Business is full of edits and adjustments. Sometimes our target market is too large, so we adjust to focus in on the people we understand the best and can help the most. For example, Starbucks’ primary audience is coffee drinkers. While Teavana’s products are for the serious tea lovers or new converts.
It’s Not Just About The Product
Your team also gets edited and adjusted. Every person that looks great on paper isn’t always a match for your company. That’s what the interview, testing and trial periods are about — finding the best fit given the environment. But what about us?
How Often Do We Edit Ourselves?
There’s a difference between protecting our personal style and the type of communication that breaks teams down. On Top Chef Masters, the reality cooking series on Bravo TV, one of the contestants, Chris Cosentino, said:
“Communication is the backbone of a restaurant.”
The same is true for any business. The ability to educate our team is directly related to how we talk to them. It’s a deal maker.
What If You Worked With Children?
And no I don’t mean that 45 year old team member that kinda acts like a child — I mean a staff of teenagers. How would that affect your communication style?
In this same episode of Top Chef Masters, each chef had to train a team of high school students. In fact, everything that came out of the kitchen had to be prepared by the students, but it carried the Top Chef’s name (talk about putting your reputation — and ego — in the hands of babes).
As Curtis Stone, MC and fellow chef, put it:
“Your job is to show them how to use their limited skills to create a master dish.”
They couldn’t rest on their style or technique. All they had in that particular challenge was their ability to teach. Ultimately, the better we communicate, the more our team reflects our values.
The winner of that particular challenge, Kerry Heffernan, did — or stumbled upon, however you want to put it — three things that any small business owner can imitate.
Find out a little bit about your team — why they’re here, relevant experiences in their past and what they hope to get out of this opportunity. Tell them a little bit about you — why you’re here, what you’re passionate about and what you expect from them.
Have a little fun with this part. Keep it natural and easy going.
As Heffernan, said:
“I’m going to push them. Hopefully they can handle it.”
Your team has to do the work without you at some point. But first, let them get their hands dirty under your watchful eye.
Don’t grab the phone, take over the computer screen or flat out fix the problems that you see them making. Teach. This step will raise your communication skill as well as their level of execution. And it’ll prepare them for your absence. You do need a vacation from time to time, don’t you?
They have to complete the work in order to feel the success. So don’t cut the challenge off early. Don’t lower the standards for your business and don’t give up on your team.
Praise them for their successes. Give your team the chance and the responsibility of correcting their mistakes. You’re building something that lasts and that type of success doesn’t happen overnight.
But with consistency and effective communication it happens.