What does your "Dream Team" look like?
How do small business and entrepreneurs find the right people to help them grow their business? I’m taking some inspiration from Jim Collins’ popular book, Good to Great, but instead of “getting the right people on the bus” entrepreneurs need to get the right people into the Prius carpool.
No matter the analogy, you hear it all the time, “Your people are your greatest assets,” but you wonder to yourself, then why are my people such a pain some times, why don’t they get it, why don’t’ they get me? Why do I have to baby sit them? It’s quite lonely at the top, that is why you need to surround yourself with people you enjoy working with, even if you confide everything to them, you can be assured that they have your company's best interest at heart.
Most entrepreneurs’ greatest fear is losing control of their company/business. But a day will come when you realize that you can’t do it all. That you need to delegate to a senior team to help run your business effectively. The senior team’s main responsibility is to implement, manage and control the company’s systems and processes. In this team, experience is crucial, strong leadership skills are highly desirable, but most important of all is that they can execute and just get it done so you can focus on driving.
How will you know if you have the right senior team? Even before you’ve established that your senior team members have the aptitude for the job, you need to be sure that they share your vision and that their values are aligned to yours. Be sure they understand and know how to implement and execute your Plan S.
How will you know if your management team will get the job done? One way to know is if your senior team isn’t always looking to you for answers. They’re not waiting for you to tell them what to do. They’re proactive in the face of problems, offering several suggestions, along with insight about how each solution/scenario might play out and the risks/benefits of each..
Knowing when to bring in outside help As your business grows, each team member, senior or otherwise, will eventually have to stop wearing too many hats and specialize in order to be effective. Think of the efficiency of an assembly line – no person is multitasking. If you keep overloading your already overworked staff, something will have to give. For example, one mistake I made as a business owner was, when I had a super star employee, I figured, “Hey, she’s amazing, wonder what more she can do, fix or take on?” This was not my best idea, and eventually her productivity suffered, stress levels went up and she eventually got burned out. If your director of e-commerce meets budgeted sales goals or even exceeds target sales goals, wouldn’t you want to continue such fabulous results?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What can you do to help your E-commerce Director focus better on his/her job?
- How many projects are there on her plate and must they all be her responsibility?
- What can you take off her plate to allow her the time to really think about what is really important and needs fine-tuning?
A case for promoting from within
I’ve heard many horror stories of entrepreneurs, out of sheer frustration, bringing in a professional manager to handle operations only to learn that this person has managed to alienate customers, caused internal strife and is moving in the opposite direction of your vision for the company.
Recognize that the vision is yours, and that, although you may look to your team members for input, feedback and opinion, ultimately the vision is yours. Yours to design and theirs to execute, follow through on and keep the momentum going.
Perhaps you have super star performer, and you want to promote them to your senior management team, bear in mind, that not all super star performers make good/great managers and sometimes, its best to keep them where they excel and what they enjoy doing. However, if you see potential in a team member, some leadership skills can be learned and shaped over time, with guidance. Base promotions from within on an employee’s character. Does he or she share your values, work ethic and measure of perseverance? Carefully selected and coached, people can and do grow into leadership roles.
To read more about helping your Ecommerce Director, please visit my Ecommerce Blog