Is your team on fire?
You better hope they are – because it is the only way you can succeed at growing your business.
But hey, maybe you don’t want to grow? Maybe you do want to grow but you are struggling to make it happen.
What I commonly hear is that the business owner wants to grow. They have a plan. They are able to create a bit of momentum, and things start to improve. But then after a certain period of time, it all falls down and things are back to square one. Or worse!
Why does this happen?
Generally, it comes down to one thing. Your team are not on fire. And that means – you haven’t set them on fire. You haven’t trained them, prepared them, motivated them, and given them the tools, skills, and authority they need to truly be on fire. They just are not a “team on fire”.
There are two very common scenarios when it comes down to a failure to grow.
2 Reasons Your Business Won’t Grow
In the first scenario, something great happens – perhaps an unexpectedly large order comes in, a slew of new customers are won, a product or service excites your market and suddenly things get a lot busier than they were before.
In situations like this, there’s a tendency to hire the first person/people who look like they can do the job. What happens next is an abdication of responsibility to those people that they are actually not capable of handling. Or you hire people to handle the new work and promote someone to manage those people. But you haven’t really thought through what training or support they might need to suddenly become a leader in your business.
It’s a very different set of skills that are required to manage a team, than to be a technical specialist. Not everyone can make that move successfully, and they certainly won’t if you don’t have support, training and coaching in place to help.
Or the above 2 scenarios happen – you DO have people with the skills and experience to step up into leadership roles. Fabulous. BUT you just can’t stop yourself from interfering in everything, trying to control the smallest part of the process and generally ‘being in charge’.
So, you totally disempower them. So instead of being excited and motivated by this opportunity, they are too afraid to make a decision, too frightened of your criticism to put forward an idea. Often they are too demotivated to even show up.
And here’s the thing. You probably don’t even know that you are doing it. You may genuinely think you are giving them the responsibility they can handle without realising it’s too much – or too little. If you find yourself fighting fires all the time, then it is probably the former. And if you are way too busy in the technical business of your business – then it is definitely the latter.
But you need to sort it out. Because the truth is – your business will never grow until your team is on fire.
What Does A Team On Fire Look Like?
What I describe as a team on fire – is one where they are stepping up, asking for and taking on more responsibility. And that is allowing you to step back from the coal face and be more strategic. This team will not come to you with problems – only with solutions. They will innovate and think of new ways of working that you would never have thought of. And they talk to each other and support each other. Not only that but they are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and ambassadors for the department/company. And they think you are the best boss they ever worked for. Why?
Because you have trained, trusted, and taken care of them. You’ve played to their skills and supported their ideas. You haven’t thrown them in the deep end – but rather shown them how to approach the deep end and allowed them to make their own way. There are set boundaries so they know where they can’t go but the boundaries are wide enough that creativity and pro-activity have space to flourish.
Most of all you have allowed positive communication, feedback, and accountability to be the orders of the day. And that culture that you have created is escalated down in the teams that your leadership team manage. The ideas and energy flow in both directions, and your team lead with confidence and commitment.
The end result? Your business grows – sustainably and steadily. Now doesn’t that sound good?
This is the basis of our program – Team on Fire. I have seen it in action many times over the years. Like anything that works well, it is simple but not easy to turn a low-performing leadership team into a Team on Fire. I’d love to know your experience of growing your business – positive or not! Email me for a virtual coffee anytime on firstname.lastname@example.org