Ep #55: How to Build a Team Performance Culture for Female Entrepreneurs
In order to build a team performance culture, you have to have a mindset around why you are adding people to your business that supports what you’re trying to do in the long term. Your culture is not driven from the bottom up. It’s driven from you down.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- How knowing your vision, values and expectations comes into play.
- The definition of team “performance culture” according to Kris.
- How the culture you have with your team is a direct result of your own thinking about the team.
- Hiring people who are better than you doesn’t mean to give them free reign.
- A key turn is going from “I’m hiring someone to work for me” to “I’m hiring someone to get results for me and to help me scale and think.”
- Your assignment after listening to this podcast – write down how you would describe your team culture and why it is that way.
- Then, if you would want it to be different than it is – what would you want it to be? Why? And what are the thoughts you need to believe about team members that will get you there?
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- Quotes – “Who you started with won’t be who you finish with.” “You’re only as good as your weakest or lowest performing employee.”
- Team management strategy days are coming this year in select locations where you can schedule a day to spend with me. If that interests you, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and say, “I would like to be on the short list for a strategy day.” Please put in the body of your email where in the world you are.
- Follow me on Instagram here @KrisPlachyCoach.
- I read reviews on the show! If you like this podcast, please leave a review. Go to your podcast app and find the reviews section. Thank you!
- The Founder’s Lab is my private coaching program for female founders who are generating more than 7-figures in their revenue. It’s a complement to the Entrepreneurial Management program (with Brooke Castillo) and is a part of the work you get as a client of mine. This isn’t a “class.” I don’t give you copious tons of things to do. I give you the ones that matter and then we keep talking about them. We apply them. That’s why it’s called the Founder’s Lab.
- Go here to book an appointment with me.
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now today to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello, everybody. Welcome, welcome. I’m looking forward to this podcast with you today and talking to you about the team. I know the name of this podcast is Lead Your Team, but building off of what I did in the last few podcasts where we focused on you as a boss, now I want to focus on them as the team. So over the next couple of podcasts, I’m going to be really diving into what I believe are the core essentials sort of philosophically speaking and also tactically speaking when it comes to building a team that helps you uplevel both yourself as a leader and also uplevel the business that you want to continue to build.
Now, for most people, when I first start working with a lot of my clients who are in the what I would call like the revenue forward, they have a lot of revenue, they’ve generated money into their business, really mastered the leading the team part or even the building of the team part, which is where most of the women who hire me are at in their business, right? Like you’ve done. You’ve got a proven business model. You’ve got the customers, or the clients, or the product in the world, but you’re still really struggling with putting the work together through others, right?
I know that when we first get started the idea of managing other people isn’t necessarily top of mind. You’re very busy on really seeing if you have a workable business model and can you make it happen, and then the growth of adding people to your business can sometimes … Well, it can happen very quickly or it can sometimes be kind of slow. Then you wake up and you’re like, “Wait a minute. There’s people who work here. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with them. Should they have job descriptions? Should I have a hiring process?” And it isn’t until we start to feel that tension that we don’t have structure to help us replicate what we want to continue to build or we don’t even really know how we built it in the first place.
So that’s where I want to spend some time with you over these next few conversations is around the team and how to hire people in a way … I want to talk about hiring, but not in a tactical way but in a approach, in a thoughtful way. Mindfulness in hiring, right? How do you think about hiring people?
I want to talk to you about performance culture and how do you create one. Most of us, when we start a business, we hire people to help us do work. We’re not really thinking about performance, so I’m going to embellish that. I want to talk with you over the next few podcasts around whether or not building a new team is a system or is it luck? What do you think? Are some people just lucky? Then, I also want to talk to you about what comes first, you as a better leader and then you get a better team or you hire better team and then you become a better leader? I wonder what you would say to that. Then, we’re also going to talk about how the team performance is an extension of leadership.
But for today, I really want to just focus on some overall thoughts that I have about a team that I think has helped me build successful teams over the years. I’ve had quite a few very high-performing teams in both in this business and in my previous work. And it’s a string. You have to have a mindset around why you are adding people to your business that supports what you’re trying to do long term, okay?
