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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 3/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 4 in your next email from BOSS.

3. Include Everyone

So you’ve hired good people and you work alongside them, showing that you’re willing and able to participate in their working lives, and that they’re able to participate in yours.

Now it’s time for you to reap the rewards of your hard work. You do this by sharing your vision of your business.

Set Your Goals

The first step of course is having a vision at all. It’s not enough for you and your company to exist – you have to have specific goals if you want to grow. If you don’t have a specific goal in mind yet, make one right now. Pull out a calendar and write down on the date a year from today the way you most want your company to have grown.

Try to be specific. “Bigger,” is not a specific-enough goal for your company. “To have 100 new clients” is much better. Or maybe it’s to have a shiny new office space. Perhaps you want to have 5 more cars in your rental fleet. Or to be able to add a specific service to your menu of offerings that you just can’t handle yet because you don’t have the people or necessary equipment.

After you get that one-year (or two-year, or five-year) goal in place, break it down into manageable steps from month to month. If your goal is a certain number of new clients, then this month’s subgoal might be to get a professional website up and running.

Not only do such subgoals give you something to shoot for, but they also help you to see what activities are not making the best use of your time (activities not geared towards helping you achieve your goal). You’ll be able to delegate and make a far more efficient use of your time.

Share Your Vision

Once you have your calendar more or less set up it’s time for the most important part – share your vision. With everyone. Make your dream everyone’s dream.

This is how you transform your employees’ employment from a job into a calling.

Make your vision as easy to understand as possible. Just to be clear – a goal is a milestone you want your company to achieve. Your vision is what you want your company to be. Your goals are the building blocks of your vision.

Put It In Writing

Have you ever seen a business with a kind of worker slogan on its walls? Think about that famous police slogan – “To serve and protect.” That’s a vision of a perfect form of a police force. It’s both a statement about what the police force stands for, but also a guiding light for its members when they’re in doubt about how they should act or what they should do in a certain situation.

It’s easy to remember and it explains how a police officer in pursuit of police officer-y perfection should act.

Get your vision down somewhere it can be seen and studied. A poster. An email to all of your employees. Make it short, clear, and concise.

Live the Vision

Anyone can write a slogan on a whiteboard. But if that’s all you do then it’s going to be quickly forgotten or be a source of much eye-rolling amongst your employees.

A boss writes the vision down and snaps his or her fingers – get to it! A leader on the other hand becomes the living embodiment of that vision and gives their employees the tools they need to make the vision come true.

You get your people to invest in that vision by you investing in them. Here are 5 methods to do just that:

  1. Pay accordingly. Your goal with your pay isn’t to get the cheapest people possible. That just leads to ongoing turnovers (which lead to hiring costs, training costs, severance pay, etc…). Your goal with your hiring practices is to be the company that is the sexiest business in your industry for people to work at. It’s about what you can give your employees as opposed as to what you can exploit from them.
  2. Make yourself available. It’s no use sharing your vision and then not being open to great new ideas that you may spark in your people.
  3. Delegate. Let your people make some real decisions. The more responsibilities they have, the more they’re going to feel like they’re really contributing to the business. This, by the way, is one way to compensate your employees if you can’t pay as much as your competition – give them real responsibility in the fortunes of the business instead of their being just another cog in the machine somewhere else.
  4. Pay for Training. Nothing is going to show an employee that you believe in them as much as investing in their future. You’ll be showing that you want them to stick around and that you believe they’re worth you investing real money in their careers.
  5. Share the Windfall. Tie your employees’ fortunes directly to the fortunes of the business. Who isn’t going to put more effort into a company that compensates accordingly?

If your company feels like a family then you’re doing something right. Happy employees make for happy customers, and happy customers make for happy investors.

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