So what’s the secret to building high performing teams?
If you’re going to scale your business, you’ll need to be able to rely on your teams. What can leaders do to elevate their teams from pretty good to absolutely amazing?
In Episode 80 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl Johnston continues her discussions with Barbara Turley about scaling your business and building high performing teams.
Barbara Turley is an investor, entrepreneur, and CEO and founder of The Virtual Hub. She helps businesses free up time and energy so they can ascend to the next level through the use of virtual assistants in digital marketing. Listen now to hear how Barbara helps her own teams become high performers, what she’s learnt from previous roles, and how important delegation is to good leadership.
Hear Barbara Turley talk about her business experiences, insights into systemization and process writing, and how her time at ‘Grow with Hubspot’ led to some interesting revelations.
Episode HighlightsWhat’s the secret to a high performing team? Join us on the Bean Ninjas Podcast as CEO @virtualhubltd Barbara Turley shares her experience and insights on systemization, delegation and trust Click To Tweet
03:00 – Barbara talks about using Virtual Assistant (VA) roles in customer support
05:00 – Meryl talks about multi-tasking while rolling out a new Bean Ninjas training course
08:00 – Barbara talks about learnings from the Grow with Hubspot Conference on high performing teams.
11:00– Daily huddle/pipeline meetings and matching demand with supply among the whole of the team
13:00 – Harnessing a feeling of an amazing team working together
15:00 – Having trust, removing politics, and utilizing each other’s strengths to cross pollinate skills across teams, and building this into KPIs
19:00 – Listen deeply when others are speaking to discover how they attack problems and learn
23:00 – Lessons from the sprint: developing systems and delegating effectively to make sure people can take on new processes
25:00 – How to carve out time in role, where time is wasted in a role
27:00 – Good communication and trust is key to training your management team
29:00 – Getting your leaders to create their own high performing teams
30:00 – The trouble with leaders who are not process driven – who will do what & when? Leadership is about mapping out the plan.
33:00 –Small businesses need implementers as employees, not visionaries.
Learn the foundations of financial literacy and using Xero.
Scaling Your Business: The Secret to Building High Performing Teams with Barbara Turley
Announcer: Welcome to the Bean Ninjas Podcast, where you get an all-access pass to see what happens behind the closed doors of a fast-growing global bookkeeping and financial reporting business.
Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Bean Ninjas Podcast. This is Episode Number 3 in the series that Barb and I have been recording together. We’re giving accountability, updates, talking about some challenges as well as things that are going well in our business.
And then, most of the episode will be spent talking with Barb about a recent conference that she went to, which is called Grow with Hubspot. And she’s got some relevant and helpful takeaways from that conference that all these might be able to apply in our business.
Doing a series is a slightly different format and we have been experimenting with a few different formats recently with different hosts, so not just me doing interviews, but other Bean Ninjas team members are trying the series with Barb. Wayne and I have recorded some episodes, so I’d love to get your feedback and you can write into podcast@ beanninjas.com and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the different formats and whether you have a preference around them.
And also, if you have any questions, we’d love to answer listener questions on the show; we have done that previously. So if you have a question for me or for one of the other hosts, or you have a question for Barb, we’ll be continuing to record this series. Then feel free to pop that in the email and we’ll answer that on one of the episodes.
Hi, Barb. How are you?
Hey Meryl. Really good today. Thank you. And you?
Yeah. Pretty good. It’s another beautiful day on the Gold Coast, but I haven’t been out surfing. It’s a bit challenging, trying to get out for a surf these days with little Ava at home. Maybe on the weekend.
Yes. Four months old baby. Well, listen, I have a three-year-old and one on the way, so I totally empathize. If I can just get a shower uninterrupted at the moment, I’m happy. So to all the mothers out there, you know what we mean.In Episode 80 of Bean Ninjas Podcast, CEO @Johnston_Meryl chats with @virtualhubltd ’s Barbara Turley about how business teams can improve performance, share knowledge, and save time Click To Tweet
So today, we’re going to be talking about a recent conference that you attended, Grow with Hubspot and having a chat about high-performing teams. But before we get into that, why don’t we start with just an overview of what you’ve been working on in a couple of weeks that have passed since we recorded the last episode in this series?
