“Let’s build the biggest leaf fort ever”, that was the battle cry that rung out from a group of 27 children on a crisp fall morning many years ago. I was 12 years old then and those words triggered a flurry of activity that resulted in the biggest leaf fort I have ever seen. It was fun, it was creative, and it left us with a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.
It wasn’t until I began my working life at the age of 15 that I realized that work doesn’t always feel like that. So began my life long fascination with human behaviour and why some work groups become dysfunctional while others thrive.
I just celebrated 20 years in business for myself on Feb 28th, 2014. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with 100s of client companies ranging from fortune 500 with 10s of 1000s of employees to mom and pop shops with less than 10 employees. Here are 5 things I’ve learned to create great work groups.
- There is power in a clear simple vision. “Let’s build the biggest leaf fort ever” is a great example of a clear simple vision that had the power to capture the imagination and harness the energy of 27 children to work together to achieve that vision. Does your company vision do that?
- Hire the right people. A vision without people to implement it is just a bunch of words. The right people make all the difference in the world. Hire the people who have the talent, ability, disposition and values to make it easy to achieve your vision. Release the ones that make it difficult. You’ll be a lot happier. Do you have the right people?
- Track your progress. Studies have shown that what we measure changes. Identifying the indicators you need to track progress is key to achieving your vision. In the leaf fort example, the number of leaves was a key indicator. What are your company indicators?
- Focus your employees’ contributions. Every person in your company should know how their contribution matters to the achievement of your vision. To focus your employees’ contributions you need a system to communicate and track progress that allows for progressive adjustments as you move forward. Without it people get lost, priorities aren’t clear, progress is thwarted and frustration sets in. How do you focus your employees?
- Share the rewards. Watch your people become energized and momentum build when you share the rewards in a fair and consistent way. Do you pay for performance and share your rewards?
As any traveler can tell you, if you do not know where you are, you cannot get to where you want to go. How your business does on those 5 elements can tell you how functional your company is. Once you have a clear picture of where you are right now and understand where you want to be, then the path becomes clear.
When I created The Crysalis Consulting Group my vision was to bring a group of knowledgeable professionals together to offer business owners with the expertise to help them meet their business goals faster and with ease.
I get a great deal of satisfaction when a client says, “Wow, because we hired that great GM, this is the first vacation I’ve taken in years” or “Without having met you and your team, I wouldn’t be as energized and optimistic about my business as I am.” Or best of all, “Because of what you did, I love my team and really enjoy coming to work every day”. This is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me motivated.
I wish you every success with your business and I hope you reap the rewards of the hard work you have put into the building of your business.