[Cliff Notes] Key Takeaways from the Business Excellence Forum

And that’s a wrap on this year’s Business Excellence Forum and Awards!

I could not be more proud of my client, Julie Seal-Gaustad, who was named CEO of the Year! I was also honored to take home a couple awards of my own: the GrowthCLUB award, and Most Community Impact.

All in all, 2019 was a super successful forum. Not only in the awards arena, but also in terms of the knowledge and wisdom imparted from this year’s speakers.

An event, a speaker, a spoken word from a mentor or peer… a catalyst for change can come in many forms. It only takes one “Blinding Flash of the Obvious” (aka, “BFO”) to shift your perspective and alter the course of your business.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from this year’s BEF, specifically as it relates to building a stronger team:

Remove Excuses

A declining profit margin or an unhappy customer are both symptoms that there is something in your business that is more difficult than it needs to be.  Look for where the breakdowns that are leading to the disappointing results and analyze the “excuses” leading up to that point.

The job of management is to build a competent and productive team. So, while it’s appropriate to hold your team accountable and not accept excuses… it’s also appropriate to first listen to their excuses and address the source.

In other words, if you are getting excuses from the team, let your first assumption be that it’s your responsibility to fix it.

Oftentimes the root cause of a breakdown is lack of proper training or resources… in which case the team’s excuse is actually valid – and solvable.  Once your team is well-equipped, accountability is simple, and those repeat frustrations will begin to disappear.

Let Go to Grow

If I make all of the decisions in the company there is a good chance that I will make some great decisions, and there’s also a good chance I’ll mess up a few.

We all win some and lose some, right? So, what is the difference if you allow the team make some decisions for you?? Give them a chance to screw up too! (And I’m only half joking here.)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to let go, and let the team take off the training wheels.

If you’ve followed the step above to properly train and equip your team, it’s time to get out of the way and let them do their jobs.

Don’t Fear Your Fear, Train For It

What if your biggest fear ended up being an even greater source of fulfillment?

Ask yourself, what are you currently fearing in your business?

If you’re fearing letting go, train for it! If you’re fearing growth, train for it!

[bctt tweet=”Don’t hang out where your business is now. Spend time where you want your business to go.”]

Invest your time in the systems you will need when you get bigger. Develop that training your future employees will need when they are hired.

Take your business to the next level before the level shows up.

Lead Through Storytelling

Stories have the power to deepen relationships, connection, and engagement. It is an important part of any societal culture, and your company culture is no different.

Whether it is a speech to your managers or a hallway conversation, stories can motivate, inspire and provide clarity. It’s one of the most powerful tools for leaders to connect and bring your vision to life for the team.

Share client stories, team success stories, stories of when an adversity was turned into something positive, or even a story about someone you admire, and why. Then create space for your team to do the same.

Customer service is not just a job title, and core values are not just a plaque on the wall. Stories are the key to building connection, bringing the vision to life, and turning disengaged employees into dedicated team members.

For the liberties I’ve taken…

The ideas shared in this article are an amalgamation of my entire conference experience, from the speakers on stage to the dinner conversations with clients and friends.

I specifically want to credit this year’s speakers: Brad SugarsStephen HightowerSheri RileyMichael LosierDr. Jen WelterMark Thompson, and Richard Maloney. Thank you for making this year’s Business Excellence Forum a well-rounded and enriching experience.

If you’re interested in attending the 2020 Business Excellence Forum in Nashville, TN, contact me for details.