“I can’t rely on anyone but myself to get the job done.” For 30 years Gene had worked in the tire shop, and he did everything. He had 2 employees, but he never viewed them as more than another piece of equipment. They did decent work, but they all eventually learned that they were only there to do exactly what Gene told them to do, when he told them to do it, and nothing more.
So, understandably, they never stayed in the job for long. One, two, maybe three years tops. Then they were off to another job where they might find a little more opportunity, and a little less micro-management. This, of course, reinforced Gene’s belief that, “I can’t rely on anyone but myself to get the job done.”
Is it all about you?
Do you run your small business the same way Gene ran his? Do you “care so much” that you don’t trust the important work to anyone else? You’ve been burned, right? You’ve trusted in the past, only to be let down.
Anyone who’s been there knows the pain. The employee mistake that cost you the customer. With that kind of risk, why would you trust your employees with the important stuff? Because unless you build your team, you have little chance to sell your business.
You Know the question. Here’s the Answer
Can a buyer Duplicate your results? That’s one of three questions you must answer about the results your business generates. If a buyer is going to duplicate your results, you must:
- Build a Team
- Build Systems
Are you replaceable?
What portion of the value that your business creates comes from you? Do all roads lead to you? Do you check, confirm, authorize and engage everything that happens? Have you allowed, encouraged or even forced your employees to step-in and step-up to increase their importance to the business?
Is the value created by you or the team?
Be less and make them more
This one is simple, but not easy. Stop doing something and have someone else do it instead. It’s that simple. If you really want to start making more of your team, you must start by making less of yourself.
Keep it simple. Start by making a list of responsibilities that you currently handle. Then start giving away those responsibilities to an employee. Don’t just tell them to do it – tell them what you’re doing.
“I’m looking to give away some of what I’m doing so select employees can have a chance to take on more responsibility. I think you’re ready and I’m excited to see what you do with this.”
Make building a team your primary job
If this is going to work, you must become committed to the idea that everything runs through the team.
- “But I need to increase profits?” Run it through the team. Who understands your customers? Who can help you increase billings, reduce costs, etc.
- “The clients ask for me.” Run it through the team. Who else can you introduce the customer to? Who can attend the meeting with you, and then instead of you? Who can start to take that role on 1 or 2 hours a day. Who can be your stand-in?
Start to realize that anytime you are sitting alone dealing with an issue, you are likely making a mistake and missing an opportunity to build the team.
Make “building the team” something you add to your responsibility list (you have room because you gave something else away). Think about training. Think about recruitment. Think about how you can develop the talent your staff have into something that can diminish your importance to the business.
Build a team. Become replaceable.