Sure. I’ve actually been on a really interesting project that came along kind of by accident. We had a couple of clients asked us about getting customer support type VAs or agents to manage their Zendesk or their customer support process. And we did it; we don’t really advertise that, but for existing clients, we sort of do it. And we did it and two of them were a disaster.
And I have to step in and go, “I wonder why that was such a disaster?” And what actually came from it, I spoke to the clients and I was really keen to sort of dive into this. And what I realized is that customer support is actually one of the hardest things to delegate to a VA if you don’t have a rock-solid process and you know exactly how it’s all going to operate and you don’t have the right platforms.
So I’ve been working with these two clients on a kind of a pilot project, and with Zendesk actually; I’ve been in touch with Zendesk in Sydney and they’ve been amazing. And I’m sort of putting together this concept of how people, how can businesses more easily delegate customer support and ramp up their client experience, basically.
So it’s kind of just come out of nowhere out me, but it’s been a very interesting project that I’m hoping to delve more into later this year and actually start to bring that to our clients to talk more about how we can do that for them. How about you?
That is interesting as you say that. It reminds me of delegating anything to a VA and it’s harder to do that if there’s not really strong processes in place.
Yup. So I’m building that; I’m actually really enjoying it. I didn’t think I would because customer support wouldn’t be the most enjoyable thing to build. But actually, I think I’ve got a process now that can be used across lots of different business types and styles to help build it out. So that’s been really, really interesting. What about you? What are you working on?
I’ve been heads down in course launch mode. And when I did the course launch back in March, I said, “Never again am I creating course content and working on a launch at the same time.”
Oh, yes. But, we all do that.
And it’s happened again. Unfortunately, it’s happened again. But I suppose it’s a good thing in that even though I had already delivered the Financial Literacy Course once, I’ve been reworking a whole lot of the content based on the feedback that I was getting. So I could have left it as it is, but I really wanted to improve on what I’d done last time.
So it’s been a super busy two weeks where I’ve been re-recording videos, updating templates instead and operating procedures ready for the course starting next week. But as well as that, I’ve been working on the launch; so for this particular launch, we’ve brand a free 5-Day Xero Challenge.
And it was quite a bit of work involved in setting that up, too. So again, it was recording daily videos and daily tasks and we created the workbook and run a Facebook group where anyone doing the Xero Challenge could ask questions and interact. And then, we finished that on the last day or the fifth day with a live Q & A webinar.
And it was great. It was the first time we’ve tried a format like that. We’ve had about 40 people do the challenge, go through with us. And it was good to get engagements from people; some of the people were already people that I knew and people I have relationships with. But we’re also starting to reach beyond our direct network and to reach other people.
I’m happy with how it went, but it was quite a busy couple of weeks and I was actually supposed to be on holidays. Well, I was in Queenstown on holidays.
But you were still working, right?
Yeah. I went to a coworking space in Queenstown to do the live Q & A and I was logging on every day, only half an hour in the morning and evening.
Yeah. Look, I’ve done that on holidays several times as well. It’s a whole other topic we can talk about, but I don’t think I ever; I don’t think in running businesses like we do that you can ever really switch off fully. But like, if you can do an hour a day, it’s pretty good, even if you’re on holiday, Bali, or somewhere.
It took a lot more planning to take; so the month that I had fully off when Ava was born took me nine months to prepare for that.
Whereas, to do an hour a day, I wouldn’t have taken as much planning.
Exactly. Yeah. But I know course launching is; I mean, the ideal is obviously to have all these courses and things, but there’s enormous work that goes into putting them together and we never realize it until we go for it and try, especially creating all the content.
But you just got to do it on the fly because, as you know, from building the Bean Ninjas and the whole 7-day start-up thing that you did. I mean, the best way to do this, although it is stressful, is too kind of do it all at the same time and be the test of and see how it goes.
