I have learnt that most people have some value that they can add to the world. Unfortunately due to societal structures, lack of confidence, the fear that you may be wrong or someone will criticise you, often people don’t speak up and their ideas stay in their head.
If you want to grow an entrepreneurial business it is vital that you create an environment where your team feel comfortable to openly say anything they feel or any ideas they have. If you do this, you will get the true value out of everyone in the team and you never know they might give you the idea that can grow your company by 10 times.
I have always wanted this to be the case in my businesses and one of my expectations that we discuss regularly is that everyone will display candour, which simply means say what you really think in any situation to ensure we know where you stand. This worked well for some people, but as you become a better leader, it becomes evident that every single person is completely different.
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I am very aware that I have a dominant personality and have strong views and this can be intimidating for some team members. In order to mitigate this I realised that I needed to put systems in place to encourage candid conversation.
The great thing about today is that whenever you have problem all you need to do is to look on Google and there will generally be some form of technology which can assist you. Two programs which I have implemented in Wealth Enhancers that have changed my business for the better are 15/5 and TinyPulse.
15/5 is a series of questions which get sent to each of my team weekly which they are required to fill out. I use this to get an update on areas like:
- How they went on their priorities last week?
- What wins did they have?
- What difficulties they may be having?
- Any ideas for what we could be doing better in the business or even more importantly what we should stop doing?
- What are their priorities this week?
- Any nominations for other team members for awards, and finally the most important question
- What can I do to help you?
I can then provide comments back to them, which ensures that we have a quick feedback loop.
Tiny Pulse is a weekly confidential survey which gets sent out to the team asking them a particular question like:
- What is morale like in the business?
- How likely will you be in the business in three years?
- What are your dreams?
- How would you rate your leader?
Unlike 15/5, I have no idea who actually gave what rating or gave a particular suggestion, which encourages the team to be truly open and not worry about the consequences of their thoughts. This is an amazing tool as I can get a great insight into any particular area of the business with a press of the button. The other great feature is that you can send cheers to another person in the team for doing something great. This is an amazing way to boost camaraderie between your team and to improve the culture to one of appreciation. I can tell you from personal experience when you get one as the leader of the team, it is an amazing feeling and gives you an insight of what your team appreciates.
These two tools used wrongly though can end up being another chore for your team members and a detractor in morale and performance rather than a contributor. In order to ensure the team see the value in taking time out of their day to do this and to give valuable insights it is imperative that you take on the feedback and act on some of their suggestions. When you do this it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and you will be amazed by the value you will get from all of your team. You might also discover that you have a new leader or genius in the team that you never knew of because you have given them a voice!
Finn Kelly is the CEO and co-founder of award-winning Gen Y financial advisory firm,Wealth Enhancers, along with the parent company, premier private wealth management firm WE Private.