Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Doing What It Takes to Build a Great Team! Part 1 of 4

Doing it What it Takes to Build A Great Team

Part 1 of 4: Who Are You, What Help Do You Need AND What is Your Business?


I am a successful businessperson that continues to learn from my past wins and losses. In recent years I have been the primary business owner and main operational person for choice Magazine.

Through my coaching sessions with my awesome coach, Jeb Bates, I have learned that I am only as good as my most recent success…
…unless I have systems and a team to replicate that success.

Fast forward to this year and the realization that I need to work ON my business and not as much IN my business.

If this is where you find yourself (or think you should be) then this series is for you!

Where Are YOU in Your Business?

Or perhaps the better question is “What business are you in?”

This is a valid question if you are spending more time doing day-to-day operational work rather than the delivery of your products and/or services or marketing for clients.

Examples of day-to-day or operational work are bookkeeping, answering customers’ emails, or anything you do each day/week like clockwork. Things that you can do pretty much with one hand tied behind your back.

So if you are NOT a bookkeeper or customer service person why not hand these off to someone who loves to do this kind of work and does it for a living?

Some of the reasons we do not let go, (or maybe this is just me) is because we think we are the only ones that can do it, it is too expensive or you can’t find the right person to do the work. Perhaps there’s an element of trust or commitment that is showing up.

Or perhaps you tried once and it did not work out!

These are quite common concerns and experiences that this series will tackle.

Identifying a System

The first step in building a great team is to look for the system in your operational work. What are you doing that is systematic and routine?

If it is truly routine, then the next time you do this work, start a process document. Day-by-day and maybe week-by-week (like me) it will evolve into something that you can pass to someone else to do for you.

Note: Your aim is progress NOT perfection!

For me, the first area was Customer Service. I was doing the same kind of things and typing the same responses over and over again. So I created a process document. I showed the steps starting with access and where to go inside my systems. Systems like email, shopping cart, customer service contact database, etc. Then I added the email reply copy that I used most often and VOILA!! I had the beginnings of a procedure.

A few words of wisdom before you proceed:

  • start with a procedure of something easy that you do often,
  • then use that document and pretend you are the person doing your work for you,
  • watch your reaction to creating the process document. Do you hear yourself saying “Can I trust someone with this access” or “Can they do it as well as I can?” Take note of any of these observations and discuss them with your coach.

The 2 biggest concerns I had were trust and commitment. Could I trust someone else touching my systems? Was I really committed to giving this up?

Turns out I am more committed to working ON my business than working IN the business.

Take some time now to think of ONE, just ONE thing you need to let go of. Bring it to your next coaching session. If you do NOT have a business coach, feel free to take advantage of a FREE session with me to talk about this and get my support >> Click here to contact me <<

Finally, please remember, you always have the power of choice! 🙂

Part 2 of 4: Preparing to find and ask for help and then finding it!

In part 1 of this series we talked about who are you, what help do you need, and what is your business? Were you able, or perhaps the word is “willing” to take a moment to think about something simple IN your business that you do that someone else SHOULD do so you can work ON your business?

Who are YOU?

Before I was ready to give away my precious work, the work that kept me safely working IN the business, I had to think about who I was. That part was easy to figure out because as a coach, I have ready access to great instruments to support and guide me to personal insights. The number one access is via my awesome coach, Jeb Bates, who as a dedicated listener, reminded me of what I have said that is in service for me when I needed reminding. Another of my favourite tools that I rely on is the WHY process. Both are great connections to my most important value: TRUST!

Knowing my WHY affects everything !!– WHY I think the way I do, WHY I talk the way I talk, WHY I act the way I act (both in business and in life) and much, much more.

Take a moment now to review your values and what is important to you.

Planning to find and hire your team

Armed with knowing my WHY of TRUST, finding, meeting and hiring the team that has come to support me was much easier. Hence why I asked you previously to think about who you are and what is your business.

The first thing I did was to think about my necessary trust elements such as;

  • Did they have more than one person working for their company? (so that I had the back up I might need during sickness, vacation or emergencies)
  • Did they have someone on their team who had a WHY that matched my company and the work they would be doing?