Yeah, you’re right. And if I hadn’t set that deadline back in March, I wouldn’t have completed that first version and then, that was really a good foundation to then get feedback and improve. And it’s been stressful again this time trying to improve it, and I think next time; so planning the next course launch in October. That’s well in advance so I know I’m going to rework and tweak some of the content before that. But this time, it’s happening before…
Yeah. But it’s right on three. Yeah, that’s okay.
Yeah. I don’t think I need it by then. So you’ve recently went to the Grow with Hubspot Conference. I’m really interested to hear about it and what your takeaways were, what you’re going to apply or take from there and apply in your business.
Yes. So one of the things, I mean, Hubspot, for those that don’t know, it’s a big marketing CRM platform; it’s one of the biggest one, sort of globally. I mean, it does has all the bells and whistles. It doesn’t just do marketing and sales. It’s a ton of things. So it’s a massive business.
But they run amazing conferences where you sort of go along and imagine it’s all going to be about marketing, but they’ve sort of morphed into this business-building. And they have some amazing streams and one of the workshops they had, which I just looked at it and thought, “Well, high-performing teams.” I mean, I have a lot of people, so…
And Atlassian, that amazing Australian company that just blows everyone’s mind, they had a segment and they came in and talked about how they are building high-performing teams. So it went long, it was a short session, but it was brilliant because it was interactive. So they got us to talk to the person next to us, which in a big room of 400 or 500 people is quite hard to do.
But it worked really well because they were asking us to remember, and I think this was what triggered me going this was a really good session; to recall a time that we were on a team at any point in our life that was amazing and why was it amazing. And then, we have to tell each other and some people spoke about, they were on a football team when they were a kid. And she asked us to identify what was the one thing that made it a really strong team.
And I realized, when I thought about it, the first thing that popped into my head was that I have worked; I spent ten years working on equity trading floors in investment banks. And when you’re in that environment, communication and trust that you’ve got each other’s back and you will not let each other fall is absolutely non-negotiable because there’s millions of dollars at stake in any one moment.
So I remember that moment of kind of working in that environment and realized a couple of things that I probably wasn’t bringing to my own team. And one of those elements was this sense of making sure that the whole team has a feeling of, “I’ve got your back and I will not let you fall,” for everyone else on the team without doing someone else’s job or mopping up someone else’s mess. It’s more like if we all feel that way about each other, and we will never let each other fall, even if a mistake happens. Well, if I see something.
And I thought, “I’m not fostering that enough within my team and we still have a little bit too much of silo behaviour.” Although that’s not my job or that’s someone else’s department. And I thought, “Yeah. I want to bring that into my team more.” That connectivity between different areas of the business; if that makes sense.
It does. And so, how are you thinking about going in and implementing that? It sounds like something that might take some cultural change or might be difficult to do.
Yes. So I think the first thing I’m going to do is talk about the experience I have at the conference with my team. So one of the things we do every day at The Virtual Hub is we have a daily huddle. Now, I call it a huddle but it’s kind of more often something slightly different; it’s more like a pipeline meeting. And on there we have the recruitment team, the master trainers’ team, we have the sales management team, we have the customer support and success team, we’ve got the HR and the operations team and the team leaders.
So it’s a huge meeting but it happens in 30 minutes flat. And everybody has their segments that they’re going to; we run pipelines to see like, basically, we’re matching supply and demand. That’s basically what I used to do on a trading floor as well. But what I noticed is that I had this rule where I used to say to people, “Don’t just listen to your segment because there’s information that might happen in 20 minutes time that I’m expecting you to hear that impacts your segment.”
And sometimes, I know they’re on mute and they’re doing something else, multitasking, and they’re like, “Oh, I’ve finished my beat now.” So it’s this communication and kind of; I’m just going to tell them the story about what’s happened, and then get their sort of input as to how we can do it better and what they take from that.
