Three things to keep in mind as you lead your team and grow your brand
It’s beautiful when your business takes off. You started as one person with a dream, and now you have an impressive brand and a team of people working together to keep that dream afloat. Your products and services are excellent, your marketing strategies are humming along, and your audience is steadily growing. All systems go.
But it can be tricky to evolve from a one-woman-show to a team leader. The most successful clients I’ve worked with keep three things in mind to make sure their group has direction, work flows smoothly, and the overall brand message is strong.
Number 1: clear values.
Because your values are the foundation of your business, what matters to you has to matter to your entire team. You might assume that everyone knows what you value, and in broad strokes, they probably do. Concepts like honesty, transparency, fairness. Strategies like attention to detail and responsiveness to customers. But those aren’t values, those are table stakes. Every business in the world could claim them.
Your values are in the specifics around commonly accepted business concepts. Yes, a “commitment to excellence” is fantastic, but what does that mean to YOU? Don’t assume your team knows, or that they will figure it out over time. It’s your job to create absolute clarity around what matters to you as a brand owner.
Take the time to think about and write down your Value Statements. Include specific, real-world examples. Explain not just what matters to you but why it does. And update your values every year, so that they evolve as you do.
Number 2: No shorthand.
You work fast. Of course you do, you have a business to run. But working fast is not the same thing as working efficiently, especially when it comes to the holy grail of leadership: Communication.
Remember that you set the tone for your brand. If you write messages in Slack, texts or emails that are full of half thoughts, sentence fragments, acronyms (total time wasters because inevitably someone on your team will not know what you mean and they’ll be embarrassed to ask) or typos because your fingers are flying across the keyboard – know that you are modeling those behaviors for your team. If you do it, they’ll do it, and pretty soon all this shoddy communication leads to confusion, mistakes and unnecessary stress.
Taking the time to create cogent messages, with the appropriate amount of detail and direction, is not only good leadership, it’s good practice for the person behind the brand’s mission and vision. Everything you communicate should align with your brand identity. Take the time to get it right.
Number 3: It’s not just about What’s Now, it’s about What’s Next.
As an entrepreneur you’re used to getting it done, and much of the time that means doing it yourself. One of the most common pitfalls I see when I coach brand leaders is a failure to delegate and a tendency to get caught up in the weeds of daily operations. “It’s faster if I do it myself” or “I have to check everything that goes out the door” or “I’ll get to it this weekend.”
You want to be hands on, and that’s great, but if your hands are on the wheel that means you’re driving the car, not paving the road ahead. Your job as a brand leader is to be a visionary, out ahead of the team, scanning the horizon for all the possibilities you haven’t seen yet…not navigating every twist and turn in the road.
This doesn’t mean that you ignore daily operations or turn a blind eye to individual performance. It means that you put the right people in place to handle a few core activities for you. People you trust will check in if something needs your attention, but who will also let you blaze ahead, dreaming up what’s next for the brand.
Because you’re a dreamer. That’s how you got here in the first place.
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