By Tyler Bray, owner, The Trailer Parts Outlet.
Internal growth is sadly often treated as an afterthought, or completely ignored altogether, by businesses small and large alike.
It’s common for businesses of all sizes to hit a groove that works, and simply run their playbook quarter after quarter. The reason this happens is because, in a sense, it works. You will run a profitable business. However, the landscape of every business sector is shifting constantly. You want to be ahead of the curve, not behind it. There are no situations in which the same methods always work every time.
Life is too unstable for stagnation to ever be a successful operating procedure.
How can you build internal growth into the culture of your company? What does it look like? Start by understanding that while numbers are crucial to a business, any organization is made up of people. From my perspective, if your people are growing and developing, your business is, too.
As the leader of your business, the type of influence your company culture promotes is up to you. I feel deep sympathy for people who are in working environments that drag them down, behave negatively or set bad examples.
I take conscious steps to make sure my workplace culture is different.
I do that by:
• Building a productive culture of employee feedback.
• Hosting team events that help my team members grow in their jobs, and as people.
• Finding time to do one-on-one check-ins with all members of my team.
• Sharing book suggestions.
Let’s discuss the finer points of each of those initiatives.
Employee feedback is one of the best ways you can constantly fine-tune your entire organization. If you create a culture where your employees know that they will never be punished for honesty, you’re sure to stay agile and adaptive.
Hosting team events can bring your team closer together. There are numerous easy ways to do so online and in person. As for choosing topics, remember that you’re not just limited to business-related material. It’s OK to post a list of your areas of expertise and ask your team which are most interesting to them for the first one. Have them suggest topics they would genuinely like to discuss and learn about, as well.
Remember, you don’t have to be the only host! You almost certainly have undiscovered talents and untapped potential hiding in your ranks. Give people a chance to host, and their sense of “owning” the outcome will get them excited to be a part of the team all over again.
Finding time to connect with each member of your team one on one is invaluable. Knowing a little bit about all of your employees will help you communicate with them, and communication is crucial for an effective leader. Find where their long-term goals match yours and use that alignment in such a way that you both soar.
If you’re worried you don’t have time for any of these initiatives, post book suggestions on a whiteboard. That would take a quick minute. If you have books you’re done with, set out a lending table for them. This is a fun conversation and growth starter that virtually anyone can do.
In all, internal growth is a way to re-awaken your team after a long holding pattern. It’s a way to climb onto the next plateau of success in your business — and in your life. It’s a way of deepening your team’s knowledge of each other and themselves and bringing out the best in everybody.