Your company is growing and you need to keep your employees motivated. How do you do this? This week, as Donna Fenn continues diving into the topics of ‘Nurturing your Entrepreneurial Spirit’, she sits down with CEOs who to find out how they inspire team spirit among their employees.
Janet – @jzablock
Smells Like Team Spirit
By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert
Every business owner likes to think of his or her employees as great team players. But every team needs a great coach – someone who sets the tone, makes the ground rules clear, positions the players to win, rewards success and has a reasonable tolerance for failure. So what are the best ways to foster team spirit in your growing company?
1. Keep employees invested in success. At Select, a membership organization that offers discounts at restaurants, CEO Carlo Cisco can’t afford princely salaries, so he keeps his eight employees engaged and motivated by “selling our vision of the future.” All employees have stock options in the startup. And Cisco keeps everyone apprised of the company’s progress with a big board that tracks both leads and sales. There are individual performance rewards, but options keep everyone focused on the overall success of the company.
2. Do a happiness check. Corey Blake, the CEO of Round Table Companies, which helps authors write books, gathers his eight-person team once a year and asks them what they love about their jobs and what they don’t like. “We help them to replace any aspect of their work that doesn’t create happiness,” says Blake. One team member, for instance, expressed interest in leveraging her background as a former teacher. So Blake assigned her the task of creating classroom materials related to the company’s books. “We want to inspire people about what’s possible within their roles,” he says.
3. Don’t over-collaborate. At ‘ZinePak, which creates custom, interactive publications for brands, co-founders Brittany Hodak and Kim Kaupe found that when teams collaborate too much, projects can get bogged down and “become more about people’s personal likes and dislikes instead of about the client,” says Hodak. So at the beginning of each new project, they started creating formal checklists of responsibilities for each employee so there’s “no confusion with multiple people feeling like they own something.” The result: everyone has a voice, but team members aren’t tripping over each other in the midst of deadline-sensitive projects.
4. Connect your virtual team with tech tools. She Takes on the World is a media company focused on professional and personal development for female entrepreneurs, and its six-member team is all virtual. CEO Natalie MacNeil, who is based in Vancouver, connects employees in Canada, the UK, the Philippines, and the U.S. with a variety of tools. “We use Yammer like a mini-Facebook,” she says. “We can all talk in real time and it creates a social atmosphere.” She also uses Asana for simple to-do lists and to monitor progress on tasks and deadlines. “It’s beautiful and simple,” she says. Both services have free versions, which are currently adequate for MacNeil. “I’d probably pay for the premium versions if I had more people,” she says. Lastly, she also takes advantage of Google Hangouts. “If we’re working with a consultant, the whole team can be involved in training on a Hangout,” she says. She recently offered SEO training to her virtual employees.
Don’t assume that your team – even if it’s a just a team of two or three – will just naturally communicate and cooperate. It’s your job as CEO/coach to make sure that happens consistently and efficiently. Go team!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like last week’s post Put on Your Innovators Hat.
Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.
Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on September 11, 2013 at 11:55 am