One of the most commonly heard terms in this industry is ‘taking your business to the next level’. To some, this may mean opening another office or buying another rent roll. To others, it may be putting on a business development manager, a PA or investing in technology or equipment. But you need to make sure you are making the right decision for the right reasons.
In our experience, one of the most common pathways for growth is by adding more people to the team. Team growth makes sense to most of us because it allows us to leverage the skills and labour component of others. However, irrespective of whether we have a large office or a BDU, we should ﬁrst validate that we actually need to add another team member. Team growth needs to occur when we have identiﬁed a shortage of skills that are lacking in the team, or we want to allocate some of our current tasks to free up time for ourselves and others to devote to functions that add more value. Every team member needs to have a speciﬁc role, with speciﬁc levels of responsibility and accountability commensurate with the requirements of the position and the needs of the business.
When deciding whether to recruit more people we need to validate against speciﬁc measurable criteria to determine whether we actually ‘need’ more people, or if we can achieve the growth through more efficient systems.
The ﬁrst step is to identify whether there is currently a particular skill or level of experience that is missing and required for future growth. If the answer is yes, we need to assess whether an existing team member can be either trained or developed to carry out the function. Often the solution is already within our existing team and there is no requirement to add another ﬁfty or sixty thousand dollars to the payroll.
Adding more people to roles that are not clearly deﬁned is expensive in both time and money, and can often result in messy endings. So many of our team members already have the skills and motivation to be able to add value, but are not being used because of our resistance to thinking laterally. If they are already part of our culture; we simply need to assess their capability and capacity for self-growth.
If there is a need to add to the team, then get really clear on the roles and requirements of the position. Assess every candidate against a selection criteria and make the recruitment process both rigorous and deﬁned. It is astonishing to those outside our industry that we continue to recruit based on reputation, often involving far too little scrutiny of past performance and validation of skill level.
Ensure that your business, however big or small, has processes with indicators and triggers so that each requirement for the next phase of growth has checks and balances in place to mitigate the chances of making poor and expensive decisions.
The number one inhibitor to growth is our resistance and inability to let go and entrust tasks and decision-making to others. Surround yourself with the right people and have faith that your standards and systems will support you. A lot of us resist delegating because we think that no one can do a job as well as we can. This is small-business thinking and will stop business growth in its tracks.
You will never go to the next level if you are continually going back down the ladder to tell the team what to do.
Select the most suitable candidates, both internally and externally, against a criteria, train and support them and then let them ﬂy. Yes, there is an element of risk involved but micro-managing people into early retirement is not a good business plan.