Just yesterday, I was on a call with one of my competitors and it’s a younger version of myself is what I would say. It’s a younger man and he’s a hustler. He’s doing a great job and he’s running a marketing agency. He’s actually running a marketing agency that’s targeting the niche that one of my businesses is going after. Now, this is a competitor, but at the same time, I’ve always believed in synergies and building synergies with competitor’s and with other people. When we were talking with him, he stopped me, and he said at the end of the conversation, he said, “Doug, let me ask you one more question if you don’t mind. I’m building my team. I’m building my team all over the world, and you’ve done this successfully. What is one piece of advice? What’s the best piece of advice you could give me?”
I thought that was interesting. I thought for a second and, of course, initially, I was like one piece of advice. I have been doing this for 15 years. I don’t have one thing that you should do and I actually told him that. But if I were to pick my biggest learning lesson, my biggest learning lesson in building a team and not only remotely, but a team in person would be one thing. That would be communication.
What I mean by communication is as business owners, especially entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to set a vision, put our heads down and just get to work. We get to work day in, day out, we can grind it out like no other. Then we pick our heads up, we look around and we’re suddenly confused that maybe somebody on the team has a question or they’re not as clear on the vision. See, that’s the constant communication. As business owners, we see the vision so clearly. We see it in our heads and maybe we communicate it clearly, but we forget to keep communicating it to our team over and over again because it’s not their vision.
Now they may have a shared vision or something similar, but the vision in our head isn’t theirs. As a business owner, what I was suggesting to him is, “Hey, look. Yes. Build your team. Build the systems. Build everything you need in business. Business fundamentals apply whether you’re running a virtual business or a brick and mortar.” One thing that’s a little bit different virtually is it can be a little bit more difficult to communicate on a regular basis.
Now especially if you’re working with a virtual team across multiple cultures, because now you have cultural differences, language differences, and religious differences, right? Then, of course, time zones. How do you do that? My solution is over communication. What I told him specifically, because I said, “Treat each person on your team like a person.” All too often when I work with business owners or somebody that’s running a virtual team, now they may have one virtual team member and that virtual team member could be just down the street or it could also be someone from another country. They treat them like a commodity. They treat that person like a dollar sign and they really don’t think about what’s going on in their lives. They don’t know anything about their families, the relationships, or what’s going on in their hometowns.
I sent alerts for all our virtual staff where they live and so I’m reading the news. I get an alert if there’s some kind of catastrophe or something happens in the news so I can reach out to them. I also try my best to communicate to my team what the vision is and running multiple businesses, a lot of times, things are pivoting on a regular basis. I might see another opportunity or something else might open up, whatever it maybe. My job is to communicate them. Now I don’t communicate everything to them because I don’t need to dump five businesses worth of information on them every single week, but I do need to communicate to them the general vision and where they play into that future. Not only will they play into that future, but how does it relate to them as individuals and allowing them to be the author of their own story.
I hope everybody on my team stays with me for the rest of their lives and we have a great working family. I also realize that may not be their dream and so I’m here to help them be the author of their own story. Now sometimes it’s hard because when you go that deep into a business relationship, it gets really personal and you start to miss people. If somebody leaves, it hurts your feelings. It’s like a bad breakup. But at the same time, if you’re communicating with them on a regular basis and you know that individual’s goal, maybe their two-year plan is to transition and start their own business.
Now if you heard me before, you know I don’t think most people should run their own business. It is just something that it’s been sold to us over and over again, but for the average person, it’s really just going after their dreams inside of a business, being an intrapreneur and that’s really what I try to promote. But even if someone was trying to be an entrepreneur and start their own company, I’d want to help them get there. Of course, they have to do their work and is a part of the communication. But what I was telling this gentleman was … I was like, “Look, you need to set the standards, set your systems, but also communicate on a regular basis.” Yes, put your head down, get your work done. You’ve got to. At the end of the day, you’re an entrepreneur. You’ve got to get stuff done.
Now this applies if you’re a student too, right? If you’re a student, you need to get your work done as well. I know I have a lot of students that listen to this, but as an entrepreneur and a business owner, really what you want to do is look up, communicate with your staff on at least a weekly basis, if not a daily. Now obviously standup meetings are kind of the norm for virtual businesses of scale, where you have a quick meeting where you meet via video and just talk real briefly. It’s a yes-no type situation, where are you, are you stuck, move on.
I’d like to take it a step further. I have my staff file, what I call, a 5-15 document. In that document, it’s supposed to take 15 minutes to write, five minutes to read. In that document, I ask them what’s going on, what’s the biggest struggle, what are they doing to better themselves. I read every single one of them. Often times it brings smiles to my face and sometimes some tears. I had one the other day. It was a tear of joy because the daily growth hacks that we record here, our staff was listening to, and our staff was applying them to their lives not only to just do what they were doing within their business, but also what they were doing outside with their families and things that they were nurturing, and sharing with me their visions through the Author of Your Own Story Brand.
Now these are people that have worked with other companies of mine, so they weren’t even involved in the Author of Your Own Story brand, but really they shared in the same vision that I have of providing information and making the world a better place by allowing others to live the author of their own story. In short, if you’re running a business right now, most of us, most of the listeners here are business owners or someone who wants to become a business owner. If you’re running a business now, where are you not communicating, where are the gaps of communication? Does everybody in your company understand your vision? Equally as importantly, do you know their vision? Do you know what they want out of the job? Yeah, they want money. Got it. Yeah, they want time off. Got it. [inaudible 00:07:01] whatever. What do they really, really want and what’s going on in their lives?
You and I know just as much as anybody else. If our relationships are going bad, our work goes bad. If our health goes bad, eventually our work goes bad. But if our work goes bad, all those others, you know, it’s the five to thrive. We chose the five to thrive for a very, very good reason. It is it’s extremely holistic. One of those five could fall out of place, the other ones topple down too. Knowing and communicating with your team on a regular basis really helps you not only better them, but also your own business. Do it from a selfish reason if you want to. For me, it’s selfish only because my goal and my passion is helping other people, and teaching them to be the author of their own story. That’s what drives me. That’s what gets me up early in the morning. That’s what … Really, the passion that enlightens me is teaching and sharing what I’ve learned with other people.
Anyway, that’s a rant, but I hope you get something from it. George, if you’re watching this, again, man, you’re doing a great job and I look forward to creating some synergy with you, but pick your head up, look around and make sure you’re communicating with your team on a regular basis and treat them like people. Love them deeply, cherish them. These are people just like anybody else and they deserve your respect as well as your time. That’s it for me today. As always, go over to AuthorOfYourOwnStory.com. If you haven’t gotten our newsletter, there’s tons of great advice, tips, and tricks that are coming out on a daily basis. I love hearing the responses from each and every one of you that write back. It absolutely fills me up, so I appreciate it.
Remember, build your tribe, build your tribe, your community. Share this with, at least, three other people today. Just share it with them and start the conversation. Start having conversations at a higher level, so you can not only better yourself, but better those around you. That’s it for me today. Go out and be the author of your own story.
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