Assembling Your Superhero Team
Growing a business is never easy. To do so, you and your team need to gain more clients, increase the average transaction, and increase repeat and referral sales. But the most important part of growing a business? Leveraging your resources, said Ford Saeks, a nationally renowned business growth specialist who spoke at one of PSA’s Partnership events.
“People are your biggest asset, and they affect everything in your company,” he said.
If you discover what your employees’ skills, talents and abilities are — and properly leverage them — you’ll build your own “superhero team,” Saeks said.
Here are just a few ways to get your superhero team started.
It Starts With You
What are your employees’ mindsets? And what do you do about it?
People with fixed mindsets believe qualities like intelligence, creative ability and talent are “fixed” and cannot be significantly changed. Because of that, they are conditioned to say things like “I don’t know,” rather than take it upon themselves to learn or try to find the answer. They are also prone to “thinking small” habits, such as procrastination, making excuses, and overanalyzing issues. This mindset tends to impede improvement and growth — both at the employee and organizational level.
If you want to build a superhero team, you will have to embrace a growth mindset, if you don’t already do, and encourage your employees to do the same. Those with growth mindsets thrive on challenge and often see failure as a way to learn, and stretch their abilities.
You can easily transform a fixed mindset into a growth mindset. How? The next time a fixed mindset employee says “I don’t know,” Saeks suggests engaging that employee by saying, “I know you don’t. But if you did, what would it be?” Ask your employees what they could do to find out the answer. See if there are resources they need that you could provide. By encouraging them to embrace curiosity and learning, you can help them develop a growth mindset.
To help with this, Saeks recommends companies establish a “success library” (videos, books, training manuals, etc.) in their organization to help team members improve.
“Identify the key areas that you want to try to help people with,” he said. “Then [ask], ‘What products or resources should I have available to them?’”
“Communication is so important when you’re doing team building,” Saeks said.
He recommends trying the “three folds, three tears” exercise. To do this, hand each team member two blank pieces of paper, but have them set one aside for later. Then, have a company leader provide these directions:
- Close your eyes and keep them closed.
- Fold the paper in half and crease it.
- Tear a small piece of paper off the upper left corner.
- Fold the paper in half one more time.
- Tear a small corner off the lower right corner.
- Make one more fold.
- Tear a small corner off the lower left corner.
- Open your eyes, but keep the paper folded.
How many people tore their papers exactly the same way, even though everyone was given the same directions? Chances are not many.
Now try the exercise again with the other remaining paper. But this time, have each team member stand back-to-back with a partner, so they cannot see each other. Partner A will give three fold and three tear instructions, folding and tearing his or her own paper along the way. Partner B will listen, following the same directions on his or her paper, and asking clarifying questions if needed. The goal is to practice verbal communication. Open the papers. You’ll find far more pages match this time around.
“If you don’t ask clarifying questions, you’re almost sure not to get it right,” Saeks said. “This exercise really makes the point of how hard communication can be and teach your team the importance of asking questions.”
Also, when building your superhero team, remember Minimum, Target, and Optimal (MTO), Saeks said. Make sure you communicate the expectations clearly to each team member regarding what is considered the minimum, target, and optimal performance for the job. Not every project has to be completed to its optimal level – depending on the circumstances or the nature of the task, your team can sometimes achieve the target goal while other times they can just meet minimum requirements.
Company leaders should examine how they actually spend their time — and then think how they’d prefer to spend their time. Based on that, what areas should you focus on to help build your superhero team? As Saeks points out, remember what makes a good manager doesn’t always make a good leader.
Managers tend to:
- Focus on things
- Do things right
Leaders tend to:
- Focus on people
- Do the right things
- Shape entities
“Where do you fall, where does your team fall, where do your people fall on this scale?” Saeks asked.
Leaders can also use situational leadership when building their superhero teams, he said. Within your team, identify who needs what level of situational leadership. And remember, Saeks said, it’s not about the person but the task at hand.
Situational leadership starts with directing employees who have some competency and some commitment in certain situations, but they still need direction. Then comes coaching. These employees need guidance, training and encouragement in situations to ensure they are doing something right. Supporting is next. In this phase, leaders can be more hands off with these employees, meeting with them just once a week or once every two weeks. The ultimate result is empowering — making sure employees know what to do, have the necessary skills and abilities, and hold themselves personally accountable for their own success and results.
You know you have mastered situational leadership when you can adapt your leadership style to your team’s willingness and ability to perform as well as to the task that needs to be accomplished.
“It’s an ongoing process,” Saeks said. “To assemble a superhero team, it starts with you and your mindset. You have to look at your communication and leadership.”
Ford Saeks is a business growth specialist and CEO of Prime Concept Group. His You Tube channel, Fordify, offers regular free sales, marketing, leadership and customer service tips. For more information, click here. And make sure to join us for our next PSA Partnership event, “The Circle Blueprint on March 27, 2018..