Written by Dave Cantin for Forbes.com
Successfully leading a company and building a strong team that will catapult your business to new heights is no easy task. Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you build and grow your team and business.
1. Don’t fear failure.
Elon Musk experienced setbacks before succeeding with SpaceX and Tesla. Henry Ford’s first two car companies were financial failures. It’s often said that it took Thomas Edison thousands of attempts before he produced the first commercially viable lightbulb. Aside from failing, I believe all these business leaders of their time had another common thread: They seemed to view their failures as milestones—lessons. You will fail. We all do. The key to success is to learn from those failures, not repeat them, and build upon them.
2. Build teams with complementary strengths and weaknesses.
You want teams with complementary strengths and weaknesses to make up your departments. If you have a director who excels at seeing the 30,000-foot big picture, make sure there are managers and associates below them who are detail-oriented. Those associates can make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and their managers can then ensure the project stays in line with the director’s vision.
3. Put passion in the driver’s seat—and not just yours.
The notion, “love what you do, and you won’t work a day in your life,” to a certain degree, holds true. Bring your passion for working, but know that it’s not only your passion you have to focus on. You are building a company, and that company has teams of people nurturing it, growing it and expanding it. Make sure you are also harnessing your employees’ passions and letting them lead with that. Passion drives people to perform at their best. Construct a workforce of people who love what they do. Their passion, when aligned with yours, can drive your company forward and help keep it ahead of your competition.
4. Get rid of silos.
What one department knows might, in fact, be the knowledge another department needs for its success. If you have gone through all the trouble of establishing a passionate workforce with team members who complement one another, don’t put them in a vacuum to work. Sales, for example, will fall short if it is unclear of the corporate goals set for the year; similarly, business development will suffer if it isn’t aware of customer requirements or issues.
So, how do you break down those silos? Hold regular cross-department meetings; communicate the company’s vision, goals and objectives to everyone (and often); and create an infrastructure where the exchange of information is seamless and easy.
5. Provide a seat at the table for everyone.
To break down those silos, ensure you also diversify your meetings. Include your directors of business development, marketing, sales and customer service at an executive planning meeting. Each will have insights that will benefit the other and the company as a whole. Every department has value, and that value can only grow if it is harnessed and participatory opportunities are made available on a regular basis.
6. Promote creative thinking.
Allow for maximum creative interaction and collaboration. In doing so, employees can come together, execute deliverables as a team and pull from one another’s ideas. This, in turn, can produce even stronger business plans, go-to-market strategies and business deliverables that are far more competitive and successful in the marketplace.
7. Instill trust and accountability.
You hired smart subject-matter experts. Instill trust so they will feel valued and know they can successfully execute their roles. For your business to succeed, those working around you have to feel their contributions matter and are acknowledged and expected. You put the right people in place. Now, let them do what you hired them to do and hold them accountable for their end product.
8. Embrace the new normal.
“Remote work has been an overwhelming success for both employees and employers,” according to a 2021 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey. More than 80% of employers said: “the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.”
If and where your business allows, consider creating a flexible remote work environment where your employees can strive to achieve a work-life balance. Since the pandemic, we have seen that productivity can remain high among those who work from home. From a business perspective, incorporating remote work opportunities can cut down on overhead expenses as well.
9. Reward your team.
Recognize and promote companywide achievements regularly. Compliment your employees, and award them for meeting major milestones. One of the greatest motivators is evoking a great sense of achievement for the workers and departments that are making your business a success. This can be monetary or even an extra paid day off.
10. Always keep moving forward.
What’s missing? What anticipated customer needs can be serviced today for what might be an issue tomorrow? These are the things leaders should keep in mind as they look to build and grow their businesses.
Your winning formula for today is exactly that—it’s for today. Never lose sight of what tomorrow might demand, and always keep moving forward with the right teams in place. This is what can enable you to capture more market share down the road and build the most successful business possible.