Fishing for Success?

Teach your team, then trust them

Did you know that the biggest participation “sport” in the UK is fishing?

Seriously!  I couldn’t believe it either!

I tried fishing once, and nearly put my sister’s eye out with a hook but that’s another story.

Finding and keeping new customers can be a bit like fishing. Deciding what bait to tempt them with, getting them to bite and then gently reeling them in. Pull too hard and they’ll escape, keep your line too slack and they’ll escape, choose the wrong bait and they won’t even bite.

It’s a ‘reel’ skill (sorry) and can cost you and your business a lot of time and money while you learn it.

If you’re doing a lot of fishing, and have also reeled in a number of fish, big and small, it’s also important to think about who’s holding the rods?

Is it you?

Are you holding all the rods in your business – holding onto and controlling responsibility for every aspect of your operation – or are you trusting your team to look after them for you?

Answer yes or no to the following statements if you’re not sure:

  • Once I have made a sale I trust my team to look after my new customer while I go out to make more sales
  • I recruit people whose skills are different to, maybe even better than mine and/or I outsource to experts
  • My operating processes and training system allow every team member to have total ownership of their work
  • I trust and encourage my team members to build client/customer relationships
  • My role has evolved as my business has grown, and I’m no longer still the chief cook and bottle-washer

If your answers are predominantly “no”, take a second to stop and think what that might mean for your team, for your customers, and for your business growth.

If you micro-manage and the team can’t take responsibility will they grow or suffocate?

If you check everything they do, will they take any responsibility for getting it right?

If you’re holding a hundred fishing lines how special does that hundredth customer feel?

And if you’re hanging onto all those lines, who’s casting fresh ones? 

The worst case scenario – you lose existing customers, don’t gain new ones and potentially have high turnover or a seriously unhappy team.

Trust is at the heart of every successful business.

If you started out on your own and you did everything, it can be hard to let go of ‘your baby’ but once you expand and start building a team, you have to let go.

Of course you’ll always have ultimate ownership of every aspect of your business, but each team member will also have ownership of their part and feel they are making a valued contribution to every success.  

You’ve heard the saying, ‘Teach a man to fish’? 

Well your job now is to teach, to build simple systems and show your team how to use them, to allow them to grow, and in doing that to allow your business to grow.

To teach, and then to trust.

‘We win or lose as a team’.

The good news is that trust is a fairly easy issue to address once you have the will to address it.

Do one thing: Answer the questions above honestly and then decide:

What am I going to delegate?

By when?

How?

Who to?

Where?

With the plan–review-improve cycle in mind, decide how you’ll measure success and how often you’ll review.

Then, when you’ve done that, decide what you’ll do with your freed-up time! Fish for more clients… or just go fishing?

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