27 Apr

Do you have the right people in the right seats?

A question which has stuck in my head forever, thanks to an old boss of mine, “Do you have the right people, in the right seats on the bus?” has over the past couple of weeks come up in conversation with quite a few of my clients.
This is a powerful question because it makes you step back and view your business from a completely different angle. It’s not about the products or services or the systems you use. It’s purely about the people that you have, if they are the right fit for your business and if they are performing their duties as per expectations. A rather sobering question if you ask me.
The teams which function in our businesses are extremely important. You already know that as a business owner or operator, ultimately your team are the ones that make things happen. They are the ones who make the business come alive. They are the ones who represent the brand to the outside world.
With this in mind there are four key areas I would like to raise and possibly get you thinking about  when you start evaluating the “seating arrangements” on your own bus.
1) Skills and capabilities – every person in your team has a set of unique skills and capabilities, hence the reason for why you hired them in the first place. If you took a snap shot of your business as it currently stands, is every person within your organisation playing towards their strengths and focusing their attention on your business objectives or has their focus shifted?
Teams function well when they are able to get to know their fellow team mates and over time with some commitment from all parties, your goal is that trust starts to blossom. One ingredient which is key to the trust recipe is having a consistent core group of team members with very little unscheduled shifting of positions and people as possible.  As a business owner how do you maintain that core team? In today’s business world we are all aware of how easy it is to “jump ship”. People are often looking for greener pastures. What talent management process to you have in place or people development programme?
2) Emotional intelligence – When you evaluate your team members, instead of only measuring them on their ability to complete their tasks, it pays to measure their emotional intelligence levels as well. They may be highly skilled individuals, but if they have very little self and social awareness, or minimal ability to  self-manage, then they could be more of a hindrance in your business than an advantage. The beauty however about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned.
3) Values – It is said that people are guided by their own personal values, goals and needs first before they actively drive any business goals. With this in mind, do your team members share your business values? Are you aware of team members individual personal values?  Would it not be best to share in a common set of values and beliefs than to struggle with constant internal conflict with your team members?
4) Motivation and passion – Sticking with the bus analogy, you could call motivation the  the fuel of the business. Having a busload of highly skilled, emotional intelligent individuals is any business owners dream. However if these individuals don’t put fuel in the tank, the bus is going nowhere. Same for your business, if your team members aren’t motivated to drive the business goals forward, your business is going no where.
Internal motivation is key and when recruiting the right people should be a non-negotiable, but how are you as the business owner or operator motivating your team members?
With these four areas as a benchmark, how does your current seating arrangement look?
15 Jul

Are you married to your job?

Are you married to your job? Don’t worry this is not a loaded question to make you feel bad about spending more time at the office than you should. How much time you spend at work is your own choice. You might really enjoy those long hours.

Most of us spend a considerable amount of our lives working, so perhaps I should phrase the question in this way. Are you happily married to your job?

For me, a happy fulfilling marriage or partnership is built on many things. The same goes for a happy fulfilling job. Besides good communication skills, sharing common goals and having a strong self-awareness. A strong foundation for both of these is having a set of shared values .

Now, it probably depends on which stage of life you are in, as your priorities and values at 22 are very different to your priorities and values at 45. A fresh out of school or college graduate will most probably say that having a job is all about getting a pay check, finally gaining independence and building up the required work experience. So in a nutshell they value money, independence and experience above all else.

Now you may maintain these values throughout your career and be perfectly happy. However, as you move through your career your values may shift. This shift is not always known to us upfront, but what we might start noticing or feeling  is that our work satisfaction and motivational levels have decreased. This could mean a host of different things and before you pull your hair out perhaps start by asking yourself these questions.

  1. What was the initial reason for me joining the business?
  2. Have my prioritise or values changed since joining the business?
  3. Are the business values aligned to my current personal values?
  4. Does the business live up to their stated values?
  5. Do I trust that the business will align all important decisions it makes with its values?

By answering these questions you will clearly see if you share the same values, or you may identify an area which needs to be reviewed. For example one of the parties might not be living their values, or your own personal values may have shifted. It may not be about money and independence anymore, it may be about integrity, honesty and trust.

Then like in any marriage or partnership, the crucial question is asked. Do I stay and work through these issues, through good times and bad times, or do I choose to leave? The choice is yours.