What Makes a Business Effective? Part 1: Your Team

How much difference would it make if you truly had the right people on your team?

Let’s start by defining what make a business effective.  Most business owners tell me their top priority is to make their business more profitable and less dependent on them.  Obviously, a business that depends too much on one or two individuals is not an effective business.

I submit that the effectiveness of a business depends largely on three things (in no particular order):

  1. The effectiveness of the processes and systems to enable employees to execute business objectives
  2. The competence of the individual employees who are charged with operating the processes in #1 above; and
  3. The skill with which the owner leads and delegates to the team

Certain popular online publications would have us believe that the business systems are the only thing that matters. This may be true if you run a car wash or taco stand, but it’s important to have good people on your team that can exercise good judgment and think on their feet.  Let’s not kid ourselves – quality people make a huge difference.

One of the biggest challenges I see business owners (including myself) struggling with is delegation of tasks.   Personally, one of the challenges I suffer from is the need to do everything myself – this is a common malady for accountants.  As I’ve gotten more experienced (read “older”), I’ve gotten better at this (read “lazier”), so delegation is easier than when I was younger.

But, there’s another challenge that’s even bigger for business owners who are trying to delegate.  I often hear business owners tell me they’re frustrated that they “…can’t delegate this task because my employees can’t do it…”

Fortunately, that excuse is complete baloney.  I’ve learned that 90% of all tasks in small businesses can be delegated – even if your business is brain surgery or rocket science.

Delegation is not easy.   I get it.  My business is in a technical profession.  For a long time, I was very frustrated and struggled to delegate even the most simple tasks.  Then, I started to figure it out – I was the problem.  Doing two simple things made a big difference:

  1. I started paying more attention to the finer points of communication and leading my team, AND
  2. I worked on a process for finding the right employees

Presto.  Delegation became easier in a short time.  I’m no Winston Churchill, but I’ve learned how to be a little bit better of a leader; and I’ve been able to get the right people in the (most of) the right seats in my business.

What a difference!  Now, there’s very little I can’t delegate.

Of course, every business owner is frustrated with employees sometimes.  But, if you’re feeling really frustrated, take a hard look at your team and ask yourself some hard questions:

  1. Do they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities?  Is it in writing?
  2. Do they have a clear understanding of business goals?  Is it in writing?
  3. Do they show up and try like hell every day?
  4. Are they having some fun working with you and learning every day?
  5. Do they come up with good ideas that you never thought of?
  6. Are they really trying to make a good impression on you?
  7. Are they advising you or just reacting to your instruction?

Good employees will do a good job on most of these things.  If your answer is ‘no’ to one or more of these questions, maybe you don’t have the right people in place and maybe you need to work on how you’re leading them.

What are your thoughts on this?  Comment below.  Let’s talk about it.