So let’s break this down. First of all, like I’ve already said, when it’s just you or you and a few people, you’re not thinking about building a performance culture. You’re thinking about getting work done, which makes sense, right? You have mostly been the person who gets the work done, and then you have to start to hire people to help you. That’s a very normal progression in your growth as an entrepreneur. Then you start hiring people and you give them assignments. It’s a very tactical relationship. I know that initially for many of you that can also be very frustrating because that’s when you first start to encounter that people don’t work like you. They don’t think like you. They don’t take things as seriously as you do. They don’t have the same level of expectation or detail that you do. So honestly, this is where a lot of entrepreneurs can fall off and just decide, “Forget it. This is too hard. I don’t want to do this.”
But if we continue on the trajectory, now where I meet a lot of my clients is they have these people who have been hired to do work, but there hasn’t really been any culture built around performance and what that is. And that’s why I spent so much time with you talking about the importance of you knowing what your vision is, what your values are, and what your expectations are. Because once you have that solidified, now you’ve built the foundation for the kind of culture that you want. And when you know that and you’re really, really confident in it, you hire to it. So instead of hiring just for skill, or experience, or technical competence, you’re now also starting to hire for alignment to your values and your expectations.
One of the biggest breaking points for entrepreneurs initially, especially when we start working together, is this discomfort of recognizing that the people that work for you are probably not the right people anymore. They were great for your business when you started or those first few years, but now you’re growing and the business is growing, and it requires a different way of thinking about performance. So as you start to feel that, frankly, I believe most of you feel that before you can put words to it. But you start to know like, “Okay, this, something’s not right. This isn’t working anymore. Why isn’t this working anymore? This used to work.” It’s because growth keeps happening.
A lot of times though, the people that you hire are great at what you hired them to do, but they’re not great at what you now need them to do. That’s where that quote comes from, who you started with won’t be who you finish with, right? That’s a very common issue. The other very common sort of quote is you’re only as good as your weakest or lowest-performing employee. So when you have people on the team who don’t think like you or align with you values wise and your expectations, that poorer performance drags the performance of the whole business, right?
So we have to pay attention to what we want our culture to be for the team. And when I say performance culture, to me that means people who are results oriented, that they love what they do, that they take a tremendous amount of pride in what they do, that they have ownership for their results as if it were their own company. Not everybody thinks like that. A lot of people just … They just want you to hire them to do a job. And there’s a time and place where that works, but there gets to be a time and place for that doesn’t work. So you have to be more conscious about the kind of performance culture you have and the one that you want.
Do you have an exceptional performance culture or an average performance culture? Do you hold a very high level of expectation for people and you hold it, which means if it’s not delivered on maybe they don’t stay in your business or there’s changes made, or do you tolerate average performance so then it sort of makes everybody on the team over time average? Then I know is really frustrating is when you have somebody on the team who’s “not pulling their weight,” right? I think what a lot of us do is we focus on that person and we focus on how frustrated we are, and how do we fix it, and how do we make it better, but what we don’t realize is it’s impacting everybody. And when you have someone who is just average at that level and you tolerate it, it starts to become a little bit of a disease on a team because other people see what you put up with, what you tolerate. And it’s harder to hold a high level of expectation for everyone if you don’t hold it for everyone, right?
I appreciate that makes logical sense to you, but in the moment when all the emotions involved and you have to talk with people about what they do and don’t do, it gets uncomfortable, right? Obviously it’s not fun. So it’s so much easier to avoid than to address, and that’s part of what sets the tone for your performance culture.
So what I want you to understand is that the culture that you have in your company with your team is a direct result of your own thinking about the team. So if we’re growing out of I grew this team to help me with my projects, from that to now I want to grow a team or I want a team who will help me scale my business, the way that you think is going to influence how you show up and then the expectations you have and how you start holding people accountable. Your culture is not driven from the bottom up. It is driven from you down, and it is in the very, very day-to-day tactical essence of what you say, what you don’t say, what you tolerate, what you don’t tolerate, what expectations you make clear, what expectations you don’t make clear, which of course is always a drag when it comes back to us. But I think it’s actually better because you have control over that. You get to have some influence over that.
We have to recognize that the next level of performance you want from your business is not in you. It’s in your team. This is one of the most challenging things to figure out when you’re at that 1, 2, $3 million because you can’t work harder to make it bigger. You have to start to trust other people. You have to start to not be totally self-reliant. You have to start to hire people who are better than you.
Now, I want to put a caveat on that better than you because a lot of people will say, “Yeah, I like to hire people that are better than me.” But then what you do is you hire them and then you abdicate to them. You just say, “Yeah, you handle it. You’re better at this than I am,” and you don’t manage them. You don’t have oversight over their work. That is a problem, right? We need to hire people that are better than us. But if you have insecurity around hiring people that are better than you, what you might do is just give them free rein. And you don’t set up the job, you don’t set up the goals, and you don’t manage the role and lead them. This is where all of us go through this.
