One of the biggest challenges team members encounter with their entrepreneurs is having a project that doesn’t go as planned. Despite everyone’s best efforts and hard work, the project failed. Then there’s usually a conversation that goes something like this: The entrepreneur says, “We didn’t get the result!” and the team says, “But we worked so hard, stayed late, and did our best!” The entrepreneur replies, “It doesn’t matter; we didn’t get the result!” and so on.
In truth, both are right, but neither feels heard or understood.
This difference in focus is fairly easy to understand. As an entrepreneur, you’re naturally driven to focus on results. You’re in what we call The Results Economy, where there’s lots of opportunity for freedom over your time and money, but no guarantees. You have to be creating value or you don’t get paid. For you, security comes from opportunity, and you’re constantly focused on expanding opportunity. Your success depends on how well you maximize results and minimize the time and effort it takes to accomplish them.
However, most team members are raised in The Time And Effort Economy. They’re accustomed to regular paychecks and regular hours, and don’t recognize that fact that, for you, there are no guarantees. No one’s making sure you get paid or dictating how you spend your time.
It’s up to you to let your team know that even though they straddle both economies, as team members in an entrepreneurial environment, it’s only by keeping their eye on results that they or the company will be successful.
There are some key strategies to help your team get on board with your thinking. Remember, for you this is instinctive and intuitive. For your team, it isn’t until they learn your approach.
- Get aligned on what a great result looks like. One of the questions to answer and to make sure people ask is, “What does this look like when it’s done and done well?” Get specific about with whom, by when, how much, and how well. By painting a very clear picture of what success looks like, your team can get aligned with your vision, and you won’t be guilty of “drive-by delegations.”
- Be coachable. Two-way communication is crucial; I’m always encouraging team members to educate their entrepreneurs about potential obstacles. If you want something done in two days but your team knows it will take closer to two weeks, give them permission to let you know. When your team is open about their challenges, it provides you with raw material to find solutions and get results faster. It gives you a chance to contribute by coming up with quick solutions, alternative approaches, and short cuts.
- Collaborate. Using the talents on your team to bring a project to life will far exceed what you ever thought possible if you did it on your own. When team members are invested in the projects they’re working on and know the result makes a difference, they’re even more effective. I work with a team to produce The Team Success Podcast series, and we collaborate and cooperate at every stage of the process. This is what makes it so enjoyable. Your team has an enormous amount of unique skills, passions, talents, and ways of looking at things that you don’t—tap into this. You’ll be astonished by the results.
- Focus on constant improvement. One of the ways to get your team constantly focused on results is to have them challenge themselves to do their roles in ways that are faster, easier, cheaper, and better. We all have access to technology that can leverage what we do. By having your team focus on how they can be even more resourceful, they’ll get more done in less time, with less effort.
Use these techniques to encourage your team to be more strategic about their time and effort so they can devote more attention to producing bigger and better results and put you both on the same page.