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Increasing Productivity

4 Key Principles For Building A Team You Can Trust

Making the shift from managing your vision to executing it requires handing the operational reigns of your business over to your employees. Here’s how you make the leap.

Brian Eagar

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employee-delegation

As an entrepreneur and passionate business owner, I know that entrusting your business to your team feels like putting your heart in their hands. In fact, this is how it should be and it should never change.

You should not lose your passion for your business; you should inspire and empower your team to execute your purpose and vision with as much care and expertise as you would.

I would like to suggest the following four principles as keys to building a strong team you can trust:

1Inspire your team with your purpose and vision

Inspiring your team requires communicating a clear purpose with heart, and sustaining it by your powerful example. This purpose should be freed from your own ego, fluid enough to be embraced by your entire team and lived by you every day. Team members must understand and experience how their efforts contribute to the big picture or you will be bogged down by the operational details.

There is a familiar story about how Walt Disney inspired his team to execute his vision for the first fully animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: He spent three-and-a-half hours telling them the story and acting out each character with such passion that it inspired them to spend the next four years making his vision a reality.

Related: How to Master the ‘70% Rule’ of Delegation

The wisdom and success of Walt Disney’s example is apparent in this comment from the company CEO Bob Iger, who said, “95% of the decisions made at the company are made by other people.”

Are you communicating your vision effectively and inspiring your team to think for themselves? Or are you communicating instructions?

Communicating your vision has the potential to become self-sustaining; communicating instructions never will. If your team understands and embraces your vision completely, they will find a way to make it happen. Even if it is not your way, it will be your vision, which is all that matters.

2Empower them to make their own decisions

independent-business

Performing through others is not a new concept. Arthur Elliott Carlisle published an article in Organisational Dynamics in 1995 about a refinery manager he interviewed and named MacGregor for anonymity. He wrote: MacGregor’s overriding concern was with results: The results his subordinates achieved through methods they developed either by themselves or by working with their peers. He simply refused to do their work for them, even at the risk of incurring short-run costs. By refusing, he enabled them to grow in terms of their ability to make decisions even under conditions of uncertainty.

MacGregor’s plant was the most efficient in the corporation and many of his managers were promoted to manage their own plants. This can be credited to his relentless, active approach to empowering them to make their own decisions. However, in order to achieve results, you must provide your team members with the necessary means and ability. This will take time initially, but it’s well worth the investment.

Firstly, you have to take the time to engage with your team members individually and understand their aspirations, passions and abilities. You cannot effectively lead or empower someone you don’t know. You have to know whether they are appointed in the right position and what they need to achieve success.

Once you understand them, you need to invest more time in empowering them. This can be outsourced to an extent by enrolling them on leadership courses and skills training, but it has to be supported by your example and engagement, continuously inspiring them with the purpose and vision of the company.

Finally, you need to trust your team with the responsibility. You have to trust them to the extent that you are prepared to create a space for them to come up with their own solutions and learn from their mistakes. There can be no mixed messages regarding who is accountable for the outcome. If you don’t give them the platform, they can’t step up to the plate.

3Keep them accountable for the results

Relying on your team to make the decisions does not mean you hand over the reins. Like MacGregor, taking the time to empower your team (lead factor) means you are free to focus on the results (lag factor). I think most leaders are more afraid of holding their teams accountable than they are willing to admit.

They prefer to do or re-do something themselves, rather than addressing it with the person responsible for the outcome. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur because it leaves the business utterly dependent on you and your judgement.

Related: 7 Solutions to Effective Delegation

Keeping your team accountable will ensure you take the business forward as a collective. If things are going well, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the team doesn’t get comfortable and still make the most of opportunities. When things are not going so well, it is incumbent on you to drive the necessary conversations and actions to hold team members accountable and to address challenges that inhibit success.

Are you communicating your vision effectively and inspiring your team to think for themselves?  Or are you communicating  instructions?  Communicating your vision has  the potential  to become self-sustaining; communicating  instructions never will.

