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The Encore Entrepreneur

FEMALE ONLINE BUSINESS OWNERS OVER 40

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You might wonder how to use values for team-building and enhanced business operations. We've got you covered! We actively use our values in all aspects of our business because doing so sets us, our team, and our business up for success for the long haul.

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Episode Transcript:

[01:07] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: How big do you want to grow your business? 

In part four of our Values series, you'll learn how your values anchor your team and your business operations in a way that creates clear roles and responsibilities while empowering team members to shine through meaningful contributions. 

Your values are an important tool for building the right team to support you, whether they're contractors or employees. To use values in this way, you need to share them and ensure their guiding principles are accessible to all. During this live learning, we're going to share examples of how we use our five core values to anchor our team and build lasting relationships that support the growth of our business.


[01:52] Deirdre Harter: You can't scale a business without help. And, while you might not have plans to grow to be a huge company or a huge organization, you're still likely going to need support that allows you to focus on your zone of genius while enabling the business to run efficiently. And that's where team members come in. Whether it's just one virtual assistant or it's a social media manager, an online business manager, or maybe all three or something else entirely, your job as the CEO of your business is to set yourself and your team up for success. Values are here to rescue you in that. 

If you've been following our Values series, you're beginning to understand how useful values can be in the day-to-day operations of your business. And I don't hear too many people talking about this. In fact, I don't think I've heard anybody talking about this in the way that we are. So now we're going to share how we use our five values. And these are the five values we talked about, and we laid those out in the very first of the series. You can go back to podcast episode 52 for that or check the guides inside the Facebook group. We have a whole guide set up for this series. And so we're going to talk about these five values for Encore Empire and how we use them for team building and enhanced business operations.


[03:21] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yes. So let's get started. So, our first value is freedom. And just as we build our business to provide personal freedom and flexibility, we want our team members to enjoy the same freedom. We do this by structuring work schedules to be flexible and focus on outcomes rather than the number of hours worked this week. 

We also use clear and open communication to get input from the team so they feel like valued members, which they are. By using our values as a foundation for how we interact with our team members and communicating those values and their importance to our business, we foster a collaborative environment in which everyone is focused on the overall mission and vision of the company. 

This is key. 

As we said before, we want you to use your values. They aren't something to be just put away in a drawer after you've discovered what your values are. They can be an active part of your business. And it's really important to bring values to the forefront for your team members. For one, it helps them support you, but it also gives them the understanding that, wow, this is different. They care about something, right? They have values.

If I think back to jobs that I've been in, I know that I've learned mission and vision statements, but I've never heard values. And so that will be something that will be appreciated and accepted, and then they're able to use it as well. 

Freedom is built into our operations as well as our team by creating standard operating procedures and guidelines. Creating a structure that allows ease of use requires a lot of planning work up front, but the return on investment is realized for years to come in not only streamlined processes but also in increased revenue. So when our business runs like a well-oiled machine, we all benefit. This is how values are applied to the team and to our operations. 

We want this freedom. Right? And so, how do we get freedom? We create the systems that support all of us as an entire team to do the work that we need to do in a way that reduces friction and allows for efficiency and streamlined accomplishment of it all.


[05:50] Deirdre Harter: Yeah. I love that. Carmen. When you hear the word systems and structure, a lot of people think it's the opposite of freedom, but it's not. 

That's exactly right, Martha—the systems create freedom. They absolutely do. And we don't often think about it, but it absolutely is what creates freedom in your business, in your operations.


[06:12] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, it's kind of counterintuitive, but it's so true.


[06:16] Deirdre Harter: The second value that we have at Encore Empire is community. So, how does community fit in with the team? Well, we encourage community between team members. We want everyone to build relationships because we talked before about community and that it's based on building relationships with one another. 

While each person may have their own areas of focus in the business, we welcome input from all because it allows us to receive feedback from different perspectives. It's new ideas and sharing ideas with one another. That is what community is all about. 

Another way we foster community is by getting to know one another and taking the time to ask things like how was your weekend? And taking an interest in each other's lives outside of the business. Who here was in corporate? Anybody had the proverbial water cooler? Or maybe the break room where you go, and you'd chat with your coworkers, especially on a Monday morning? Like, oh, how was your weekend? Oh, it's great. How about yours? 

I think in the online space, we're trying to be very efficient, and sometimes we lose that water cooler community that we had, maybe when we were working for someone else, and we were in another organization. So we want to keep that in mind, and we want to keep the people-first concept. You've heard us talk about people first. That's our philosophy. And it's not only with our outside community, such as all of the ladies inside of the Empire of Unstoppable Women, Facebook Group, and our community of podcast listeners, but it's also at the forefront of our internal community because we have an internal community as well. 

