A few weeks ago in an article on business depression I covered the six core areas that businesses must have in good shape.
The six areas are:
Last week I looked at Culture and Values. This week I’m looking at the People issue.
What makes your business work?
What’s the biggest challenge facing adviser owners? To be honest, it’s pulling together everything that needs to be done to make your business really work.
All of us tend to have strengths and weaknesses, so this can be tough.
You might be good at the financial planning part, but not so great at the business part. Maybe you’re a natural marketer, but back-office processes and people management elude you. Maybe you’ve got a process-oriented mind, but your staff management skills are not brilliant.
Rest easy. No one is good at all of these things, and there are plenty of success stories to show that you can overcome these challenges, if you are smart.
Richard Branson, business magnate, investor and founder of the giant that is Virgin, is dyslexic which makes reading a struggle. I’m pretty sure that reading legal contracts isn’t something he does for his 400 different businesses. In fact Richard says that dyslexia has pushed him to fine-tune his delegation skills in order to get things done:
“You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture.”
It starts with self-awareness
There are a range of theories on how to work effectively and structure your team. The material I find most helpful is the work of Marcus Buckingham, the British-American New York Times best-selling author, researcher, motivational speaker and business consultant, best known for promoting what he calls ‘Strengths’. However, it’s how he defines strengths and weaknesses that is so useful:
A strength is something you like and are good at.
A weakness is either: a.) Something you don’t like and are not good at (duh!) or b.) Something you’re good at, but don’t like (ooh, interesting)
It’s vital to have the self awareness of what you are good at and like to do. For most business owners this is a pretty short list. Take two minutes right now to jot down the parts of your job that you absolutely love and are good at. Don’t include things you ‘sort of like’. And remember, you need to love it AND be good at it.
As a quick aside, what do you call something that you love, but are not good at?
We don’t do hobbies during working hours. Any tasks in this group should be taken off your list.
Delegation’s what you need
Now you’ve got your list of what you love and are good at (your strengths), it’s time to list everything else that needs doing in your business. Take two minutes to brain dump that stuff now. Keep the list handy for the next week or two and just keep adding to it as you identify new tasks that need doing, but that are not strengths for you.
What do you do with all of these jobs that need doing?
This is where your people come in. If you’re going to build a successful business that is fun to work in, then you’re going to have to assemble a team of people around you to do the ‘everything else’.
Some quick wins regarding your team
If the people part of your business still needs work then start with these three potential quick wins:
1. One or two smart virtual hires Hiring new people isn’t always a huge expense. In fact, you can find highly skilled specialists online that you can rent by the hour. No fixed costs and no massive increase in your overhead.
If you or your team are at bursting point, get specific about some jobs you don’t like to do and see if you can hire someone virtually.
As a quick example, at FP Advance we wanted our powerpoint slides to look better. So we hired a guy in Indonesia via Fiverr.com. For our last workshop he created 261 fantastic looking slides for USD$115. Brilliant.
What small jobs can you and your team outsource, so you can remain focused on what you’re good at and love to do?
2. Improve your delegation We all know we should delegate more, but we don’t. Why?
It usually comes down to confidence; we don’t really trust the person we’re delegating to, to do the job to the standard required. This isn’t about you, it’s about them.
The right person in any role not only does what you ask them to do, but they do two or three other add-on tasks that you forgot to mention. They do this because they are experts in the role they perform.
Does everyone on your team perform to that level?
Fixing the team might just fix your ability (and desire) to delegate.
3. Get honest about your existing team’s suitability Evaluating your existing team for fit can be a minefield. There are emotional issues, legal issues and oftentimes confusion as to whether they are the right person or not.
You’ve got to get to the real issues.
As we discussed in Part 1 of the Moving Forward series: Do they share your core values? If not, they’ll have to go. There’s just no getting around it.
Secondly, do they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do the job? Once again if the answer is no to any of these questions they either need to change roles, or go.
Get honest about who fits and who doesn’t. You can only move forward with the right team in the right roles. Failure to address this issue means you and your family pay the price. It’s you who works late, or misses your children’s activities, or just earns less than you could otherwise earn. Don’t shirk this one.
Great teams build great businesses
Assembling your team is phase one of building your ideal business. If you’ve made some progress here but have more to do, then get focused and get the team built. If you’ve not yet realised that this is the key to building your business then I hope this article has inspired you to get going.
Next week I’ll take a look at the importance of process.
Give yourself a score out of ten for each of the following statements. The higher your total score the closer you’ll be to the perfect team for growing your business:
We have the right people sitting in the right seats
When work is delegated to any team member they not only do the task required, but also one or two extras we didn’t know needed doing
Work doesn’t bounce back to the owners/directors desks when delegated
The owners/directors feel they do the work that only they can do (and love)
We know the strengths of each team member and have designed all roles to ensure everyone is working to their strengths
There is a documented recruitment process for all new hiring (which is followed and run by our HR person)
We outsource all non-core tasks that an external person can do better than any of the internal team (and have turned it into an hourly cost)
The owners/directors don’t handle their own email, or manage their own diaries
All team members work at the top of their skill set
Talent is identified and fast tracked to bring potential leaders and future owners through as fast as possible