Unlocking the true potential of your business and maximizing efficiency and productivity is what everyone wants, right? The difficult part is that this ideal looks different for every business. Unlocking your business’ full potential means unlocking your employees’ potential, and yours as well. It’s about maximizing each person’s engagement in work and using their particular strengths and goals to fuel innovation for your company. It takes a company culture devoted to encouraging growth and balance for each individual.
This may seem counter-intuitive. Why focus on the individual and their own growth when it’s the business you’re trying to grow? But that’s just it. Your business is as good as the individuals that work in it, and inspired employees create inspired work. The passions and hopes of your employees should guide the work and the assignments you make. And the same is true for you. If you’re starting to lose your passion for what you’re doing or you’re starting to feel stagnant, then the chances are that your business is going to stagnate as well.
Cultivating Your Best Self
Don’t work yourself to death for goals that don’t even make sense anymore. You’re an entrepreneur, and that means your business depends on your vision. Keep in touch with your passion and your dreams, and find small steps in the business that can particularly engage you and help you feel that you’re moving in that direction. If there are certain skill sets you think you need to master to grow personally as an entrepreneur, then make sure engaging those skills is part of your plan.
Keeping up high-quality work and bringing your company together depends on you keeping up your energy and staying in a positive space. That means balance in your life needs to be another priority. If you burn out, your business will crash and burn with you. Check in with yourself and assess your priorities, both the business-related and life-related ones. Don’t sacrifice your physical health or your relationships with your loved ones for the sake of the work. Invest in those parts of your life, because it’s those parts of your life that will sustain you and keep you going in the work you have ahead of you.
Following Employees’ Strengths
The same is true for your employees. As their personal lives suffer, their work will suffer proportionately, and productivity as a whole will go down. You want your employees to have the same sense of personal balance in their lives that you have. This will keep them energetic and enthusiastic, which is what you need to keep productivity up and spur growth. Model for them that appropriate work-life balance and don’t encourage unnecessary sacrifices. Their personal growth can be the engine that drives your business growth and keeps it healthy.
“Find out what your staff wants from their positions and try to give that to them. Find out their plans for the future and try to make that their future at your company” says Edward D. Friedman, attorney at Friedman Simon. “That’s how you invest in your staff and keep them for the long haul.” Your employees want to feel like their work is meaningful, as if it’s going somewhere for the company and also for their futures. Work with them to keep them challenged, learning and engaged. Let their professional goals guide you in the opportunities you give them and the challenges you provide them to take on.
Shaping the Culture
Accomplishing all this and changing the priorities for both you and your staff is no easy feat. It goes against some of the most common values in corporate culture, so it may be hard to shift those values over time, but it’s worth it for a stronger business and for better lives for all involved.
Changing the culture of your business and disseminating those values has to start with you. Explain to your employees what you’re doing and invite them to help, but then be the first person to put those values into action. They may be too scared to take off personal time in an emergency to be with family if they haven’t seen you do it first. Take intentional time aside to talk to your employees and discuss their work goals and priorities, too. Show them that you’re serious about this change and that you want them to unlock their full potential in your business.