And I’ll tell you what, at every stage in your business this will happen because you will want to keep hiring up. You will want to hire people that are better at you than something. That’s normal. But you have to still … It’s still your company. You’re still running this thing. You’re still in charge. You get to make these decisions. So we have to be cautious with that last one, hiring people that are better than you at whatever, because it’s not a pass to just give them free rein on that part of your business. You have to lead and manage them, okay?
And if that makes you uncomfortable, you’re right on target. You’re right where you need to be because that’s so normal to feel so uncomfortable when people are better than you because you haven’t developed yet that leadership voice, which really stems from what I talked about in the last four podcasts, right? Who are you as a leader and really stepping into that and growing your own leadership skill so that this part of the business is not so intimidating to you. Because if you want to grow the business from wherever you are to whatever that next big mark is, that’s where the growth is, in you being able to then harness and capture the talents of people who are better. It can help up level everything in your company and it’s …
This is the best thing to watch in my clients, I have at least four or five people right now who talk about this a lot. They can’t believe how much better everything is since they hired these people. Since I’ve been able to hire these higher level people, since I’ve brought this high level team on board, it’s made such a difference. It’s a game changer. We’re going to talk about in one of the future episodes here around this topic about what that requires of you. But I want to park here for a minute and make sure you hear that performance culture starts with you and what you believe about people that you hire, and that the next level of your business, that success that you’re looking for, that next level in your business, is within the team. It’s not you. You have to stop just relying on yourself to make it happen.
But there’s a lot of work because my guess is if you’re like any one of us, you’ve had a lot of misfires when it comes to hiring and it makes you gun shy. I call it hiring PTSD, right? Like, “Oh, I don’t want to hire another person. I get so disappointed.” So whenever we do that, we have to go back to our processes, which this is all the work I teach my clients in my program.
Whenever I have someone I hire and it doesn’t work out, I can find it in my process. I know why. So we have to dissect it and make sure we have a process for hiring, for onboarding, for setting expectations, for setting goals, holding people accountable. It’s all baked in right to the roadmap. It’s all there. But we can lose our way, and we can get overwhelmed or we can get really busy, and then we get really frustrated, and then we can pull back and compromise how we hire.
So the core of your team Is how you think about them. How you choose to think about them will determine who you hire and then how you lead and manage them. So that first turn is I’m going from hiring people to work for me to hiring people to get results for me, and to help me scale, and to help me think. We start hiring tactical people, yes, but now we start hiring more strategic thinkers who can complement us and help us.
What I want you to do after listening to this podcast is I want you to just sit down and think about how would you describe your team culture. Is it really playful? Is it really serious? Is it really disconnected? Is it very open? Is it very connected? And why is that? I would invite you to not add any comments in there that are like because of them. I want you to look at your thoughts about your team and how those thoughts have influenced the culture that you have.
And these can work negatively, too, right? If you have a thought that says, “I just never going to find someone. I’m never going to find good people. It’s really hard to find good people. People just are never going to do what I want them to do. I’m always going to be disappointed in people,” if those are thoughts that you think all the time, I want you to look then at who you have because it’s likely you’re compromising because you believe you can’t find great people.
So just do a download on your culture. Do a download. How would you describe your performance culture? Is it exceptional? Is it rock star? Is it average? Is it adequate? Is it tolerable? How would you describe that?
Then, if you wanted the culture to be anything, if you could create it exactly like you want it, if you would want it to be different than it is, what would you want it to be? Why? And then, what are the thoughts you need to believe about team members that will get you there?
This is all work that I do with my clients in the Founder’s Lab. And if this is work you want to do for your business and for you, I would love to meet you. I always extend the invitation to schedule a one-on-one consultation with me for about 20 minutes. We’ll talk about you and your business, and what you’re looking for, and how what I do supports that. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Have a wonderful, wonderful afternoon or morning wherever you are.
Hey there, gorgeous. Are you ready to take everything I teach you in this podcast and put it to work in your business and really learn how to master leading your team? If so, I’d love to have you as a client in the Founder’s Lab. To learn more about how we can work together, head on over to krisplachy.com/join. There you’ll see everything you need to know about the Founder’s Lab and how to get started. See you there.