And the other thing that actually worked really effectively, which we spoke about in the previous podcast was the sprint concept that I did. Because during the sprint, it was like that; it was like this high-performing team that was so keen on everybody else’s actions and what they were doing and commending each other and stuff like that and kind of going, “I could use a bit of what you did there in what I’m doing.”
And I saw it during the two-week sprint, but it’s not something I see every day. So I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do it, but I just feel it’s something I want to do over the next six months.”Present to me the challenge you’re having and I’ll show you how to systemize it so that you don't have to spend so many hours doing it.“ Barbara Turley, CEO @virtualhubltd provides insights on how processes and systemization can help… Click To Tweet
I was thinking about the question that you were asked at the conference and trying to think back to when I felt like I was a part of a team like that. And it actually reminded me of a couple of different sports teams that I’ve been part of.
The one with an athletics team at high school and we wanted to win the championship and it was something like an 8-week lead up of training and meets before the final day. And it was really clear what our objective was, which was to win. And then, we also knew that we had to win a certain number of events to win the overall championship.
And so, it was exciting. We felt like we were on that path; everyone was training hard, everyone knew their role in the team. And I can still remember that now; it was 20 years ago now. But it felt great.
You know the feeling. It’s actually that feeling, yeah, it’s like, it’s harnessing a feeling.
And everyone was there supporting each other, cheering for each other’s events. And yeah, it was fantastic. So I’m going to think on that in terms of how to bring that back into Bean Ninjas. And we’re actually implementing a sprint; you’ll be pleased to know.
The first two weeks of each month are really busy for us with getting reports out to our clients. But the third and fourth week are a little bit quieter. So at the end of August, we’ve got our first sprint organized, and we’re just going to try one week just to give it a go. And then, we’re doing it with the sales part of the business.
Oh, great. Yes, love it.
So we’re bringing in people that also don’t necessarily work in sales to come and help and just all hands on deck with that; well, not with everyone but with a smaller group. And then, if that goes well, then we’ll bring more of the team in to do another sprint.
I was just thinking about this high-performing team thing when you were talking about the sports teams. It’s almost like in a sports team, it’s so obvious that it’s one team, one dream and all this kind of high-fiving and role training together and backing each other. And yet, in the business, it’s harder to get that sense of oneness with people, I think.
I think it is leadership, but even one or two people who are slightly toxic on a team can ruin it. It just, it starts to make you sort of look at deeper at all the different dynamics that are going on the team and where the trust is and where there are politics, for example, on business teams. I’ve been thinking about all these things; the silent, unsaid things that we’re not noticing.
So I’m just, I think from the talk, I just became a bit more heightened to ask myself, “Are we a high-performing team or do we just think we are?” And I came to the conclusion that, “We’re pretty good, but no, we’re not a high-performing team yet.” We’re there and we have the ability to be, but there are a couple of issues around trust, politics, and this sense of, “Well, I’m just in this team. I’m in this department and I’ve done my job and they’re messing up over there.” You know what I mean? Like, you need all the departments to kind of be backing each other.
It really reminds me of, if I go back; I’m going back with the sports analogies today, but I think about a football team and everyone’s really clear about their role. So they know; I’m talking AFL football, but the full back knows what their role of full back is in that team. And it might vary a little bit, team to team, depending on what their defensive strategy is.
But everyone’s really clear about what their role is and sometimes, you’ll have the forwards pushing back to help. They’re not just there to kick goals, they’re there to come back and help with defence because the overall objective is for that team to win.
But I think, something that helps in the sports team is that they have that clear role definition. And with a new business, I know we’ve continually evolved and adapted our roles in our departments and it’s much harder. I think it takes; in an established business, it has all of those roles clearly defined. But I know, in our four-year journey so far, we’ve continually adapted and evolved.
And so, it’s been more difficult for everyone to be really clear about what it means to excel in their role, which is probably a weakness on my part. And I know that’s something where we’re always working on, so everyone knows how [Inaudible 00:16:48].
Present to me the challenge you’re having and I’ll show you how to systemize it so that you don’t have to spend so many hours doing it.
