Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Are you ambitious, hardworking, determined, committed, energetic and a fierce entrepreneurial spirit? Are you the best in your field, the person that clients gravitate towards, with a work ethic second to none? Are you tired, on the verge of burnout or finding yourself waking up and wondering if this is even worth it? Do you crave time off, but cannot afford to leave your business alone even for just one second? You might have hit the brickwall that many high-achieving, super ambitious, incredibly intelligent entrepreneurs, including myself, have hit at some point on their journey to building their empire.
What you need right now is time off from work, time to work on your business and not in it, time to reflect and make key strategic moves. What you need is someone to step up behind you, take some of your normal day's workload from you and tell you - "Don't worry, I got this." What you need right now - is a TEAM.
But you cannot afford a TEAM right now, can you? Let's be brutally honest - some months are good, some months not too bad, but most of the time it takes a constant hustle from your side to just keep the business on track; the cash coming in; the customers satisfied; the website up and running. Besides what you don't have time for right now is training more people that will start out great and then slowly fade into the background as you continue to teach them, handle most of the workload and still stretch yourself to your absolute limit in just keeping the whole business boat on track. And with the havoc that Covid has wrecked on the global economy you have even more to do than ever before just to ensure the survival of your business in these rought economic times. Now cannot possibly be the right time to be talking teamwork. Right?
Wrong. "What you need to understand about building a team, and the capacity that comes with it, is that a team needs a captain, not a leader", says Peter Hingston, director of ProTech Sales Solutions and specialist team builder. "A team needs someone that can give them direction, pick the right people, display their strenghts to each other, change leadership styles to suit the team and the situation and encourage and guide along the way. When building a team it is important to build a dynamic; a team that can take care of each other, and that doesn't need you to take care of them 24/7. You want to create that ownership where team members feel like this is "their team", not yours. People work harder for things that they feel they have ownership of."
Many entrepreneurs, including me, have made the mistake of building a team towards themselves, and not towards each other. Hingston says "The more you build your people, the more they build each other. I've accomplished more with people that have literally been turned away from other teams because of whatever reason and who've felt a sense of ownership towards 'their team' that we built together, than with, shall we say so-called 'golden individuals' who had no such engagement with the team they'd been working in at that point in time."
"The key to unlocking the true value of a team is to train them to look for answers from each other, not from you. This can be accomplished easily enough by just working in the background", says Hingston. It takes finesse to build a team. Situations that arise need to be dealt with in the most subtle way possible, and with the end goal and the whole dynamic of the team in mind. Don't make rash decisions. Weigh all your options. Look for advice from those you trust before making a move and then execute flawlessly. If you have a natural ability to read people, that's even better, because a team is only as strong as the members that made it.
And what if you do bring individuals onto the team that simply don't end up stepping up and into their active envisioned role in the team? "Leave them in the background," says Hingston, "because it is not your job to inspire them. Each person has their own choices to make. Potential new team members will either be inspired and naturally drawn towards being a part of the team, or not. It's their choice." At the end of the day a team, and an empire, is built from and by the people in it. People are going to do people things and you can't make people do anything. Remember, it's their choices to make. Either they will be inspired and become part of something greater than themselves, or they won't. You need to be prepared for, and willing to accept, either.
And when it comes to keeping teams on track and focused towards a common goal? "Lay down the ground rules clearly. Make it crystal clear. Sit down and spend time to discuss the 'values' of the team and the common goal the team is striving for," says Hingston. In that way, if a team member does step out of line, the other team members will notice and quickly act to get the wayward team member back on track. By following this approach of really encouraging team members to step up and shine as their authentic selves, you'll find that team leaders naturally will start to emerge from the dynamic. At the end of the day, it is not your job to lead them, it is your job to guide them. If you build a team that expects leadership from you in everything they do, that is exactly what you'll get - a team that cannot think for themselves or take ownership of their ahievements and failures. "What you want to build is a team that can lead themselves. That is where the magic happens," reminds Hingston.
And in terms of inspiring a team? "Running a good team is like being cupid," says Hingston. If you know your people well enough to understand their strenghts and weakness you'll be able to guide the process of letting them take care of each other. "It is not your job to take care of the team," reminds Hingston. "It is the job of the team members themselves to take care of each other. And you know what inspires a team more than anything? A captain that steps up and does things first, but that deliberately uses this engagement to motivate a team effort and not an individual effort."
These are golden nuggets of wisdom that I personally wish I had learnt earlier in my entrepreneurial career, but that I am so grateful for being able to share with you now. Hingston has been one of the key ingredients of success in my personal entrepreneurial endeavours and I can tell you that what he has shared with us in this interview, are things that you can take to heart, because it works in practice! Before Hingston joined the ProTech group and founded ProTech Sales Solutions, I had very much hit a brickwall in my own organisation with regards to being able to do everything well, but not everything well all at once. The team he has built round me has been key to fixing this flaw in my own business model and to building a business model that I am proud to say, is now, as close to covid-proof as possible.
Yours in Business,
Interview with: Peter Hingston, Managing Director - ProTech Sales Solutions, Expert Coach on our Fempreneur 12 Week Workshop proudly powered by ProTech