It's all too easy to be focused on our business and the projects and the tasks at hand that we can forget to take that time to get to know one another on a more personal level, or just—we don't want to spend two hours chitchatting. But at the same time, we don't want to just be all business. 

Let's get straight to the point. We want to get to know each other. When you do this and when you foster this kind of environment, and your team knows that is a value of yours, then it creates this greater sense of community and belonging. And that is what gives you the extra when everyone on the team gives that little bit of extra for your business because they feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves.


[09:10] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, everyone knows what it feels like to be part of a great team where we all enjoy each other's company and all of that. It's a relationship. It's about relationship building. And we have to put in the effort of asking, how was your weekend? Or where are you going on vacation? Or Happy Anniversary or whatever the things are. They seem small, but just by doing those small gestures, it shows that you care, and it opens up conversations and allows you to build a relationship with whoever you're communicating with. 

Now, our third value is making a difference. So the way that we do this with team members and through our business operations is we ensure that we honor our team members' need for freedom in the same way we honor ourselves. And that allows us to make a difference in their lives. So, for Deirdre and I, this is how making a difference shows up in community. We honor them the same way we honor ourselves. 

While Deirdre and I are the leaders of Encore Empire, we welcome and encourage input from team members, as Deirdre mentioned. We love knowing that our team members are supported and valued and that they know they are supported and valued. And so you have to let them know; otherwise, they're going to be hesitant to bring things to you, afraid to talk to you. They don't feel like they know you. They don't feel like you get them. 

We want to make a difference by bringing them in as part of the team. That's what they are. So make sure that you're treating them the same way that you treat you. It should be something that, as the business gets going and reaps rewards and income and all that, the team members benefit as well. 

Regarding operations, by creating business operational resources such as SOPs, guidelines, and tutorials, we model an efficient way to work that allows our team members to become more productive and that helps make a difference in their lives. And they learn, oh, it really helps to have this guideline or this checklist or this standard operating procedure to follow so that I don't miss a step and I can do this. Then they can model that and do that in their own lives and businesses as well.


[11:41] Deirdre Harter: I thought of one other thing, too, and how we make a difference, Carmen. This just has been a recent thing that happened with one of our team members. She and I are actually going through a coaching program right now to learn to use one of the tools that we use in our business. And I have brought her into it as well because I want her to be empowered. I want her to master the tool just like I'm going to master the tool. That way, she can take ownership of the thing and she can run it. And I hope she can run it better than I can, honestly. This is the kind of thing where we're making a difference because this is something that's going to give her a return on her time with us because she's learning and mastering a skill that she can take with her as well.


[12:40] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, and that's so important because it gives them the understanding that we value them. It gives them the ability to see things, look at them strategically, and then bring up ideas. If we kept people in the dark, if we were afraid to hand over responsibility or let someone take control or own something the way that you're helping her do that, we're not only doing them a disservice; we're doing us a disservice because then you're working from a lack mindset instead of an abundance mindset. The team is part of the team, and let's help them be as good as they can be so that the whole business can be as good as it can be.


[13:24] Deirdre Harter: Yes, absolutely. All right, so our next value is simplicity. Simplicity in operations. This helps foster clear roles and responsibilities. And so, therefore, this is also bringing about simplicity. With our team, we have to have clarity in everything. And you guys, if you've been with us for more than two minutes, I'm sure you've heard us talk about clarity. We need clarity in all areas of our business. And so having these clear roles and responsibilities is really foundational to all of this. 

Standard operating procedures streamline everything, and they remove decision fatigue from the equation. When we can remove decision fatigue from anything, that automatically simplifies everything for us. This allows us to remain clear-minded, and we're more able to contribute meaningfully. 

Now, simplicity in how we work with and communicate with our team. Let's talk about that for a minute. When you work with others in your business, it is very tempting to overcomplicate the organizational systems, the documentation, and even team meetings. One mistake we've seen women in business make is that when they're building out a team when they're early on in this process, they tend to go straight to a complex project management and documentation system. Like, oh, I've got a team member we need, SOPs we need a meeting agenda. But they go straight for, like, let me go find some software, and they're going to go for this super complicated, really robust thing that's actually meant to serve teams of, like, fifty, and there's only the two or three of them. 