Now that you have an idea of what work you want to be done, what are your values? If you tried before, what didn’t work last time that you would now do differently?

While you are thinking about the team, continue to develop the procedure for the work you will be giving away. Is it 50% done? 75%? Pretend you have never done this work before and use the procedure. What else is needed?

Remember our saying: progress not perfection.

Looking for, choosing, and then hiring the right team

Over the years I watched for and gathered Intel (yes I have been watching too many military-themed shows lately…LOVE NCIS!) on VA (Virtual Assistant) companies. Whenever I met a VA company while networking or at a conference I asked them my trust questions from above.

When I first met them, I was not quite ready to let go AND I had not completed my procedure documents. Not being quite ready with my systems was a good thing as it allowed me to say, “Hey let me think about it”.

After numerous interviews over many years, (yes sadly I really procrastinated), I was ready to interview, did the interviews, and chose Kristi Pavlik and her team at Adonaii Business Solutions

Your next steps

So are you ready?
Got your values, questions and/or concerns?
Know what work you are going to let go of?

There’s still time to think about what you want someone else to do. Take some time between now to think about what are your values. Perhaps take the WHY assessment.

What is your commitment level? Are you more committed to being the face and delivery person of your business, or like me, continue to hide in the day-to-day minutia?

Part 3 of 4: Hiring, Sharing Access, Setting Agreements

In the previous editions of this series, we asked you to choose what work you will let someone else handle.

You gave thought to what is important to you and what kind of company and people you want to work with. You started a procedure on the work. Great job!

You are committed…and ready…right!?

Now if you’re like me, the Board of Directors team of Gremlins has been at play during this process. Aka the nay-sayers, doubters, and day-to-day work, family, etc. all who try to slow you down or outright stop you. Not to worry. You are truly committed to letting go, so this will all work out.

Note: Remember you are always in charge.

You are getting help not running away from work.

Time to Hire

Hiring a team need not be the troublesome event you might have thought. Mainly because:

  • you are committed to working ON your business
  • you want to have someone else do the IN the business work
  • you know the values and those of your company
  • you know the main questions that support your values

If it helps, create a checklist of the questions you have and then during the interviews fill it out. Once you are done speaking with at least 3 companies you can stop and review the results and make the decision.

When I hired the company that now does my work, Kristi Pavlik and her team at Adonai Business Solutions, I had known them for years and seen the work that they had done for other organizations and business people.

While you are going through the process of interviewing and hiring, watch your intuition as well. I’ve heard there are more neurons in the tummy than in the brain and they are great informers.

Sharing Access

Time for some practical stuff. Time to grant access to your systems so your new team member(s) can be the solution you were looking for.

These days there are so many Internet-based systems that make our lives easier. Google docs or Google Drive, and cloud-based systems like Infusionsoft and ONTRAport.

The person I hired manages my client care emails and calls. Access was needed to an activity log (we set goals and track progress), ONTRAport and Google docs for Word and Excel.

With these system accesses you can maintain ownership and allow your support person access in real/same time while still being able to access yourself for other work or review purposes.

Setting Agreements

The final learning for today is agreements.

Much like a coaching agreement, this document and a conversation are the basis of the work. It includes questions like;

  • What is the scope of work?
  • How do we communicate and how often?
  • What will the measurement of success be?

If you feel you are ready, set up some time for the agreement conversation and then set up the first training session.

Of course, you can always bring your progress and challenges to your next coaching session. If you do NOT have a business coach, feel free to take advantage of a FREE session with me to talk about this and get my support:

Watch for your next edition when we talk about training, review, and Kaizen!

And remember, you always have the power of choice!

Part 4 of 4: Letting Go AND Still
Watching Over Your Business

What I loved about doing this series is that I was able to write from personal experience. It’s been a great ride and when you read to the end, you’ll see some of the added opportunities I was not expecting and that are available to you too.

