to grow an existing one, then I’d love to hear from you.

Algenon Cash is the managing director of Wharton Gladden & Company, an investment banking firm, he is also a national spokesperson for the oil and natural gas industry.  Reach him at acash@nullwhartongladden.com.

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