In the previous two articles we talked about starting up a business. But once you get started, what’s the best way to get ahead?
Today I want to talk about hardware and software. And no, I’m not talking about computers and the systems that run them.
What I am focusing on is the actual business and its people.
Imagine every business is a machine. Whether you operate a manufacturing business or a service business, every business needs to operate at a ‘mechanical’ level. The nuts and bolts of the business are the procedures, the products, the services, the systems, the equipment and the physical location to name a few.
But like most machines, they don’t run well without good operators and ongoing attention.
Which brings me to the software. Your staff…
The reason I think of staff as software is that they are not machines. They are flesh and blood with emotions, needs and aspirations. They need to know you care.
I’ve seen business owners and managers that think the machine is all that matters, and that staff are just a necessary adjunct to the machine. Some find it difficult to personally connect with employees while still maintaining a position of authority.
But no matter how good your business model is or its products are, you still need a dedicated and engaged team to design, build, improve, sell and service them. Happy staff lead to happy customers.
Employees who feel valued and appreciated by owners and managers are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the business and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project. Most importantly, they will be happier in their roles.
Make time for your people
It’s hard for employees to feel appreciated when you’re too busy for a simple chat. It can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day management and seem to be too busy for the people around you.
Making yourself available for regular conversations with your team members, helps them feel valued and respected.
The best ‘people managers’ are real and transparent with staff. If an employee asks for feedback, be honest with them. Transparency may sometimes be accompanied by a few uncomfortable conversations, but by having those conversations, you show that you care enough to deliver the truth, That can mean a lot to employees.
And make it a two-way street. Let them have their say but ensure that it’s in a structured way. For example, make a time to chat, rather than just open up out of the blue, without any preparation.
A quick email or an encouraging word of thanks can go a long way, especially after a big win, or at the end of an intense but successful project. We all like to be appreciated for our efforts. Being aware and in touch with their efforts means that your team will keep putting in the extra yards when needed.
So remember, software not hardware. Show your people they matter, and they will reward you in kind.