Every day at noon, a few of us at Ignite Spot hit the gym for lunch.
If you haven't met Dan yet, I'm sure you will eventually. Dan is our COO, and, yes, he's a stud.
He's my lifting partner. Every day this guy beats the heck out of me and I love it. I've never been a big guy so reaching new records on the weight floor has always been difficult. In fact, before we started this, I struggled to bench press more than 165 lbs.
Dan's been lifting with me for 3 months now, and guess what... I can bench 235 lbs. That's a big deal for a guy like me.
As we lift, we constantly push the limit and cheer each other on. Once we reach a new weight, Dan simply adds more plates to the barbell. Each time he does it, I secretly despise him. But you know what? My body adapts and after a week or two, I'm bench pressing a heavier weight.
Using this same concept, you can create profitable employees.
Human Beings Are Amazing
Here's the point I'm trying to make. People are amazing when you let them be. This level of brilliance doesn't happen on it's own though. In order for people to reach their potential, they need two things. Did you pick them up? They are:
1. Someone constantly adding more weight (expectations) 2. Someone cheering them on and coaching them
As a business owner, you need to have a team of profitable employees. I was talking with an entrepreneur this morning and he kept saying "None of our employees have that ownership mentality. They simply show up for work, do the minimum amount, and leave 10 minutes early."
I want to change the perspective.
This article is for all of the CEOs out there who can commiserate. If you currently have a staff that's not pulling its weight, we're going to fix that. Here's the bad news. It's not the employees fault. It's yours.
Epic Fail #1: You're Not Creating Monumental Expectations
To understand the power of expectations, watch this TED Talk by Aimee Mullins called The Opportunity of Adversity. Aimee was born without shinbones. The monumental expectation to overcome this has make her a world-famous runner.
My favorite quote from this video is definitely:
"Conflict is the genesis of creation."
You're not challenging your staff. You're giving them a job and letting them show up. You may be giving them lots to do, but that's not challenging them. In order to challenge them, you need to stretch them.
Business owners fear challenging their staff. Why? Because they're worried that the employee will drop the ball, destroy the company and have a nervous break down. Well guess what... Humans are amazing. When you give your people monumental expectations, they will rise to the occasion.
If you expect little, you'll get just that.
Up to this point, what expectations do you give your management staff? How about the frontline workers? If they aren't working on something bold and brilliant, you need to give them something to sink their teeth into. Let them change the world, and they will.
People like being a part of something bigger than themselves. Even when it's difficult, it feels great to go home at the end of the day knowing that your work means something.
Epic Fail #2: You're Not Cheering and Coaching
As the business owner, your job is to empower people. It's the only way the business will grow beyond your capabilities. If you want to build a profitable business that's going to change the world, you're going to need great people to help you make that happen.
Once you've given them monumental expectations, cheer for them as they rise to the top.
If you don't know how to cheer for people, don't feel bad. All you need to do is be amazed. Watch your staff take ownership. As they do, you'll be surprised at how good they really are. Once you see that, you'll find ways to cheer them on. Maybe it's a slap on the back. You might recognize their efforts at the next company meeting. Maybe you take them to lunch and tell them thank you.
However you do it, make sure that you reach out to them and let them know that they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Building Profitable Employees
Once someone on your staff realizes that they're working on something that matters, they'll have a psychological shift. With you cheering them on in the corner, they stop acting like employees and start acting like business owners.
A profitable employee supports enough revenue to pay for himself several times over. Any employee from the Janitor to the COO can achieve this level of awesomeness. But it's going to take your expectations and support to make it happen.
What to Do When Employees Under Preform
That's not to say that mistakes won't be made. They will. Deadlines will be missed. Customers will get offended. It's the way of life.
When this happens, don't ignore it or throw a temper tantrum. Bring the employee in and have a one-on-one conversation.
Let them know that they didn't meet the expectations you had for them. It's alright to tell people that. For some reason, managers today fear telling employees the truth.
I'm not saying that you need to be mean about it. What I'm saying is the employee wants to know where he or she stands. Tell them.
This is a good time to discover if the employee is a good fit for the team or not. If so, keep the expectations high. If not, help them move on.
One of your jobs as a business owner is to build a rockstar team. If someone's not a good fit, don't keep them on for years tying to make things work. Doing so will only hurt your company and the employee. Do you honestly think they're happy under-performing?
What to Do When Employees Exceed Expectations
There are also going to be times when your staff go above and beyond even the monumental expectations you set for them.
When this happens, you have a gem. Start investing in this person. Provide them with more training, tools and income. They'll become the leaders that will drive your business into opportunities that you never though possible.
You need profitable employees.
From now on, I want you to try and avoid pointing the finger at your staff. If you have people that aren't pulling their weight, start by asking yourself:
1. Am I challenging this person? 2. Am I cheering for this person?
Have funny with this. Your employees are about to surprise you with how amazing they really are. They're capable of far more that you might think.