By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
As a startup founder or investor, it’s easy to muster passion for success. You have a business vision and goals, a significant investment of time and/or money, and expectations for a return on your investment. But how can your employees who receive the same paycheck every week or month have an opportunity to share your passion? Here are four ways to make that happen:
1. Create a Team
Show your employees how their daily contributions affect the overall success of your company. Just as the whole body is affected when one organ is sick or one limb is broken, show the people who process contracts, inventory office supplies, or answer the phone how they play an integral role in the overall success of your business. Demonstrate how their actions can promote the vision of the company and reward them accordingly.
Peter Drucker’s 1954 book, The Practice of management includes this timeless principle: “(The worker) should know how his work relates to the work of the whole. He should know what he contributes to the enterprise…if he lacks information, he will lack both incentive and means to improve his performance.”
2. Train Beyond the Basics
When you train someone to perform a job function, you impart knowledge, but when you train someone to understand how their specific job function forwards the vision of your company, you impart dignity. You are clearly communicating the importance of his or her contribution. You give them the eyes to see how they share in the success of achieving business goals every time they answer an email, execute a sales contract, or service a customer.
- Show your employees how your product or service is superior to others on the market
- Educate your employees on your target market and include profiles of your likely customers
- Communicate how your product or service fills a real need for the customer
- Explain how your business makes a positive impact on society. Do you manufacture responsibly? Does your success improve the economy? Or is social impact a result of your company’s contributions to charitable causes?
3. Give the Gift of Financial Intelligence
Educate your employees so that they understand how your company measures financial success.
- Show your employees how their functions and choices impact your revenue stream and profit. Employees will feel ownership and pride if they understand the potential of every phone call, contract, online visit, and customer service opportunity. If your employees grasp how their presence can help or hinder the bottom line, they will also be more likely to respect your workplace, right down to the value of office supplies.
- Explain your general pricing structure so that employees can put a value on your products and services and understand how they compare to the competition. Does your product deliver superior value?
4. Share the Wealth
Show specific financial goals and allow your employees to share in the benefits of reaching them. This could mean compensating your employees from profit, granting bonuses, giving other rewards such as dinner on the company, a weekend retreat, or more. Excite your employees about investing their best efforts in reaching goals and reaping some of the rewards.
A Personal Story
When I ran USI, I organized my business to give every employee the opportunity to align their personal goals with the goals of the company by creating profit centers. The people in each center felt a sense of ownership and had a vested interest in how they managed their profit center because they shared in the resulting profits. Account managers had profit and loss responsibility for the life of each account. This motivated them to retain, renew, and develop each account and make the best use of our service lines.
Who is Celebrating Your Success?
Who is sharing your passion and lauding your success? If it is just your co-founders or investors, consider sharing the success of your vision with your employees. When they get up in the morning and show up to work at your office or in a remote location, they should feel ownership in your company’s mission. It could make a huge difference not just in everyone’s day, but also in everyone’s success – including yours.
I invite you to comment here or email me with your thoughts. Are you feeling the tug to become an entrepreneur? You can download “The Pull to Become an Entrepreneur” now. The next person to share the passion might just be you!
Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book “The Purpose Is Profit” The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business, with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.
Copyright © 2015 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.