Because trust is at the core of any successful business relationship here are three ways I have found are ideal for both building initial trust and rebuilding trust if you’ve lost it.
Stay authentic and be ethical in all of your dealings. Whether you’re in a networking meeting or on the telephone with someone or have been asked your opinion on a different colleague, stay professional and positive in all of your dealings.
Deliver on your customer promises. You’ve probably heard of under-promise/over-deliver. Don’t promise more than you can deliver, but deliver more than you promise. Surprise and delight your clients. If you tell a client you will get back to him in 24 hours, do just that. If you’ve told a client he or she will have an answer to an email with in 48 hours, respond on or before that time frame. Keep your clients in the loop of what is happening, especially if you are onboarding a new client or are making major changes in the work flow with another.
Don’t share the “secrets” of others. Whatever a client tells you, consider that it was told to you in confidence. A client shouldn’t have to say, “Now don’t tell anyone.” It should be a given that the information shared with you, stays with you.
Maintaining a level of trust from the beginning of a relationship — from that very first handshake, email or phone call sets the tone for the rest of your relationship. It is difficult, if not impossible, to regain trust once it’s been broken — it can be done — but it’s best to not have to rebuild.
I work with coaching clients who get led astray by the BSO (Big Shiny Object). Leaders: Keep your focus — it’s one of the many mantras I share with coaching clients. If you, as a leader, are being led astray and if your projects are not coming to fruition how can you motivate your staff to higher levels of productivity if you aren’t staying enough to task that you’re completing projects? It’s difficult.
In business today, it’s easy to get distracted by the “latest and greatest.” There is nothing wrong with trying something new, incorporating a new procedure or practice, but if you’re doing this continually and not testing the results, your efforts will be scattered and your success minimized.
Know where you’re going. If you don’t have a clear path toward your goal you will be distracted by the BSOs. As a leader you need to articulate to your team — and put in writing in a business plan — what you consider success and the steps you will take to achieve it. Let your team know WHY you want to achieve a specific goal and HOW you see the company getting there. Ask for their buy in and feedback.
Be clear on priorities and metrics for success. As entrepreneurs it’s easy to want to “do it all” but in truth not everything can be a priority. Not everything is a fire that you need to be personally involved in putting out. Know your top three priorities — with their deadlines — and work toward them.
At the end of the work day, work week, month and year how will you measure your success? What goals will you need to meet to be a success? How will you focus on what’s important? Just as you can be distracted by incoming emails or Facebook notifications so too can you be distracted by non-priority items and items that are not clearly tied to your success metrics.
As the business leader, your team looks to you for focus and guidance. Provide that, stay on track and watch out for the BSOs. What are the BSOs in your industry? How do you avoid them? If you embrace them, how have they aided in your business success?
Are there certain insider secrets of successful entrepreneurs? Do they know something that you don’t know? Probably not. The biggest “secret” is that they have rituals and surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Here, though are some of the secrets I’ve gained during my years as a business coach and entrepreneur:
Successful entrepreneurs know what motivates them to action. Whether it’s money, fame, or personal satisfaction they know what moves them and work toward achieving it.
They follow their passion. If you’re an entrepreneur and aren’t passionate about what you do, why are you doing it?
Minimize expenses and maximize profits. Simple math.
They have built a tribe of like-minded entrepreneurs. They are building online communities. They network with others outside of their niche industry.
They know they need to be promoting their goods and services. Even if they have a sales force, they — as the business owner — needs to be sharing that info and they need to be the company’s biggest brand ambassador.
They have rituals and habits in place that help them work smarter, not harder. They are masters of their time and their tasks.
They build flexibility into their day and into their business processes. Successful entrepreneurs know how to bend when things aren’t going quite as planned and stand tall when they are. Resiliency is key.
They have a support team in place that can accommodate business growth.
Beyond money, beyond “being their own boss” successful entrepreneurs take great satisfaction in what they do. Each and every day.
Of the items listed above, which of those secrets do you need to work on mastering? Which of the secrets do you already have in your arsenal? What secret could you offer to an entrepreneur who is just starting out? What did you learn while you were in the trenches — what do you do now that you wish you did when you started? I’d love to hear!
Are You A Micromanager? If this is a question you have ever asked yourself, chances are you are micromanaging your staff and/or vendors. When you micromanage you negate the skills and experience your staff bring to the table and you reduce the productivity of everyone involved.
You delegate tasks BUT you tell the person who’s been assigned the task the best way to do it — which is usually your way.
You believe that the way you approach a task is the best — and possibly — only way to do it.
You worry your staff won’t meet deadlines if you aren’t fully involved.
You frequently criticize their efforts.
You continually provide unsolicited advice and offer limited praise.
Are you a micromanager?
Do you see yourself and your leadership style in any, or all, of these items? If so, you need to look at why you feel the need to micromanage. Are you unsure of your role? Have you made “bad” hires and now you’re worried they won’t perform the tasks for which they were hired? If so, you need to look at your hiring practices.
If you’re simply “wired” to be a micromanager you need to train yourself to let it go and let your staff perform their duties. If you’re continually micromanaging and doing their work for them, why are you paying them? If you feel they are performing up to par, but maybe missing a few key pieces of the entire picture, share that missing piece with them and let them loose.
Recognize that micromanaging leads to a stressful work situation for you and your staff. The stress could even bleed over into customer interactions. Talk with the team, tell them what worries you about their performance, let them share with you where they feel they need your assistance, then let them go and do the work for which they were hired.