How to Stay Connected to Your Team
The growth was awesome, but it also left Josie feeling more and more out of touch with her team. Josie is not alone. As a company grows, so do the demands on its owner. And if you’re not intentional about maintaining the culture, it will slip away. So how do you combat it? Here are three ways to keep connected to your team.
Letting go is never easy, especially when it comes to your baby. But to grow, you have to be able to duplicate yourself. That means developing and hiring leaders. They’ll be the ones spending time with your staff and carrying the flag of your culture, value system and operating principles.
The only problem? Hiring leaders from the outside can be difficult to do. “It can be hit or miss, or at least it has been for us,” Dave says. “That’s why the majority of our leaders are homegrown. They already know and believe in our value system, our culture—just everything.”
Management by Walking Around
One of the most effective ways to stay connected is also the easiest: Get out from behind that desk and visit those who work for you. Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, calls it Management by Walking Around.
A couple of times a week, Dave walks through his building to feel the vibe. During that stroll, he interacts with numerous team members, whether it’s catching them doing something right, asking about a family member, or simply nodding and smiling. Total time invested: around 30 minutes per walk.
The Weekly Staff Meeting
Although you may not be able to meet with each team member face to face, you can carve an hour out of your schedule each week to lead a company-wide meeting. It’s the perfect time to share your story, go over core values, brag on team members, introduce new staff members, and let everyone know what’s going on. You’ll see a rise in productivity and trust as you connect with your team.
But what about businesses with team members who don’t work in the same location? EntreLeader Kirk Bowman, owner of MightyData in Dallas, has most of his staff working from home. How does he keep connected? “We have a ‘team huddle’ by conference call once a week,” Kirk says. “And everyone gets together once a quarter to celebrate and perform strategic planning.”
For Josie, one of the major ways she combated losing touch with her team was by hiring an HR director to help carry the cultural torch. But that was just a start. She also makes it a point to drop in on field staff supervisors and nurses a few times a week to visit and observe, and she strives to find even more ways to keep connected. “As my leadership team continues to grow and mature, I have hope that they’ll help even more,” she adds. “It’s something we can never stop trying to figure out.”
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