4Keep empowering yourself

Another vital element of focusing on the results is defining them. It’s critical to realise that determining the direction and growth of the company is your core responsibility. This is where you must focus the bulk of your time.

To do this effectively, you must commit to learning on a continuous basis and be the example for your team. It is critical that you empower yourself to fulfil your true role of being an effective leader and influential strategist. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the factors that could influence your business and acquire the knowledge and connections that will enable you to position your company favourably. When Charles Brindamour became CEO of Intact, he blocked three to four hours every morning to gain a better understanding of areas that could influence his company or the lives of his employees.

However, learning is about more than just acquiring the information. You have to be open to adapt your views, and even your vision, according to the knowledge you gain. In Vince Barabba’s book, The Decision Loom: A Design for Interactive Decision-Making in Organisations, he presents a case study that investigates Kodak’s failure to adapt to a changing landscape. Even though they had very accurate information regarding how digital photography would affect their industry, they failed to shift their focus and consider digital as a replacement for film. They did not take any action to adapt, which proved to be their downfall.

As I mentioned above, your purpose and vision has to be freed from your ego. You have to be humble enough to learn from anyone who might have insight into your business, including your team.

In conclusion, executing through others means putting your heart on the line in more ways than one: This means displaying the passion in your heart, putting your heart in the hands of those you empower, opening your heart to keep them accountable and reinventing your heart to stay relevant.

Always remember: If your heart is not in it, don’t expect your team to have their hearts in it. Take care of their hearts and they will take care of yours.

Brian Eagar is a founder and CEO of the TowerStone Leadership Centre. Fuelled by his passion for empowering and inspiring people, Eagar translated this into a coaching journey that empowers leaders to inspire values-driven behaviour in their people, with the ultimate objective of fostering a sustainable, performance culture. He has over 15 years of personal executive leadership experience, seven years of executive development and facilitation experience, combined with seven years of coaching experience.

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Increasing Productivity

Use Talent As Your Key Competitive Advantage In 2019

What separates top performing companies from their more mediocre counterparts?

Nadine Todd

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2019

Ever since Jim Collins wrote about getting the right people in the right seats on the bus in his best-seller Good to Great, there has been an ever-increasing focus on the role that talent plays in the success of an organisation.

But, If you thought that great companies are successful because they attract, hire and can afford more talented employees, you’d be dead wrong. While conducting research for their book, Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, Bain & Company experts Michael Mankins and Eric Garton evaluated the relative productivity of 308 companies worldwide, and found that on average, all roles, across organisations, are made up of 14% A-level talent. This statistic holds true for the best-performing companies as well as poor performers.

In fact, the top-performer in their focus group was 40% more productive than the rest, but did not have significantly more A-level talent. This means that they had achieved what their peers had by 10am on a Thursday — and then continued to produce for the next two days.

As you head into a new year, consider what you could have achieved with an additional 90 to 100 days over the course of the past year? Where would your company be now?

Unlocking your potential

If talent is not the deciding factor, then what is? According to Mankins and Garton, it’s how that talent is deployed. They found that most companies have one A-level talent per team, spreading talent evenly across the organisation.

The problem is that this doesn’t take critical roles into account. Organisations that take the time to map critical positions within the company that directly impact key business objectives tend to be more productive. Why? Because their A-players are in the right positions and not wasted on non-critical roles that could just as easily be filled by B-players.

As an entrepreneur or team leader, your role is to grow your business or department. Your people are key to achieving this, so consider the talent you have to work with:

  • Are your top players in mission-critical roles?
  • Can they directly impact revenue growth?
  • Are they filling roles that a B-player can just as easily do, and which won’t impact revenue if the same level of productivity or efficiency is not achieved?

Related: Competitor Analysis Example

Efficiency versus productivity

While you evaluate your workforce, consider how Mankins describes efficiency versus productivity.

