Your staff are your brand.

Everything I know about business I've learned through two avenues; customers and staff.

Most businesses are purely focused on the customer and neglect the value that is the staff member. If you are the type of business operator that can get your staff to buy in to what your ultimate goal is, well you will be far more likely to win the battle.

The same goes for sports. A good coach will nurture his team and have his team prepared to go the extra mile for the cause. Sure, we've all seen the coach or CEO who can give the famed "hairdryer treatment" to his troops and succeed, but ultimately those gains are short lived and will exhaust the motivation of the people it is aimed at.

The real, long term gain for your project or business will be the buy in, and it's not as easy to get as you'd hope.

Time to come clean. You won't find all the answers to it in this short little blog. But hopefully, this will get you thinking along the path to finding them for yourself, after all the buy in will be unique to your business, brand and your personalities- both yours and theirs.

So I'll speak on the matter from experience, and I've done it wrongly and I'd like to think in recent years I've done it a bit better than that when left to do it how I think it should be done. In recent years, whether it was as business manager of a high quality leisure complex, coach of a plucky team of underdog football players or as the person behind this upstart social media business, I've applied the following with great success. So here goes...

1. BE HONEST.

Nobody feels valued if kept in the dark. Why should they? Would you care? Experience has taught me that people perform better when they know what's at stake. Tell your team you need a target to grow the business. Let them know what is needed for your project or task to be successful. 

2. TELL THEM HOW THEY CAN HELP.

Your team will be more inclined to go that extra mile if they feel they can be the hero. Rather than just assign tasks, tell them how they can use their particular strengths to help achieve success. 

3. LET THEM OWN IT.

You know what kills performance? Micro-management. If you have to micro-manage, that's a failing on your part before the project even began. So have a little faith in yourself that you already made the right decisions and let the staff get on with doing what you have trusted them to do. If you've hired well and motivated well, they'll thrive when given the chance.

4. AFTERWARDS, BE HONEST(AGAIN) & GIVE CREDIT IF DUE.

By following the 3 steps, hopefully step 4 is a good one! If it is, sit the team down, either individually or collectively and assess performance. Don't use plurals, let them own the praise as well as the project! Use "you" and not "we" when giving praise about things they did well. Tell them the result of the success "because you were able to close that sale, we can now focus on growing in market x" or whatever is relevant to the outcome of the result.

5. BUILD.

You now have the staff optimised due to the way you trusted them to perform. Build on it. Give them a little more responsibility or call them in and ask for their opinions on next steps. If what they suggest isn't an option, explain to them your thinking as to why, but thank them for approaching it in the way they did.

Ultimately, a high performing and motivated staff will represent your brand more than any advertisement ever will. You have already hired them, now let them represent your brand and be amazed at how that will transform your business.

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I'm all about dialogue, so let me know your thoughts, good, bad or indifferent. Hit me up on the social channels @wesellwant or @darrinotoole and if you liked it, sharing is caring :-)