The end of year one is here. This was not the entrepreneurial journey I expected or hoped for. It’s weird. It’s scary. And working with my clients is more fulfilling than I imagined.
The vision is still solidifying. The content still knocking around inside. It was a necessary, painful, liberating year.
Maybe you took two weeks to get going. Or 6 months. Or 3 years. Maybe you’re still stuck. Spinning. Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim.
Maybe you jump without stopping to think and have to clean up messes later. Ready, fire, aim.
Dreams of the glorious first year in business didn’t include these battles and unforeseen detours. Leaving a “safe” corporate job was terrifying, but staying could have killed me.
I had no idea how far I had pushed myself.
Years of being penciled in and removed from the layoff list. Bracing for the increased work for those lucky enough to stay behind. No clear view of how teams affected each other. People shutting down legitimate inquiries with personal attacks. Corporate reorganizations started before the last one took hold. Good people working too hard and going nowhere fast.
You know the story. You’ve been there.
After leaving, it took me 6 weeks to stop having phantom adrenaline rushes.
Three months to clear out the head-trash and cool the anger.
Six months working with a new doctor to start to repair the damage from stress.
Toxic cultures hurt people. Toxic cultures kill businesses.
And it doesn’t happen overnight. It creeps in.
Hurtful behaviors shut off communication. Poor communication breeds poor decision-making. Consequences of those decisions push down the chain as the path of least resistance.
Your good people either shutdown or their anger increases.
The talent leaves. You struggle to recruit new talent because the word about your team begins to spread.
Your team cannot fix a broken culture without you.
Whether you are task-focused or all about the people, you need to be intentional about your culture. Business is a balance of task and people. Both are required. Neither can be ignored.
- What work needs to be done? Let’s benchmark the job. Then you can hire for those skills.
- What are the values of your team? Let’s identify the values. Then hire for those values.
- What is the business vision? What drives you? Let’s determine the driving forces. Then connect people to that vision.
Will everyone on your team march to the new direction? Maybe. Maybe not. If not, then you have to make decisions about their future at the company.
When communication clears, morale improves. Work gets done faster, better. Revenues increase. Profits increase.
It’s not too late. In 2013, I read the story of Moses wandering the wilderness for 40 years. It was not the first or even twentieth time to read it, but I became agitated. How could someone be in a wilderness for 40 years? How does someone get to that place and then die within reach of the Promised Land?
Then eyes wide and stomach sinking, I knew… I was the one wandering in a wilderness. I had just turned 40. Still killing myself for someone else’s dream. Stubborn and blind. Losing myself in retail therapy and travel. Too tired to use my true talents.
Your battles and detours may be different from mine. You’re still working a day job and dreaming of the day you pick your coworkers. Your business is growing faster than you can handle and building a solid team is critical to get to the next step. You’re selling this business and prepping for your next adventure.
Regardless of your stage, you are not stuck. Leave the wilderness of catty break room chatter and slamming doors. Of passive-aggressive behaviors. Angry outbursts. People withholding information.
You can improve your team… or change the team you have. It’s up to you.
I’m not going to pretend that this journey is easy. It’s messy. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s so worth it.
People are complex. It may feel overwhelming, but you are not alone.
You need help with your culture, with world domination? I’m here.
You are brave. You are hopeful. You are stubborn. You are visionary. You are genius and a lil insane.
So, what should we do tomorrow?
The same thing we do everyday. Try to take over the world.