Many entrepreneurs feel that natural state of things is that we should be the ones pushing or pulling our business along. In fact, most business owners actually identify with one of the two, pushing or pulling.
After all we're the ones who start the business, with the most at stake, and the ones with the idea; of course we're going to do anything we can to make the business thrive and grow.
But should we be the only ones vested in the outcome and passionately driven to see it through?
What would it be like if you as entrepreneur weren't the only one passionately driving and doing what it takes to move your business forward?
You don't have to be and shouldn't be alone.
According to the Small Business Administration, less than one percent of small businesses ever achieve more than $1 million or more in revenue, even worse 70 percent go out of business within 10 years. Having a team not only support, but passionately support and drive a business forward is critical, you need all the leverage you can get.
Are you ready for the team you have or the team you will have to passionately drive your business forward?
It's simple: Cast Your Vision.
As an entrepreneur, you not only have a vision, you are a visionary. When I share this some entrepreneurs will give me a weird look as if to say 'visionary?!? I just run a business'.
A visionary is simply a person with original ideas about what the future will or can be.
The key is you need to share.
Most business owners assume everyone else knows where they are going and why, I will let you in on a secret that confirm with teams all the time, they don't. In fact, when I ask entrepreneurs "Does everyone on your team know where you are going and why?" I usually get a quick confident "yes" or "sure". But if I clarify, "so could anyone on your team tell me the vision, direction and goal for your company and why it is important?" confidence fades.
This should be alarming.
Can you imagine not knowing why you were doing something, or working on something every day without a destination? Most, not some, team members feel this way. This may explain in part why Gallup polls show that only 13% of people are actively engaged in their jobs, the remaining 87 prtvrny don't like what they do every day.
Think of it this way. If you ask your team to drive from L.A. to a specific location in New York, they will figure out how to get there. Even though it is a long distance and there are hundreds maybe thousands of decisions to make along the way.
Now, tell them to drive from L.A. to 'where we're going' or 'we will know when we get there' and the only way they will succeed is luck or if you give them turn by turn instructions. This may be why a lot of leaders feel like they have to micro-manage and why a lot actually do.
When you cast your vision for your team, you clarify the where and the why for your business. You let your team know why their roles are important, and what the ultimate goal is. Not only does this give your team a purpose, it helps them make better decisions. If they know the vision and why it's important, they're much more likely to be personally invested, leveraged and accountable, too.
Casting Your Vision is simply telling people where you are going and why (and we all have a why).
Here's an example:
Our company's goal is to help 10,000 entrepreneurs double their businesses by 2021. We have already helped hundreds. While 10,000 may seem fantastic, every person on the team knows that this is our vision, why it's important, and believes we'll get there.
Our entire team is bought in and excited, we discuss how this will help business owners, their teams and families, their communities, even our country! Imagine what affect we will have after we have helped 10,000 entrepreneurs.
The question is where do you want to go and why?
Identify these two things, share them openly and transparently (and often) with your team. Giving people a cause and a destination they can get behind creates clarity and leverage and allows your team to start making the right decisions.
Then, you're no longer pushing or pulling, but guiding a wave of momentum that will carry you to your goals. Here is a video on Casting Your Vision with more details.
One caution, your vision does not nor should it be perfect, rehearsed, written by your marketing guy or PR consultant -- it must be genuine and authentic and has to come from you. In fact if it isn't perfect, shares who you are and really lets your team in, the results will surprise you.
Alex Charfen is the CEO of the Charfen Institute.