But there is another side to the story - even with the very best employees, they will never meet their potential and live up to your expectations without good systems and clear guidelines for what you expect from them.
Can you relate to this story? Bob the Builder has started his new business. He gets known as dependable and does good work. He does everything - manages the projects and works hard on the tools, and Wendy his wife does the accounts. Before long he has more work than he can handle himself, so he employs some extra workers and finds some good subbies. Things get busier, and he is finding he is running out of cash as his business grows. Part of the problem is that Wendy was getting the bookwork done at night, but now that the sheen has worn off and the workload is increasing, more and more is getting left undone. Bills are not getting out on time, so Bob is not getting paid when he should. No one is chasing up old accounts not paid, and some are over six months old.
He decides he needs a good office lady as Wendy does not have the time anymore to keep up with the extra work and is sick of chasing Bob so that she can get the invoices out when she would rather be chasing him round the bedroom. So he employs Cindy and everything seems to be going well, although Bob is now so busy that he doesn’t really know what is happening with every project, or how much money they have. But Cindy seems to have it under control so why worry, it's working. Then out of the blue Cindy hands in her resignation; she wants to pursue a career in interior design which is what she really loves.
A week after Cindy leaves, everything turns to custard. Bob suddenly discovers there are a whole lot of problems he did not see coming. Suppliers have not been paid for three months and have stopped supplying, customers are unhappy that jobs are taking too long, and there are a whole pile of jobs that were never invoiced. Bob finds himself in absolute frustration – he trusted Cindy and she let him down.
I have seen this kind of thing a lot. The problem in this scenario is that Bob did not know what Cindy was doing, and even worse Cindy did not know what Bob even wanted. So the chances of this going well were abysmal. Bob was not clear on what time frame was acceptable to send invoices within, when old accounts should be chased, what suppliers should be paid first, how much money should be in the bank, etc...
Can Bob fix it? Not without good systems.
The moral of this story is: Have good staff, but have even better systems. This is the vital first step towards building yourself a great team...
Good systems will show when staff are not performing, Good systems will make good staff, Good systems will mean the business carries on when staff leave, Good systems take headaches out of your business.
Action Point: Look at your key staff and list what you specifically need from them. Then meet with them individually and go through it with them. It could be the most important thing you do this year!