March 23, 2016

How to Be Prepared for When the Sky is Falling!

As a business owner, you’ve experienced the ups and downs of owning a business. When times are tough, you know firsthand, there’s a tendency to react instead of lead. This can lead to a crisis mentality that trickles down to your employees and negatively impacts your team’s chemistry and morale. When your team members feel the toxicity of this type of situation, that’s when they start looking for a way out. The last thing you need is for your team to leave you high and dry. Here’s how you lead instead of react when the sky is falling and it has everything to do with your company's WHY.

When everything seems dark, it’s your company’s WHY that is the light to lead the way.

Success starts with the WHY. Put simply, why you do what you do. When you understand that, it will guide you through the ebbs and flows of business. It will attract others that believe what you believe, both employees and customers. Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” illustrates why a company that understands their WHY is more successful and inspires where others cannot. Watch Simon explain this simple but powerful idea in the video bellow.

Like Simon Sinek beautifully said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So think carefully, what’s your WHY? Click to Tweet

Few organizations actually know their WHY and even fewer actively share it. But the most important thing you, your employees, and your customers can know is WHY your organization exists. The HOW and the WHAT follow accordingly. Then you can start to talk about what you believe and attract others who share those beliefs.

So why is this important?

When you hire like-minded people, they won’t just come to work for a pay check. They'll come to work with you. You’ll attract loyal employees and customers who want to be a part of what you do. This is how your company will inspire where others cannot. Even when the sky is falling, your employees will stick by your side to problem-solve and strategize and do whatever it takes to further the mission.

Here’s how to become a “doomsday” prepper:

1. Start With the WHY

The only thing more important than sharing your WHY with your customers is sharing your WHY with your team. You must spend time with your team helping them understand the company vision. Sit down with your team and actually have a “WHY Meeting.” This is where you get to infuse your passion in your team and inspire each of them to join your cause. Let them feel your passion behind WHY you do what you do, WHY your company was born, and WHY it ticks. If we share our beliefs, we can inspire those around us to further our cause, which will be their cause too. That’s the power in the WHY. We follow those who lead for ourselves, not for them, and because we want to, not because we have to. We do it because we believe what they believe and it inspires us to take action. It’s absolutely critical that you start with the WHY and then together with your team, identify exactly what you are giving or providing others. This is your company product or product of purpose. Once you and your team have identified the company product, you can measure your success at delivering it.

2. Measure Progress

Tracking KPIs and holding your team members accountable for performance and goal achievement is sometimes viewed as frigid management, cold and impersonal. But that just means you’re not doing it right. Keep in mind, numbers are the language your business speaks, not the language that naturally inspires your team. If you walk around your office demanding that your team “get their numbers up,” you’re not going to motivate them to improve performance. If your team doesn’t have a scoreboard to visually gauge their own performance and see their progress towards the goal, they’re not going to own their product. If your team only hears about their numbers when they’re down or when they “feel” from you that numbers are down, then analytics become a negative thing. Chances are that if you’re doing it this way, your team feels like you’re micromanaging and they probably feel insecure. That’s when company loyalty and morale begins to dwindle. This is why you need a company scoreboard to display the company product that your team is passionate about and progress towards that product. This is the product of purpose identified in step one that can be measured and now displayed for your entire team to see.

Each team/member should have metrics on your scoreboard to measure their contribution and be able to see how their contribution trickles downstream to the team KPI (Key Performance Indicator). The sum of your KPIs is your company product.

When teams are meeting KPI objectives within a given timeframe or teams/members are achieving established goals and benchmarks, everyone should celebrate. Celebrating these wins with your team and rewarding them for their contribution, provides a sense of acknowledgement and purpose that inspires your team, because they know they’re making a difference. Our team cannot see how important their contributions are if we’re not measuring progress and in a way that allows them to monitor their own performance.

3. Lead Your Team to Success

Your company scoreboard is essential, but measuring performance isn’t enough. We need to act upon our numbers to ensure we’re making the right decisions to further our purpose. There are certain numbers that only the executive team should discuss. Numbers like: total collections, total accounts payables, and total production. When these metrics fluctuate, it’s the executive team’s job to investigate. Find the weak upstream metrics that are causing the decline. Once identified, meet with the team or team member responsible and discuss how this weak upstream metric is affecting the downstream team KPI and ultimately, the company product. When employees understand how their upstream metrics affect the progress of the company's vision, they grow in their understanding of how important their role is to achieving the cause. Not only do they become more passionate about the company product, they become more passionate about their role and the product they produce to contribute to the company’s vision. It’s this passion that ignites problem-solving and strategy that helps your team overcome inevitable challenges to achieving your company vision.

When you implement the steps above, not only are you setting the stage to overcome the challenges of business through inspirational leadership, but you’re actually gamifying your business.

Gamification is about making your office culture inspiring, rewarding, and full of passion to further your mission. Gamifying your business starts with the WHY and creates a culture of accountability and productivity that drives the production needle.

In essence, you need to know your purpose and share it with others. By doing so, you’ll attract a loyal team that makes your vision their own and becomes just as passionate about achieving it. You’ll attract customers that want to buy from you, not because you have something they need, but because they believe in your purpose. When the sky is falling, it’s your company’s WHY that will guide you and your team to success. When you gamify your business, you start with the WHY, and put the systems in place to continue motivating your team and leading them to achieve your dream!

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