Efficiency is when the same amount is produced with less. To become more efficient, businesses need to find wastage and eliminate it.

Productivity on the other hand is when we produce more with the same. This is achieved when you increase output per unit of input and remove any obstacles to productivity.

Lean organisations are very good at finding efficiencies. Growth organisations are highly productive. If you want to achieve both in 2019, start by ensuring your A-level talent are in the right positions. Then look at all the areas in your business that are costing you money and consider how you can strip those costs away without affecting your productivity. You do not want to hinder growth. You want to run a smarter, leaner business.

Finally, you don’t need to do it alone. Too many entrepreneurs work independently of their teams. You’ve hired great people — use them. What are their suggestions on improving productivity and efficiencies across the business? Ask the right questions and you may just discover talent you didn’t know you had.

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Increasing Productivity

Working Remotely? Why You Need A Car

The cars available at vehicle auctions in South Africa consist of both sedans and zippy hatchbacks which are perfect for town driving and will get you to your in-office meetings on time.

Amy Galbraith

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Remote work can be an amazing experience. You do not have to wake up at 5 am to beat the morning traffic and you can work from the comfort of your own home office (or bedroom). Working remotely can become lonely and you might have to visit the office for certain projects. This means that you will need to have a car.

If you are in search of an affordable but reliable car, vehicle auctions in Gauteng could provide the perfect car to meet your needs. Not sure why you need a car if you are working from home? Below are just some of the reasons why it is a necessity.

You might need to go into the office

While some remote work does not require you to be in the office, there are some instances that you might be required to go into the office. This can prove difficult if you do not have a car and have to rely on public transport.

Public transport can be unreliable, which means that you might not arrive on time for meetings or project conferences. Being on time for meetings and group chats is important, and being late can add to your stress levels. Having a car will help to make this journey easier. The cars available at vehicle auctions in South Africa consist of both sedans and zippy hatchbacks which are perfect for town driving and will get you to your in-office meetings on time.

Related: Is Remote Work Taking A Psychological Toll On Your External Workers? Researchers Say Yes

You will need to perform daily errands

Whether you work from home, from a coffee store or in an office, the truth of daily life is that there are always errands to run. And without a car, you might not be able to perform these errands easily.

Grocery shopping can become heavy to carry home if you walk, and an appointment in a suburb far from your own might have to be cancelled. While these might not be as important as your work, you will soon find it frustrating having to call for a lift from a service such as Uber whenever you need to leave home. Not only will this become costly, but you will find it ineffective if you are in a rush or need to be somewhere at a certain time.

You might get lonely

Remote work does allow you a lot more freedom, but you have to put in the same hours as an office job. And these hours can become lonely if you are cooped up inside all day, alone. Having a car will allow you to meet up with friends in the afternoon or weekends.

Auctions will provide you with a diverse array of cars to choose from, including 4×4 options for those who enjoy longer journeys and adventures. Becoming lonely can be distracting and cause you to run behind on your work. If you are looking at working remotely but know that you could fall victim to this feeling, be sure to socialise with friends and family whenever possible. Having your own car will make this possible.

There will be client meetings

Remote work will mostly mean that you work from home or from your favourite coffee store. But it can also involve meeting clients to discuss a brief, which can be tricky if you have to rely on public transport. Not only will being late cause you to stress, but it will be a bad representation of your company for the client.

If you are able to drive yourself to meetings in your own car, there is a higher chance of a successful meeting. An Uber driver might get lost and a bus might break down, but your own car is reliable and affordable. If you have to meet a client urgently about a project, having to rely on public transport can be disastrous.

It is vital to take the fact of client meetings into account when you decide to work remotely and ensure you are able to represent your company the best way possible.

Related: How Much Does Your Remote Team Actually Need to Know?

There will be company get-togethers

A company that consists mostly of remote workers is guaranteed to have regular get-togethers so that all the team members can meet each other and get to know one another. Sometimes, these get-togethers might be far away, and you will need an easy and effective mode of transport.