The previous steps were delivered over a 6-week period, which gave you a lot of time to plan, prepare and process the idea of letting go!

So far you have:

  • Determined who YOU are in your business,
  • Identified something routine to give to someone else to do,
  • Looked for and hired the right team for you,
  • Set agreements.

In this final part of the series, we close the gap between your giving away at least one day-to-day activity to doing more work ON your business.

What we will cover:

  • Training your new team,
  • Setting follow-up meetings, and reviewing the work,
  • And some Kaizen!

So let’s head to the finish line!

Training your new team/person

This is a milestone event. Because you know how to do the work, and have written a pretty comprehensive procedure for someone to follow, it will be easy to show your newly hired how to do the work.

With easy, and usually free, technology like Zoom, Join.Me or even skype, you can meet with your team (or person) and do a screen share to go through the process using the procedure.

I like to train this way:

Step/session 1: I do the work using the procedure and the learner watches. Then is the second and subsequent sessions they follow the procedure and I watch them. From then on, they do the work, I watch (this can be hard to do, but just put on your active-listening coaching-hat and you’re good for this part). It may take several sessions for them to get it (hopefully not as that would be a red flag) and for you to feel you can fully let go.

The goal here is that at the end of the training sessions THEY own the process and the procedure. I have all documentation loaded into Google Docs or Google Drive so that each of us can access and update in real-time (And I can check in once in a while. After all it’s still my business)

Setting follow-up meetings

Once the training sessions are over and feel free to do as many as makes you feel comfortable, it is time to set regular follow-up meetings.

These meetings are to “sit down” with your new hire to see how they are doing and to see what challenges they have.

I like to do them once a week for the first month and will have all of the appropriate screens open beforehand to take a quick look-see for any trouble areas. In all honesty, it takes me a while to fully trust that everything is working the way I want. But I am a big TRUST value person so that makes sense for me. But once I trust fully, then there is no looking back.


Better known as continuous improvement means making the system better.

In this case, it’s about making the process and procedure easier for your person to work with and to see what they have learned and can offer to make everything easier.

There was a period of Kaizen for me even BEFORE I was ready to give away my work and while I was doing my procedures. There were many extra things I was doing that I realized were busy-ness and not necessarily work…go figure!

So there you have it. In 4 parts and 6 weeks, you too can, and might already, have given away a piece of the day-to-day work allowing you to work ON the business and/or doing more of the work you love!

One last word of warning! This is that part I warned you about earlier. If you did this well you may experience the desire to let go of even more work. Yikes! This is exactly what happened to me and now I am way ahead of working ON my business planning and delivery. I even have more personal time to work on my dreams.

Dreams and team builidng

I truly hope this series was as valuable to you as it was for me to share.

If you would like to speak with me about your journey, and do NOT have a business coach, feel free to >>> click here to take advantage of a FREE session with me to talk about this and get my support <<<

Finally please remember, you always have the power of choice!

About the Author:

Garry Schleifer team builder!Garry is a seasoned businessman bringing over 26 years of experience to his coaching. His “walk the talk” credentials draw from experience as the visionary behind several multimillion-dollar corporations.

Applying an approach of “Ruthless Compassion” when helping his business owner clients. 
Challenging clients with rigorous goals, innate sensitivity, good humor, and non-judgment.

He earned his coach credentials at Coaches Training Institute, Certified Mentor Coach (CMC) certificate from inviteCHANGE, and PCC from International Coach Federation (ICF).

The owner and publisher of choice, the magazine of professional coaching, ( Past President of Toronto ICF Chapter, Vice President ICF Global Board, several, community-based boards and currently serves on the Fundraising Committee of The Coach Initiative.

He lives with his husband Patrick in Toronto, Canada
(800) 553-3241 x 801
>> Click to hire Garry <<<

The Expert Series is brought to you by choice Magazine as part of our ongoing efforts to bring opportunities for learning and growth to the coaching community. Delivered in four parts every two weeks, each series covers useful topics for business development and coaching insights, serving the needs of leaders in all areas and walks of life. Archived copies of the previous series can be found here.