Moving past the startup phase and into a growing business requires a strong leader at the helm. The speed in which you want to grow rests entirely on your ability to instill the sense of urgency in your team.
If your team members constantly feel that the business is still in its early stages, more often than not, they will take their sweet time completing projects and feeling less accountable for minor mistakes because, well, you’re still in your baby stage.
But if team members feel that the company is ready to compete with bigger companies, morale goes up and so does productivity. Here are some tips on how to instill that sense of urgency in your organization.
First of all, delegate.
Startup entrepreneurs find it hard to delegate due to the lack of funds. After all, they are used to doing everything all the time but as the business grows, operations grow, and the need to strategically place effective team members in positions becomes all the more vital.
Yes, hiring people cost big money but not hiring a dependable staff as your business grows will cost you even more. Startup entrepreneurs must learn how to start investing in the right people.
The important thing is you learn how to delegate specific tasks to groups. Giving your team particular tasks and responsibilities fuel them towards personal and professional growth, which in turn, creates an atmosphere of growth urgency.
“A classic sign of insufficient delegation is that you are working long hours and feel totally indispensable while your staff isn’t terribly energized and keeps strangely regular hours,” said Carol Walker, president of consulting firm Prepared to Lead.
Learn to pick your battles.
When you’re in the startup phase, it is so easy to get wrapped up in small details such as deciding on a company’s letterhead design. Being hands-on and detail-oriented are admirable but don’t spend an entire week deciding if you like this font with that color.
Remember, the speed in which you decide to prosper rests entirely on you. Learn to distinguish the small tasks from the big ones. Delegate the ones you can to free up your time for the more important ones. Even if you decide on this font with that color today, you can always change it later since your brand is still in its infancy.
Moreover, showing your employees how quickly you decide on the menial tasks will set the standards high. If your decision-making speed is slow, you can’t expect your staff to work faster than you do. Become an example and set the bar high.
Become a living, breathing example of positive urgency.
Instilling a sense of urgency in your staff doesn’t mean you should breathe down their necks all the time. Making the sense of urgency work within an organization means setting specific deadlines for tasks and actually meeting them. And all these starts with you.
Become an example of what positive urgency means. Instead of demotivating your staff due to stress-induced urgency, shift the energy towards empowering team members to work smart.
Track your team’s progress in a positive way.
Measure the positive effects of urgency by tracking and celebrating milestones. Startups have a lot of opportunities to celebrate crucial milestones, from the first 1,000 customers to the first year anniversary. These milestones should be well communicated within the team. Business wins can also be translated to personal and professional growth.
Being completely aware of how much your team has accomplished in one year empowers them to go beyond the first year’s stats, which in turn sets new goals and increases the sense of urgency all the more.
“Every month we have a different sales goal to hit. At the front of the office, we have a giant thermometer up on the wall to track our progress. As we make more sales, we fill in the thermometer. If we reach the top, we celebrate with a catered lunch. It is fun and it keeps the team motivated,” said MyCorporation.com CEO Deborah Sweeney.
Communicating clearly how teams contribute to the company’s overall success is a great way to drive the positive impact of urgency even higher.
Set urgency tone from the very start.
Setting the urgency tone starts when you screen the job applications. Naturally, business owners want to hire detail-oriented individuals who can continuously work on a task until it reaches a certain degree of perfection.
But self-oriented perfectionists can potentially do more harm than good. This self-oriented perfectionism can thread on obsessiveness and inefficiency to accomplish a certain task, which eventually leads to morale, attendance and performance issues.
There are times when perfectionists tend to delay working on a project because they are afraid of failing or doing an inferior performance even before they start. There are also instances when perfectionists think of themselves as martyrs who think they are the only ones who care enough to do the job “right.”
This kind of behavior can be belittling to other co-workers and infuriating to management. It creates a toxic work environment that can isolate both the perfectionist and the rest of the staff.
“Too often people confuse perfectionism with more desirable features such as being conscientious. Rather than being more productive, perfectionists are likely to find the workplace quite difficult and stressful,” said York St. John University’s associate professor Dr. Andrew Hill.
When hiring potential staff members, look out for behaviors such as self-righteousness, perfectionism, and cynicism. Rather, look for people who deliver results through teamwork and innovation.
Constantly communicate the sense of urgency.
In 2015, Singapore celebrated its Golden Jubilee and many businesses grabbed the celebration as a chance to reward their employees for past contributions. Some companies gave SG50 memorabilia while some announced special Golden Jubilee-inspired bonuses.
DBS Bank Ltd.’s market capitalization coincidentally hit its S$50 billion marks in 2015. The company gave S$1,000 each to all staff members (vice-president ranks and below) with cash gifts totaling a whopping S$18 million.
“It’s really a tribute to Singapore, and Singaporeans, and those who call Singapore home,” said Singapore country head and DBS group executive Sim S. Lim.
Remember, the urgency is not just an action but a mindset. Whatever system you have in place, it is important that you keep employees engaged and make them feel they are moving forward and growing with the company.
It is a leader’s job to use their team members’ individual talents and contributions to work. When creating a sense of urgency among employees, look for elements that drive certain people to action. Look for ways on how to keep this drive going. Some teams perform well with a reward system in place. Some people excel through mentoring programs while some do well given flexible work schedules.
Where is your sense of urgency?
If you are planning to startup this year, remember these tips in creating a sense of urgency in your organization. Moreover, give your entrepreneurial plans a sense of urgency. Give us a call today and let us help you register your business in Singapore.