Yeah, that’s tricky. You’re right, that is tricky with new roles or people morphing into new roles that can be, or it take them a while to figure that out. I think, you know, just as you were talking there, I was thinking, it’s this cross-pollination of; I guess this is something I want to talk to my team about. Each one of them are a player in their own right, actually. But they all have different skillsets and I would like to see more utilization of each other’s expertise to strengthen.
So for example, some people are very great at developing processes and process maps and streamlining and that kind of thing. Others are great at building dashboards or systems or talking to a client at their age, for example. So I want to see more in my team, I want to see more cross-pollination between them of sort of recognizing where someone else is strong where they might not be and learning from each other.
And then, how do you link that with things like performance or KPI’s? Because someone, if they have a clearly defined role, then they might have targets that they’re trying to meet. But for the overall business, it’s actually better, say that, using your example as someone is good at systems, their overall business would benefit if they went and helped someone in another department who wasn’t as strong there and help them to systemize and document that. But it doesn’t, it really neatly in their job description or with the targets that they try to hit. So how do you build that into their role? Or maybe it’s a cultural thing.
Yeah. I was just thinking as you were asking that. I’m not sure I know, but actually, maybe it is building a system where just like the sprint concept, maybe, every month, we would have a focus of the month where we might do a little; someone has to take the floor for half an hour after the huddle and go through like their process for building a process. The tools they are using, how to do; like a little training thing so everyone can share their knowledge a bit.
Now, that might not be; I don’t know if that would work. But I think step one would be for me to say to people, “Listen deeply when somebody else is speaking because there are no guts of gold in how they do things and how they problem-solve that might be different from how you do it.” It’s to be more inquisitive rather than just mute and start multitasking while somebody else is speaking. [Crosstalk 00:19:06]
Yeah, or just tune out. My team tell me they don’t really do that. But I know they are. I can feel it. Some of them do it. Like, you could learn a lot from listening to how one of the customer’s success team is navigating a difficult client.
Yes. I’m laughing because I think I’ve been a culprit of that, too. We build, we use and the video off. I like really fast meetings, so if I’m meeting [Crosstalk 00:19:32], which is bad. That’s not setting a good example. And really, maybe that’s a reflection on that we need to improve that meeting.
Well, here’s an example actually, just, for all the listeners, these podcasts are really off the cuff between Meryl and I. So often, we come up with the concepts and the ideas while we’re chatting, so you get this like intimate conversation. But when I was just thinking about this, one of my team has done this really well.
And she has, I mean, she manages a lot of big pipelines. She actually manages our entire HR department. And I noticed that she had started to mirror very deeply how I was running the pipelines and how I run the huddles and how I run the sprints. And she implemented everything that I had sort of done across the business into her own department.
So she has like six different pipelines, each person knows exactly what they’re accountable for. They have huddles, they have; they run everything the same way. So they’ve mirrored this in a department that we do across the whole business. Some of the other departments do this as well. But she said, “I learned it from listening to you. I learned it from watching the others and going that’s a really clever way to do it.” And she just implements this herself.
So that’s, for me, I’m like, that’s high-performing, you know, for me not to have to mentor that is pretty epic for me that she just picked that up by virtue of being part of the team.
Yes. And they’re the kind of people that you want on a team where they’re looking at; they’re not just looking at their own area of expertise. And I think that’s what we do as entrepreneurs is look at all what’s happening in another, an adjacent industry or what’s happening in another type of business and then bring that back to your own business. And it’s great if you can have leaders within your business that are looking at what can they learn from wherever really and then bring that back to their department.
From wherever, exactly. Yeah. So yeah, it comes back to this thing of rather than just thinking about doing the job and meeting your targets and your KPI’s, it’s encouraging your leadership team to go, you know, “Don’t just get stuck down in the trenches of every day to doing. Look up and open your eyes and mind to kind of see what else is happening around you and listening differently.”
