I recently attended the Ultimate Culture Conference, produced by Human Synergistics. I was blown away by the amount of “real talk” by the expert speakers and panelists. From enabling growth culture, to creating positive change and humble leadership, there was one consistent theme throughout the conference: transformation. At one point, I heard someone ask: “What if changing 30 percent of one thing could improve 100 percent of everything?”
To my fellow entrepreneurs, take a look around. At the way things run. At the revenue stream. At the systems in place. From how you conduct business to the end result, is what you’re doing really working?
More importantly, is it efficient? Working smarter, not harder, has become the new “it” business refrain. Four-hour work weeks. Mini-retirements. Completely remote teams. Twenty-five-year-old billionaires. There is no normal when it comes to creating a successful business, partnering with the right people, building an airtight revenue stream, or how and where you work.
But we all have areas we can improve and glitches to catch, so we are using our time—and our employees’ time—most efficiently.
When it comes to your business, you can’t control everything. When you delegate, you must trust your team to follow through, release the micromanaging, and let things get done.
But how much of that could be done better? What is the 30 percent you can improve?
- Are you an uptight boss? More importantly, are you a jerk?
- Do you need better systems in place?
- Does your team-building suck?
- Is your office environment reminiscent of Office Space?
- Are you or members of your team perpetually late/stressed/annoyed?
Assess what nagging trait, characteristic, or issue is constant, somewhat small, and actionable in terms of change. Whether the problem is with you or your team, instead of tackling everything at once pluck one pitfall you complain about the most (or poll your team to assess their honest feedback) and get to work.
Create an action plan to shift, edit, or eradicate the problem in less than 30 days to significantly enhance functionality and productivity for your team.
At the Ultimate Culture Conference, Marshall Goldsmith, a leading executive educator, coach, and author, spoke about behavior and asked, what one change would make a difference for maximum results? As a boss, what would people say about you? If people feel you aren’t authentic with flaws and vulnerabilities, then they probably aren’t going to feel comfortable telling you what could be better or how they, as employees, really feel. Make sure you are showing up “real,” approachable, and open to hearing about (and implementing) change.
It’s amazing how many businesses are built or operate with antiquated, unorganized systems. Are you still using PCs? Do you use five steps for a process that could be fixed in one? Is email a continuous open form of communication instead of an action “mail” system that has an end result? Do you live in a death-by-meetings culture? Assess what systems you have that were learned, adapted, or created from previous workplaces. You must create systems for YOUR team, not just any team. What would they like to see? What would make them most feel productive? Yes, you may be the boss, but when you pay attention and keep your team happy, you get more done. As Peter Fuda, a respected authority on business and leadership transformation explained at the conference: “Transformation is not a matter of intention, it’s a matter of alignment.” So, in your business, what requires alignment for your teams to work better?
Transformation is not a matter of intention, it’s a matter of alignment. -Dr. Peter Fuda
Forget the cheesy retreats and come up with team-building exercises that don’t have anything to do with the office. Look at other companies you hope to be like and reach out to see what they do to build in-house morale. A little praise goes a long way. So does time off. Appreciation. Maybe setting up one or two days per week to work remotely. Being a humble leader, as Edgar Schein, a leading authority on organizational culture, explains, is about a new attitude, new mindset, and even new skills. How can you build a better team by implementing new tactics?
If your office makes you want to be anywhere but there, it needs an overhaul. You want a space that is conducive to productive work, camaraderie, team building, and effective communication. (And you better have strong coffee and some serious perks, too.) If you run a sterile business, then have a sterile office. If you want a creative business, get creative in your aesthetic. It all matters. Take pages from the coolest interiors, barter if you must, and construct an interior that matches your level of professionalism and inspiration.
At the end of the day, tackling one thing will result in a 100 percent change to most things.
It’s about being honest, feeling heard, and having fun in your business. Otherwise, what’s the point?