As the leader of your company, team member trust and loyalty begin with you.
If you’ve owned a business for any length of time, it’s likely you have some understanding of the detrimental effects a lack of trust and loyalty can have on your culture, the success of your operation and overall happiness. You might also possess some insight into the tremendous benefits trusting and loyal team members bring to your business and customers.
A tremendous amount of attention, effort, energy and time goes into running a business. With everything there is to do, it’s easy for those who own a company to sacrifice many aspects — if not the entirety — of their personal lives in the pursuit of success and happiness.
There’s no real benefit to working yourself into the ground, however. When you become worn down, your business suffers because you don’t possess the composure, energy and mental clarity necessary to be the caliber of leader required to create the level of success you desire. Moreover, you’re not happy.
In my previous column, I enumerated the problems associated with bringing personal baggage to work. I described how even top performers can stumble and fall when they’re unable to effectively manage their personal issues in the workplace. I also elaborated on the domino effect these uncontrolled issues can have on workplace culture, fellow team members, customers and the business.
In this column, let’s consider the other side of the coin. When people bring their professional baggage home, their personal lives are affected in very real ways. This situation can damage and even destroy marriages; alienate children; and cause others to avoid these unhappy, negative and often angry people. Perhaps you know a spouse, child or the friend of someone who’s unable — or simply lacks the tools — to effectively manage their professional life.
Each of us travels between two worlds — personal and professional. When there’s purpose, balance and happiness outside of business, people enter the workplace very differently than when this isn’t their reality.
Some believe a barrier keeps personal and professional lives separate. But if you step back and take an honest look at your experiences and those of others with whom you’ve worked, you know that’s not the case. If anything, it’s more common for people to carry their personal baggage through the front door at work and unpack.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to achieve professional, personal and financial independence. They yearn to travel, relax, give back and enjoy their lives as much as possible. They dream of creating greater wealth, freedom and happiness — to control their own destinies.
For many, however, this remains only a dream because they lack the mindset, processes and people to make it a reality. A number of key factors contribute to a business not being able to run effectively without the owner’s constant hands-on presence. Understanding these factors and making the necessary adjustments will position you to achieve your dreams.
With every interaction and transaction, a business gives customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving operation. The first is a requisite of happiness and success.
Undoubtedly you’ve engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. It might have been the poor customer service you received, an inferior product or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — neither bad nor great — the trust and loyalty so important to develop in customers wasn’t nurtured in you. What business can afford the consequences of bad experiences for its customers and, in turn, profitability? No matter the economic environment, customers matter. The unhappy ones tend to exert far greater effects on your reputation and success.
For any business to become a lasting success, it must satisfy customer wants and needs. Understanding what they truly want and then fulfilling their needs leads to ongoing satisfaction. In return, they’ll not only come back for more, but also tell others about their wonderful experiences doing business with you.
One of the biggest differences between creating raving fans of your customers and not is getting the multitude of basic things right on a consistent basis.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to create greater freedom, wealth and happiness — to exert more control over their destiny. They dream of achieving professional, personal and financial success and independence and, as a result,travel, relax, give back and simply enjoy their lives.
For many entrepreneurs, these aspirations remain a dream because they lack the mindset, people and processes to make them a reality. Several key factors make it difficult for owners to run their businesses without their constant presence.Understanding these factors and making necessary adjustments will position entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.
If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. A few probably stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unpleasant work environment. It’s just as likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.
There’s a vast difference between a leader and a boss. A leader collaborates, influences, guides, mentors and supports others to foster a movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss controls, dominates and uses fear and intimidation to get more and more out of the individuals he or she oversees.
Poor communication presents the largest obstacle to any successful relationship, and it all begins with listening. Not truly listening to others and ineffective communication are often at the heart of dysfunctional businesses, disgruntled team members, unsatisfied clients, failed marriages, disassociation with loved ones, frustration and anger, to name only a few.
Stephen Covey — the businessman, educator and author — put it this way: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.”
Yet, the truth remains: We all want to be heard and understood.
As a business owner, you face two options: You can create a job for yourself or truly lead your company.There’s a distinct difference.
In the first scenario, you’re doing daily tasks that could easily be handled by other managers or team members — tasks that take away your precious time to be the visionary, innovator and leader of your business.
If this is your reality, what it’s costing you, your team and customers? Probably more than you realize. When you’ve merely created a job for yourself, you have less time to be the effective leader of your company — and less time for your life. After all, personal freedom is likely one of the reasons you started a business in the first place.