Our world is quickly evolving, and this is especially true when it comes to running a successful business. Over the last decade, I have seen firsthand how some companies rise and thrive while others crumble just as they start growing. With business digitalization taking over, there's got to be a way to make your business crumble-proof, right?
There is, and you're just about to find it out.
I'm well known as an expert in the financial services space as well as a top customer-generator globally. I co-founded a team that drives more than 1 million customers annually. Just for facts, we've helped to recover over $100 million in debt for Americans. There's so much I could say about my team's achievements, but it's not the focus here.
Today I'll share some tips I have learned over the years to make sure your business remains relevant for a long time. By the end of this read, you'll have learned how to build a winning culture and team for your business.
1. Define your company values.
Setting your company values is the first step to building a winning culture. This will give your company the right platform by clearly stating what you stand for as a business. Let each of your colleagues and/or employees have these values at their fingertips.
To get started on your company values, you need to ask yourself these three questions:
Why does my company exist – why do we do what we do?
What does my company believe in – what do we stand for?
What is my vision for the company?
According to Buildium CEO Michael Monteiro, answering these questions puts you on the right track to build a winning culture, especially for startups. If your business is up and running, but you missed out on the process, you can always go back to the drawing board.
2. Keep an honest measure of success.
It is of utmost importance that your employees understand your parameters of success and how performance appraisal is awarded. It will help them know the role they play in the overall success of the company.
When each member of your team understands their responsibility in realizing the company's objectives, it will be easier for them to remain focused, and in the long run, you'll have positively motivated members. Positive and personal motivation is the foundation of a winning company culture.
3. Invest in your team's wellness.
The success of any organization largely depends on the members' welfare. To build a winning team, you have to be ready to invest in improving your team's working health.
As a leader, your task is to ensure your team has the right resources for the job, take care of their onsite and offsite healthcare where possible, and provide opportunities for improvement. This will all contribute positively to your company culture. [Read related article: How to Create an Employee Wellness Program]
4. Learn to embrace failure rather than shunning it.
One thing I've learned is that failure is OK. I'm excited about failing, and I want to fail quickly. However weird that may sound, I've come to love it, because I view it quite differently. I think entrepreneurs and managers have it backward. The last thing I want is for my team to be afraid to take a risk because of possible repercussions if they are "wrong" or make a mistake. I'd rather they fail by being aggressive (taking risks) than by being passive. Passive businesses become stale and ultimately irrelevant. Praise failure in your company so the team gets addicted to taking risks. This is where innovation and growth are found.
So fail first, fail fast, learn from it, and get to your success more quickly than you had expected.
5. Hire for personality over skills.
If you start a business, you will likely have people working under your watch. This means you will conduct the hiring process at some point, and to hire, you've got to use some criteria. The conventional hiring criteria are based on skills and past professional experience. While skills and experience may be a good indicator of someone who can do a job, I would suggest hiring a person who strongly believes in your company's vision and fits well into your team. It's better to empower these candidates with any tools they need than to hire a "guru" who has a wanting personality.
If you look at your business for the long term (as a business that will dominate your industry for decades), it is much easier to justify hiring a candidate who isn't as strong on paper as someone else, but who will quickly surpass other candidates because they fit your culture and believe in your vision. When your business faces tough times, these are the people who will plant their feet and double down their efforts.
Of course, there's a lot of qualities to consider in a potential employee. They should be a hard worker, loyal and a team player without a big ego. The bottom line is that skills alone are not good enough when you're trying to build a winning team for your business's success.
6. Empower and trust your team to work with you, not for you.
Once you have hired a team you feel you're ready to work with, the next thing to do is to empower each team member. The best empowerment tool I've come to treasure is trust. When a team member sees that you trust them, you give them confidence that translates to strong motivation, and goal-oriented success will always be the result.
I believe in my team, and they know they don't work for me – it often feels like I work for them. I've learned that my job is to give my team the tools they need and get out of their way. That's how, together, we've achieved the exponential growth we've seen over the last few years. You can be sure I wouldn't have realized such tremendous achievements if I had tried to act as "the boss" on my colleagues.
The secret here is daring to trust your colleagues and empowering them to be entrepreneurs in their own departments and roles within your business. That's how you attract and retain A-players who bring your company's vision to life more than you could have dreamed.
You can build a winning workforce by following these tips, but there is no shortcut to achieving it. You have to work on each point until you see the team you've always wanted. The process of building the right culture for your business may work differently from one person to another. The nugget here is to go for what works best for your team.
When you start by setting the right company values, define your expectations and measure of success, and empower your team to work based on trust and honesty, you'll be amazed at the results.