It's important to be organized for sure, and it's important to ensure everyone can find what they need when they need it. However, we can start with simple tools and systems. Now, around here, we love Google Drive, and we do have some other software that we've layered on as we've grown. But we started with Google Drive. We still use Google Drive, and that's really all that you need to get going. You've got docs, and you've got sheets. 

As you grow and build your team, you may also find you need another tool, or maybe this other system is going to actually be more efficient and easier to use. But we want to make sure that the tool or the system is going to help us and not hinder us. There are a lot of times, and we've seen this in all different software. People are going for these big software applications that will take you a month to learn and to set things up properly. And that really stalls our progress. So we really want to bring simplicity into the mix and simplicity in your systems, and your operation is going to serve you and your team. 


[16:30] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And if you think about it, you've got to figure out what your process is first to know what the tool is. I think that's where the big mistake comes in with software. A lot of times people think, well, I hear about this software for whatever purpose we're talking about. It's supposed to be great. I'm just going to get that, and then I'll learn it, and then I'll create my system around that. 

Well, that's not really how it works. We want to create the system that works for you and your team first that is simplified, and then we want to be able to enhance that with a tool as we need it. But you don't have to go right from the get-go and invest in some big tool. And like Deirdre said, you're going to spend time trying to figure it out. You're going to spend time trying to figure out not only the tool but then, well, how does this fit in? And then you go through this, and what if it doesn't work? And there's just no need for that. 

It's really important to understand what your system is, know, have a simple meeting agenda, and have your own written out standard operating procedures. We have standard operating procedures on Google Docs. And then sometimes we use Scribe, I believe is what we use for step-by-step, but we added that on later. There are things you can add on, but you don't have to start there. You don't have to complicate it in the beginning. 

Our fifth value is ethics. Now, we've heard horror stories about companies that grow big only to line the pockets of the business owner, while the team is only an afterthought, if they're thought of at all. I'm sure if you've been in the online space at all, you also have heard stories like this. And as far as we're concerned here at Encore Empire, that is unethical. Nobody rises on their own—absolutely nobody. 

So when someone tells him or herself a story about how great they are and how they did this because of their talent alone, they are working from a place of ego. And when it comes to successful, sustainable business growth, you've got to honor the people who help you grow. We hear all these sayings like a rising tide lifts all boats. I mean, all those kinds of things. It's true, though. You can't go become some egomaniac. I mean, people can do it, and we've seen it happen and then have all kinds of turnover and churn. 

Another thing that we see happen that's too bad is as companies grow, the people who started the company tend to get layers farther away from the actual day-to-day operations of the company because they're the CEO. And so now they're able to hire teams to do that kind of work so they can be in their zone of genius. 

We all hear that, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when we take it to an extreme, to where we're completely out of touch with what's going on in the day-to-day operations, then you're risking the business that you've just built. So while we believe that, yes, you should hire help as you need, and you should be in your zone of genius, you also have to be careful to make sure that you keep your finger on the pulse of what's going on so that you can ensure that your teams are working, so that the clients come first. People first, right? It's got to be about the client, not about you. And that's our stance, and that's how we keep our company ethical.


[20:04] Deirdre Harter: And I think, Carmen, that sometimes we end up on two different sides of the scaling. I know a lot of women say, well, I don't want to scale. I don't want to get big. I just want it to be me. And that's great and fine if that's how you want to run and grow your business; that's absolutely fantastic. But just make sure it's not being done out of fear because we do fear the unknown. 

And when we start talking about team building and all these things, and what if we do get big? And then there's that, well, how do I keep control or keep things of high quality when I start to bring on team members, especially if they're going to be interacting with clients? I always say there's an art and science to scaling your business. It's both things. 

And there's a thing called internal controls. This was something that I worked with a lot in my CPA career, and just know that there is a way to do it. I've seen it done very successfully in a lot of companies, especially, and I really saw some great examples in the nonprofit industry because I worked with several nonprofits. I would go in and do audits for them and we looked at internal controls. That's where I saw ethics in motion and the way that they built their company, the way that they kept it all so very ethical. And exactly what you're talking about, Carmen, how we can't think we did it all on our own because it was everyone that was there that was building the organization.


[21:48] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right.


[21:51] Deirdre Harter: So here's the question of the day. Have you identified your values? Now, if you have not yet heard this or seen it, we have a simple three-step process—that's another thing we love is we love threes. So we have a three-step process to help you do this for yourself, both personally and for your business. 

Head on over to vip.encoreempire.com/values

We encourage you to go grab that download and use this and go through this three-step process. It's going to be something that you are going to work with from now until the exit of your business, and it's so incredibly valuable. 



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