If you are in search of a car to get you from home to the next work gathering, the auction cars in Gauteng will certainly fit your needs. Not attending company get-togethers and events will reflect poorly on your ability to work in a team, regardless of if your team works together in an office or not. You will be able to learn more about your team and the company as a whole at these events.

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Increasing Productivity

5 Traits Of Highly-Effective Scrum Teams

Here are the top 5 traits of highly-effective scrum teams.

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Scrum teams can make quick work of complex projects. But accomplishing your company goals by utilising a sprint team is difficult because effective scrum teams are so exceedingly rare.

If you’re thinking of assembling a scrum team, you have to be sure that you’re working with talented individuals who can tolerate the stress hyper-ambitious project management frameworks invite.

Agile teams are ones open to change, to communication, and to improving processes as they define them. Scrum teams have all these same qualities but are unique from agile teams in a few key ways.

You must search for key attributes that define great scrum teams before you begin your company’s next project. Here are the top 5 traits of highly-effective scrum teams:

1. Adaptive

Scrum is one of the leading frameworks implementing agile. Agile is an iterative process whereby teams are self-organised and self-motivated, delivering working products in cycles and measuring the progress of their project through these deliverables.

Scrum team members do not hesitate to change requirements, expand or minimise scope, or add or remove a planned feature from an end product.

Changing roles, revisiting processes, or scrapping failed plans is not unheard of for scrum teams. In fact, even changes late in the development process are encouraged.

2. Ambitious

Scrum defines the length of the iterative processes. The time spent on each cycle is defined as a sprint. With each sprint, which is usually only two weeks long, a small fragment of the project is completed.

Upon the completion of the sprint, the scrum master (or project manager) leads a retrospective, using past evidence and performance evaluations to determine how they will go about completing the next sprint. The sprint structure demands ambition.

Successful scrum teams are passionate and ambitious. With each new sprint, they concentrate their goal of continually improving and expanding what their team can accomplish.

3. Open to criticism

One of the foundational principles of scrum is continual improvement. The sprints and the project retrospectives between them serve to help the team better identify problems. In order for this to work, every team member must be open to constructive criticism.

In addition, they must understand how to apply this constructive criticism to make processes better. The team, therefore, must communicate clearly and concisely.

The team as a whole must be on the same page about improving processes. The team must be cohesive, open to mentorship, and gentle but honest communication.

4. Experienced

An experienced team is much more likely to lead your company to success than an inexperienced one. It seems like an obvious bit of wisdom but it is nonetheless true. While you may be attracted to hiring a young team of passionate and promising project managers and developers, it’s a better idea to bet on an experienced bunch.

Scrum is an incredible project management framework. Still, there is no substitute for experience. No matter how strong a framework may be, it cannot buttress your project against unexpected challenges – only experienced project managers can do that.

5. Co-operative

Scrum team leaders have to underscore the importance of constant communication on a regular basis. Ideally, scrum team members are cooperative, communicative, and transparent. The best scrum teams can achieve a high level of cooperation with little to no contentious feelings.

Additionally, scrum teams are cooperative with the organisation as a whole. Often, scrum teams want to communicate and cooperate with other departments within a company. Instead of working in the dark, scrum teams prefer to engage business people, product owners, and marketers with their development process.

Conclusion

Scrum is one of the most popular project management methodologies based on the agile approach. Scrum is everything agile is but with a bit more of a backbone.

Scrum teams embrace fast-paced environments that use an iterative process to handle complexity. As such, successful scrum teams are adaptive, ambitious, and co-operative. They are open to constructive criticism and can leverage retrospectives to better the project.

No matter how hard your team tries, they are sure to encounter challenges. Experienced scrum teams can handle this pressure with cool, calm, and collected demeanour.

Expert scrum teams are rare, but it is possible to assemble one with the proper attention to the traits that comprise the most effective scrum teams.

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