Maybe that’s it to sort of think about, “Well, how could I reduce my own overwhelm? Or maybe somebody else is doing it differently and I can learn from someone else.” I think that’s kind of where I want to go with it. And just purely discuss with the team that I attended this session and this is what I’m thinking. And then, let them actually come up, digest that, maybe come back with some ideas for each one of them themselves about how they will take that.
So I’ll give you a scenario of a situation and see how you would handle it. And then, the other is I just wanted to follow on from your comment around listening. And I’ve heard that from multiple sources, from a couple of podcasts that I’ve listened to and I can’t remember exactly what they were, but they were talking about the importance of really listening.
So not just listening to the words but what is someone meaning and implying and not saying and really developing those skills rather than just thinking about what you’re going to say next.
Our whole business is about teaching business owners how to delegate. You need to start teaching your teams, your team leaders and your leadership team, how to delegate effectively because otherwise, they’re going to get tied up in constant ‘doing’.
After hearing that, that’s something that I’ve been thinking about. And then the scenario is how would you handle a situation in your team where you’ve got someone who, they’re doing what we’ve just talked about where they’ve got some ideas and they’re wanting to create something new, but they’re dropping the ball a bit on their day-to-day tasks? So how would you handle that situation?
Yes. That is a great question. Let me have a think about that. They’re dropping the ball on… Yup. So one of the things I learned from the sprint that we did, if you recall, and anyone who wants to go back to listen to that episode, one of the rules that I set of the game was that there was to be no working overtime within reason; we sort of did in the end. But nobody was allowed to kind of work ‘til midnight to do it.
And the objective of that was to see how successfully could some of my leadership team delegate down their own channel some of the work that needs to be done that they are probably doing themselves now were they probably shouldn’t be and it was to teach them how to delegate more effectively.
So I think if somebody came to me and that was happening, I would challenge them to say, “You might need to pause this project that you want to do or this thing you’re trying to do because you got to learn that skill first of how do you take on something like a project that you’re very excited about without dropping the ball on your actual day-to-day; running the engine of the business of your area tasks?”
“Now, if you don’t have anyone to delegate them to, well, then, maybe we need to look at the processes. Maybe there’s automation we should put in. Maybe you need to start thinking differently about how you free up your time and make your area more efficient so that you can now go and do more cool stuff.”
That’s a great answer.
I actually made that up. Because that’s what I’m really good at. I have said to my team before, “Come and present to me the challenge you’re having because I’ll show you how to systemize that up so that you don’t have to spend so many hours doing it.
So the answer that you gave about freeing up your time, that reminds me of an early episode we did on the Bean Ninjas Podcast, which we can link to it if you like as well. And it was from a coach called Mandi who teaches service businesses how to scale up. And she said one of the lessons that she learned when she was doing her coaching because she’s got all these strategies to help you scale, she realized that no one could implement anything because none of the business owners had any time to do it.
Yes. A lot of Australians just suffer from that problem. They’re like, “I have all these great ideas for you.” Business owners are like, “But you gave me a massive to-do list.”
Yeah. The four-step in her program is actually, I think it’s called something like Find Time Now! and it’s helping her them to, first of all, look at where are all of their times being spent I think through some kind of time tracking and then you have to eliminate ten hours; ten hours a week, and then you can start to implement these other projects.
And so I found that a really interesting insight from her around how; the problem that she faced that people weren’t getting results and then how she addressed that.
Yeah. Because the natural tendency is for us to just inflate time. So I want; I’m very strict with my team around the hours that they work and I always say to them, “That’s why I set the rule during the sprint.” I was like, “The challenge I’m going to throw you is not just the project you’re going to work on on the sprint but how you’re going to carve out the time to do it without dropping the ball.”
And that was something we discussed as a team in the two weeks before we started sprint and I had individual meetings with each one of the people to say, “Okay. What can we pause?” Because there were certain operational things we were able to pause for, just for the duration. And those meetings for me were about me helping them to see where the inefficiencies were already in their own role.
And just, I realized that just like our whole business is about teaching business owners how to delegate, once you start to grow a large team, you need to start teaching your teams, your team leaders and your leadership team how to delegate effectively as well because otherwise, they’re going to get tied up in constant to doing and they might have people on their team that are not doing a lot really. And you’re hiring people to assist them, but they’re not getting the most out of them because they don’t know how.
