Sometimes when we’re caught up in the momentum of a busy workday, we forget that although Elon Musk’s Neuralink is forthcoming, we have yet to reach the point in human evolution where we can all read each other’s minds.
Still, how often have you found yourself wishing your team would just think like you do? Wouldn’t it be easier if they could take the ball and run with it, so you could have your time back to do more strategic work?
Knowing that we cannot read each other’s minds, what can you do if you’re stuck in this problem?
Stop Squandering Your Time
As the company owner, no one knows the products, services and processes needed to prosper better than you. But how can you help your employees grow in this knowledge?
If you wish you could get your management and delivery team to think more like an owner when solving problems and executing their day-to-day tasks, you are on the right track to asserting your independence in this area.
To get there, have you considered whether your employees have been set up to begin to think like an owner? Is the culture one in which your team are invited to offer solutions to problems?
Perhaps your employees don’t feel on solid ground with the work at hand to begin with. Does everyone know what is expected of them, even when you are not around? Without clear processes and procedures to follow, your employees might be trepidatious when it comes to showing initiative and thinking like you.
Perhaps you’re a big picture thinker, as most entrepreneurs tend to be. And you’ve observed that it is difficult for the team to approach problems with such a wide-angle lens. You may make an unconscious judgement that the team is incapable of discerning between what activities will benefit the company long-term versus what are quick fixes.
You may perceive that the actions of your team demonstrate an inclination for getting through the moment.
Your team living to survive the moment only leads to repeatedly wasting resources on similar problems in the future. And this leads back to you holding the bag and navigating the next issue or crisis by yourself…you likely feel as though you can’t stop and figure out how to stop squandering your most valuable resource—time.
Lack of time may be keeping you from working strategically on the business. If you are unclear of your company’s vision, values, and mission, then so is your team. If you do have clarity on these areas, are you communicating in a way that these can become tenets that all employees can absorb?
Be A Leader—Not A Boss
There are a few reasons you may feel frustrated by the conundrums presented in this article. First, your team cannot read your mind, as we’ve established. Second, they are not owners; they may not have any entrepreneurial skill whatsoever.
And because they are not mind readers and they lack these skills, communication is central to this conversation. If you are not communicating your vision, values, and mission, and your procedures and processes, you can’t expect anyone to know what you want or where you are trying to go.
If communication is lacking, a possible result is low engagement on your team. They may feel they don’t have any voice or input when it comes to decisions. They may not feel empowered to make decisions or take risks, maybe even limited ones. What you may perceive as reluctance to think like an owner may be a front for feelings like lack of confidence, fear of making errors, or even feeling afraid to speak up.
With you as owner firmly positioned as the hub of all workflow, you may have been training your team unconsciously to come to you for every little thing, regardless of whether you want them to do things on their own. If your behavior reinforces a cycle wherein all decisions, even the smallest ones, must go through you, you are inadvertently disempowering your team.
In this way, some of the most important and valuable skills your employees have may remain hidden instead of being leveraged to their full potential to help your customers, your company—and yourself as the owner.
Transformations of the kind it takes to help your team think like an owner can take time and they happen in small steps. Starting now is good. The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago; the second-best time is today.