One of the best things about my team is how we communicate and collaborate. I feel like my team members are not just “doers” on a team, they're my friends!
I'd happily have lunch or go on a beach vacation with any of them. We spend a decent chunk of our weekly team meetings just chatting and shooting the sh*t, just to catch up on everyone's lives before we dive into work projects.
On the surface, we have a solid communication system in place. We have a way to quickly send messages and get answers to questions through weekly meetings, Teamwork tasks, and Teamwork chat. (If you haven't checked out Teamwork, by the way, you should!) It’s rare but we even send emails every now and again.
But that's just the surface stuff. Anyone can get a project management software and schedule weekly meetings. Creating a culture of collaboration in your business is so much more than that though.
This is a huge part of my business, how I work with my team, and how I work with my clients' businesses. I want my team to feel like they can contribute ideas, ask questions, and have a lot of freedom in their zone of genius. A natural result of this is that it opens doors for so much more creativity, solutions to challenges, plus it's a lot more fun!
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Here’s how we roll…
Appreciation and gratitude
My team members are a huge part of the success of The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox and I am not stingy about letting them know how much I appreciate them. During meetings, when they've completed a project, or randomly whenever I think about it. I also send gifts for Christmas and birthdays and I make it a point to get to know them so I really understand who they are as people, not just as team members.
Personality and strengths assessments
A lot of people have mixed feelings about personality tests. Personally, I find that they provide valuable insight into my own personality and habits as well as those of my team, which affects how I work and we work together.
I'm a big fan of the Kolbe test because it grants me a peek into my team members' minds, their strengths, and how they work. This really informs how I communicate with each of them. We have several different personalities on the team, which makes us a very well-rounded group!
Talking to your team is wonderful and necessary, but sometimes a test can pick up things you wouldn't know just from chatting before a meeting. Your team member might not even know a lot of that information about themselves. While I do like Meyer's Briggs and other tests, I find the Kolbe to be the most insightful and increases our ability to “Get Shit Done!”Anyone can get a project management software and schedule weekly meetings. Creating a culture of collaboration in your business is so much more. Click To Tweet
Remember, team members are humans. They can't read your mind (although my team often seems to do exactly that and anticipates things that need to get done in the business, which is awesome! 😊) and may occasionally need some extra training or time to talk things through.
If you've just started working with a VA or OBM, allow time for adjustment and for them to learn the ropes. Remember, what might be obvious to you might not be obvious to someone who is new to your business. Take notice of areas that may come up several times so you can consider reassessing the process in a given area.
Take a deep breath when needed and consider it an opportunity to have a fresh pair of eyes on your systems and processes.
We have a meeting almost every week. I let everyone on the team know when I'm available and when I'm not. Other activities in the business happen on a regular basis, most of the time. Everyone knows what to expect, which makes communication flow a lot easier.
Encourage them to work together
Some parts of your business overlap, so it might make sense for different team members to work together on some projects. This helps them get to know each other and feel more comfortable collaborating. Putting two different minds on the same project allows for innovation. Two heads are definitely better than one!
Questions and suggestions are always welcome. At each meeting, I make sure to give each team member a moment to ask questions, bring up points of concern, and share ideas. I also share articles and ideas with them on Teamwork chat and ask for feedback, and they often do the same for me. I just love it when a team member sends me a link to an article with a message like “I think this is really cool, maybe we should add this to your content plan!” I love that my team feels comfortable and confident enough to take that initiative.
See them as people, not just as cogs in your business
This is huge! I find that an element of friendship makes the difference between a work relationship that feels very task oriented and one that really stimulates business growth. When I bring on a new team member, I send them a little questionnaire to get to know them better, and I have no problem spending ten to fifteen minutes in a meeting chatting with everyone to see what they're up to. They know I care about them, and I know they care about me and my business.
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