Having a business that is successfully running, even when the Business Owner is away on vacation, is the goal that we try to reach for every single client. It’s crucial in our ActionCOACH philosophy. A business is defined as “a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you.” If the business only makes money when the Business Owner is there and working on every project, then you don’t own a business, you own a really great job.
Seeing the honest truth about your business, and how it would function without you making every single decision, is tough for every Business Owner. It’s one of the first things that we work on with a new client: setting up streamlined systems, empowering key employees, and the mindset of the leader to step away when necessary.
Here are some considerations when handing the reins to an employee:
The key component of employee empowerment is trust. We say empowerment rather than delegation because empowered employees have been charged with making decisions that are right for the good of the company. Delegation implies that the Business Owner is just relieving themselves of a task that they are less than thrilled about doing. Choose successors and leaders that you truly trust. Ones that have shown a pattern of actions, not just words, that have supported your mission and vision. Allow leaders to prove to you that they can make the right decisions by allowing more and more empowerment, and the appropriate follow-up.
A person that has shown in the past that they are making choices or decisions that negatively affect the business, is not the person that you want to control part of your business. Even if they have a long tenure, or have been a close friend or confidant. Your instinct of trust is stronger than you think. Use it.
COMMUNICATE THE VISION
The mission and vision of your company should be something that your team lives and breathes. Every single person in your organization should be able to communicate this vision at any time. Test it out – when making the rounds through your business, ask an employee if they know it. If they can’t then you’ve got some work to do. Take ownership of the fact that they don’t know – sometimes it takes more than one communication to be sure they’re clear on the vision.
The reason communication of your company’s vision is so crucial to empowerment is that each employee needs to make their decisions through that lens. Do you remember the old phrase “WWJD”? Change it to What Would Pete Do (WWPD) or What Would Julie Do (WWJD). If your team is laser-focused on the vision and goals of the company, then the decisions that they make on your behalf are more likely to be the ones that you would have made yourself. Without that focus, then you’re leaving the empowerment to chance.
INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT
Empowering employees to take over running certain parts of your business doesn’t absolve you of all responsibility. You as the Business Owner now have the responsibility of oversight. Have you checked to make sure that the bank deposits are being made? Are you sure that your projects are being completed to a high quality? Are your customers being served the way that you would? Spot checking all of this, without announcing the inspection in advance, ensures that the ball is not dropped by the employees that you choose to empower.
One way that we advise to make this happen is a weekly check-in. Our team has a financial update on a weekly basis. This allows the Owner and the person or people who have responsibility for the financial health of the business to be on the same page. Allow the team to share their work with you – they should be proud of what they’ve done. Take some time to review the financial reporting. If you expect this to be accurate, then inspect that it is. This is not to say that you have to review every single transaction or every single Google review for customer service. But taking the time to feel the pulse of how your business is running will pay great dividends.
If you empower your trusted team, communicate the vision clearly, and inspect what you expect, you’ll be on the path to the freedom to increase your leisure & family time exponentially. You got into business so you could support your family and friends, so take the time to set up the systems that allow you to do that.
Has it been years since you’ve had a vacation? Is it hard to unplug and focus on your family and friends as a Business Owner? Do you need to set up systems and communicate the vision? We can help. Schedule your free, no-obligation business analysis today.