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Edition 272 – Mowing the Lawn

The funny thing about mowing the lawn is that you need to do it regularly. Every week in the summer. Fortnightly in the winter. Otherwise, it gets overgrown, quickly. The weeds take hold, leaves and bark from your garden end up on the grass and generally, it starts to look a bit of a mess.

Sometimes, it’s a lack of time to do it. Sometimes the weather isn’t conducive. Sometimes you can’t be bothered. However, if you neglect it, it gets away from you and it’s always a much larger task than if you’d kept on top of it, regularly.

The same applies with working with your team. You need to be constantly mentoring and developing them. You should be working with them on a regular basis to train them and help them evolve from where they currently are to where you both agree they need to be. Except, at the moment, there’s too many family businesses that aren’t investing the time and, as a result, the grass is very long, the weeds are pushing through and there’s general untidiness around the place.

So, what should you do and how should you do it?

  1. Give them structure in their role – you’d be surprised at how many employees have never been given a job description.
  2. Outline your expectations – not just what you want done, but the level to which you expect it to be completed.
  3. Give them the resources they need to do the job to the level of your expectations – otherwise, don’t complain if they fall short.
  4. Mentor them consistently – a small amount of time invested in feedback, counselling and direction goes a long way to keeping your team on the track that you’re taking them down.
  5. Train them regularly – some businesses do it monthly. One of my clients holds a four day conference twice per year. Whatever works for your business, lock it in.

The lawn looks the best and is the healthiest when it receives regular attention. The same goes for your team. It’s not just right for you and your family business. It’s right for the relationship that you’re building with your employees. You’re valuing their contribution to your business and most importantly, you’re demonstrating to them you see them as individuals, not just a resource.

There’s a remarkable inverse correlation between the level of complaints from business owners about
staff performance AND the level of mentoring and development they engage in with their staff.
When one is up, the other is down!