Happy Tuesday guys! So I’m kind of on a roll this week and didn’t want to stop my momentum by not sharing these thoughts with you today. As many of you know I’m all over South Florida on any given day. I’ve got clients spanning from Miami to St. Petersburg and am currently located up in Stuart! What does that mean? Lotssssss of time spent in the car. I recently hit the gold mine however and discovered a podcast by my new hero, Jenna Kutcher. I’ve found that listening to a podcast episode in the morning really helps me to wake up my mind in a great way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely blasting some hiphop as I roll into whichever city is home for me that day, but being able to stretch out those brain muscles before a big day of meetings or projects is huge.
So! Back to the thought of the day – Creating culture in your small business, or really in any business. This particular episode really hit home for me. I’ve worked for a number of small and medium businesses over the past 10 years and one of the most important things I’ve learned that businesses run based on leadership and culture. Many people may argue this and that’s totally fine. Things were also different 10, 20, 50 years ago. But today, I believe that creating an inspiring environment and being the kind of person who employees are excited to work for is more important than anything else. One of the most recent podcasts I listened to from Jenna is focused on 5 Ways to Foster a Team Culture. Check out my notes below!
To get started, I will say again that these are just my ideas and some interesting thoughts I wanted to share with you. I don’t expect anybody to be writing a business plan based on this blog post. BUT! If you currently work for a small business or are thinking about starting one, I would definitely take note. In her podcast Jenna talks about 5 distinct areas that help foster an amazing team culture.
1.) CREATE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: Word up Jenna, worddd up. One of my biggest frustrations over the years has been employees and employers who expect warp speed style communication, but refuse to adopt the technology base to make it happen. Like Jenna and her team, at Stuart Social we use Slack, Asana, and are die hard G-Suite fanatics. We all work remotely so in the morning we do a 15 min review then once a week we hold a team meeting. We utilize video chat during the week, and put a huge focus on making sure everybody is in the loop by documenting and communicating through Asana. The most important thing here is that you have to commit to using these types of tools. If you setup slack but continue to text or gchat, it’s pointless. If you setup Asana but continue to communicate over disconnected email chains, it’s pointless. Major companies like Uber, Facebook, InVision and more use these technologies for a reason, so I would definitely recommend giving them a try!
2.) GIVE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS OWNERSHIP OF A TASK: Yes. This is probably the one I struggle with most to be honest. I’ve been running my side hustle (marketing, blogging, web design) since 2011 and let me tell you – handing off tasks that I would normally do to one of my team members is a lot harder than it seems. I’m SO used to doing things my own way, making sure that the photo edit is perfect or that the template gets filled out the right way. But I know that the only way to grow is to be ok with delegating tasks. For example I love doing social media. Truly. But do I have 10 hours a week to dedicate to each clients social accounts? Not. A. Chance. I barely even have time for my own! Finding team members you trust and helping them to learn and grow on their own to the point where they can offload work from you is key. Giving them ownership of their own work is empowering, makes them feel responsible and part of the team. It’s also very important when doing this to define roles clearly. Like Jenna says in her podcast, some overlap is ok when it comes to collaborative projects. But at the end of the day there should be 1 single person responsible for making sure something gets done, and gets done well.
3) ALLOW SPACE FOR MISTAKES TO BE MADE: Another hugely important and hugely overlooked point. Every bone in my marketing agency trained body is screaming 10 hours a day to make sure that nothing goes wrong. But at the end of the day, I know that it’s my job to make the call and if I do make the wrong cal to then take responsibility for it. Translating that to your team is imperative. It’s so much more important to learn from possibly making a mistake rather than to get stuck in a task and be afraid to move forward out of fear of messing up. I always tell my girls, ask for forgiveness not permission – except when it comes to major things like finance etc. Capitalize on those learning moments and empower your team to make decisions.
4.) ASK FOR FEEDBACK AND DO MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY CHECK-INS WITH YOUR TEAM: Amen! At one of my last full time jobs I had to beg for feedback. And unfortunately most of the time I got it was when something did go wrong. I find it so important to check in with your team on a regular basis to find out an array of things. Are they enjoying what they’re doing? Are they feeling supported and learning enough? What are they excited about and what is stressing them out? Staying in tune to your employees feelings might seem like a waste of time to some people, but if you want to run a small agile team that comes to work with game face on day in and day out, then just make sure your people are happy.
5.) HELP THEM PRIORITIZE TASKS OF IMPORTANCE: The big 3 as Jenna would say is a great way to help your team learn priorities not only for their work, but for the company as well. Most of the time when you start to hire team members, it’ll take a while for them to get on your level as a business owner. But teaching them why certain things hold more weight than others is a great way to get them there. I love Jennas method of everybody saying their ‘big 3’ each morning so that gives her time to get in there and make sure those 3 tasks are the most important things they should be working on that day. If not, adjust away.
So there you have it! 5 ways to foster a team culture so you can continue to grow and love what you do every day. Your relationship with your team is so incredibly important and if you’ve got other tips and ideas I would love to hear about them. You can leave me a comment below or find me on Instagram – @mallorymitchell!