So I’ve made it clear how important follow through is for entrepreneurs. But what if your team doesn’t do what’s needed to make your projects go smoothly?
A team member who doesn’t take initiative of follow through on tasks undermines hard-won client relationships, slows down projects and takes the wind out of the sails of your organization.
I ran into this issue recently with one of my campaigns. The project was ramping up, and it looked like execution was going to be successful. We were moving forward with no problems.
Then suddenly everything stopped. Launch day came, and nothing happened. No rollout! I asked the team member in charge what had gone wrong, and they said they would find out. I trusted them to take care of that task, just like I’d trusted them with the initial launch. But when I checked in a bit later, I found there was no follow through on that either.
Obviously, I was upset. That’s not the kind of proactive person you need to succeed as an entrepreneur!
Delegating for Success
The really frustrating thing about this issue is that as entrepreneurs we need to rely on our team members to handle what we can’t. And, even though we hear the message from every business magazine, website and coach, ignoring delegation is common. Most of us still need to delegate more than we do. Because it’s tough when you can’t trust.
Our companies are our babies, and most of us want to control every aspect. We have a need to be certain everything is getting done the way we’d do it. But we can’t. It’s just not possible. So a support team that knows how to do its job—without supervision—is essential.
How to Get Your Team to Follow Through
The good news is there are concrete things you can do today to start building a stronger, more proactive team.
One, and I know that this sounds foolish, is to actually delegate responsibilities. A poor performing team member won’t start taking tasks more seriously just because you tell them they have to. But if you give them ownership over a project, there’s a good chance they’ll work for success. Because now it’s their project. Plus, trust increases loyalty and productivity overall.
The trick is you do have to actually trust your team. When you do, you’ll be surprised by the difference.
Here are some other steps you can take to make that step of delegating less of a leap of faith:
#1 Explain why the task is important
Similar to giving a team member ownership over the task, explaining why encourages them to get invested. Why? Because they understand the stakes and feel like they’re making a difference to the end goal.
#2 Set solid deadlines and establish priorities
Nebulous tasks and timelines almost certainly mean the job won’t get done. Your team needs to know when delivery is required. At the same time, those of us who are great at ideas and not execution have a tendency to classify everything as high-priority. But if every task is top-priority, then no task is. Understand what’s on your team’s plate and what they have time to accomplish. Then tell them what is due and when.
#3 Ask your team members what their concerns or challenges are and listen to their answers
As the head of a business, there’s no way you can know every issue your team is facing. Honest communication helps your team succeed. Especially use this tactic with team members who’re having trouble with a task or who’ve struggled in the past.
#4 Make the stakes clear but give second chances
You have to communicate when they’ve let you down. And you may have to mention potential consequences. At the same time, make it clear they can still succeed on your team if they turn things around and finish the job.
#5 Reward Go-Getters
Show team members there’s something in it for them if they take initiative and prove you can rely on them. A bigger role in your company as you grow or, if you’re able, an increased retainer or bonus.
As entrepreneurs, we’re only as strong as the teams that support us. Yes, sometimes someone simply doesn’t work out. But you’d be surprised by how much you can improve performance by following the tips I’ve laid out. The goal is to you free yourself up to truly innovate and transform your business. For that, you need a solid team.
Get your team off its duff!
image credit: Bigstock/JacobLund