04
May

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with your family. I wish my Dad could have been with us for this special day, but we had to celebrate long-distance. But, I sure got treated well! My family got me a new bike! Yes, at 57 years old I still get excited to get a bike as a present!

But as is usually the case, it seems everything I do makes me think about business – and it happened again this weekend with my new bike. Let me explain.

As you can imagine, the very first thing I wanted to do when I got my new bike was to go out for a ride. I was more excited than I was prepared. But I got out my biking gear, made a few adjustments to the bike, filled my water bottle and waved to my family as I headed out – proud to be on my shiny, new ride!

It was about a mile into the ride when it became clear that I had not made all the necessary adjustments before getting on my bike. While I was trying to enjoy my new wheels, I was bothered by my seat position and how it made me both uncomfortable and inefficient.

My New Ride – Does the Seat Fit the Rider?

But, I was too far from the house to turn back. I was determined to make my first ride a good one – so I pressed on. About 10 miles into the ride, I finally came to the conclusion that this was not as much fun as it should be. I should have taken a little more time to make the proper adjustments, do a test ride, double check my settings, and be more confident that the seat fit was right. However, I was now 10 miles from home! As you can imagine, it was a long, hot, exhausting ride back to the house!

Now, before you wonder if I still like my new bike, let me assure you, after making the proper adjustments, I am not only am enjoying my new ride, but I now own a “rocketship”!

So what does this have to do with your business? I believe everything!

What I did when I got my new bike are the same things most business owners do when they hire a new team member. They are so excited to have someone join the team, that they make a few necessary adjustments (like get them on the payroll, show them where things are in the office, introduce them to their new team members, etc.) then immediately send them out on their assigned task.

The new team member is excited to be a part of the team and they are determined to make a difference. So they dive right in, find ways to contribute, look for some easy wins, and bring their own style and personality to their new position.

As time goes on, the new team member is trying to “adjust” to their new “ride”. But they keep finding new rules, their team mates are quietly telling them “how work gets done here” and “don’t rock the boat”. They aren’t certain of the proper procedures, lose confidence or conviction and aren’t very efficient. The business owner meanwhile is getting frustrated at their lack of performance. They don’t seem to “fit in”, are doing things “differently”, and just aren’t living up to their expectations.

This goes on for a while and finally one of them, either the business owner or the new team member, decide “I’ve had it” and begin looking for a new ride – or a replacement rider. And, many small business owners simply say to themselves “It is just easier to do it myself rather than try to hire and train someone to help me”.

Sound familiar? I see if time and time again! If this rings a bell with you, here are 3 things you can do to prevent this from happening:

1) Make your hiring decisions more based on behaviors than on skills. Skills can be taught, but attitude and behaviors are difficult to change. Be firm on never bringing someone onto your team unless they have demonstrated the behaviors and attitudes that you DEMAND in your business.

2) Take time to familiarize your new team member with how your business works. I would recommend at least 2 weeks of working in various parts of your business with a variety of other team members before they begin the position they have been hired for. You will find that that first 2 weeks of “orientation” and “familiarization” will pay off big time as they launch into their new role.

3) Establish a schedule of reviews immediately when they hire on. First make the review sessions weekly for the first several weeks, then every other week for a couple of months or so, then monthly for the remainder of the first 6 months. A new team member needs direct access to their mentor or decision maker so they can become familiar with and confident in how work is to get done and what priorities matter most. If you don’t take the time to do this, you can be sure they will reach out to their team mates for this advice and counsel.

Make sure the seat fits before you send a new team member out on their first long ride. I can assure you, they will thank you and you will be more pleased with their performance!

Make it a GREAT ride this week!