So that came out of that as well. I was realizing, we had a lot of lower-end staff that were just sort of floating around, waiting to be told what to do and my leadership team were still doing tasks that they shouldn’t be doing because they should be delegating it down the channel. But they were too nervous and trust issue.
So actually, when we’re at this high-performing team thing, I’ve just realized from saying that I need to teach my leadership team in this whole discussion about how they also need to produce high-performing teams for themselves as well and have good communication, good trust and their sense of, “I’ve got your back,” on their own team. If all of that makes sense.
No, it does. And that’s got me thinking as well around how do you instil that and how do you train them? Because I know as an entrepreneur, I’ve invested in a lot of training and coaching myself over the last four years, and it’s been on a variety of things, but a lot of it has been around how I improve my own performance and managing my own time and energy levels.
And I think a lot of business owners invest in themselves. How do you pass that knowledge on to your leadership team because a lot of the training and that kind of coaching is pitched at the business owner, not at a management team?
Absolutely. And you know what? On this point, I think where business owners go wrong with this is I see this happen all the time with VAs. The business owner goes, “Oh my God. I attended this group training and I have the videos of it. I want you to watch the videos and I want you to do what they say.”
And I’m like, “Okay. That’s a disaster,” because that’s called overwhelm; a bucket load of overwhelm for your team because first of all, they’re not the business owner. And you’re right, the trainings and seminars and conferences that you attend are pitched at you; and the entrepreneur, and the mindset, and everything’s totally different.
It’s your job, I feel any way to come back and distil it down into not even a concept. You’ve actually got to distil it further into kind of what do that mean for me. Going back to my sprint again, it would be like, “Well, what is the problem I want to solve? Like, so what’s the problem I want to tackle from the learning that I got from this seminar I went to or whatever? And then, what would it take to do that?”
So for example, with this team thing, how do I get my leaders to create their own high-performing teams? Well, first of all, they’ve got to look at their own task list first. And I probably would have to challenge them to say, “This week, I would like you to go through your task list and ask yourself, am I the one that really needs to be doing all of these tasks or could somebody on my team do this task?”
And maybe isolate three of them and start to process them up properly and start to delegate them. And it’s chunking it down, and maybe that’s a bit micromanaging; I don’t know. But I think for team anyway, I think my job is to not just dump them with a concept and expect them to come back with the solution. It’s more to kind of develop it out a bit more into what they can actually implement.
And you know, it is micromanaging. But for my perspective then, you would have to set its own process person and so are you. So I like the idea that each one of them would be rolling out a sort of a process that we’ve developed as a leadership team rather than everyone going off in their own time, in their own version of it and then you don’t know what’s happening in any team; if all of that makes sense.
Do you think we can have a successful leader in a business who’s not process-oriented?
Look. I’m biased because I think you can if they have a co-founder or a co-something where the relationship is extremely good and the other person is more of an integrator.
I mean more, so not necessarily at the top-level, but say your leadership team. So say, you’ve got marketing, HR, finance?
Yeah. The answer is no. For me personally, no. I think what happens there is in my experience anyway, you hire someone in a role that loves the concepts, loves kind of talking in big, flowery language and sharing ideas and expecting their team to just pick up the baton off the ground and be able to run with it.
And then, what you have is headless chickens running around everywhere, and everyone thinking somebody else was doing that part of the role or I didn’t know that was my responsibility. I don’t believe so, but I’m happy for anyone to challenge me out. That’s my experience.
It’s interesting because I have a similar view that the leader needs to be across metrics, be process-driven and with good strategy as well as managing the team to go lead it. So who’s doing what by when.
I think that’s leadership. I think there’s management and then there’s leadership. Now, unless you’ve got loads of money to spend and you can have a leader of a department who has a manager who implements and manages, but again, that’s just wasteful. I think in a department, it’s different at the very top.
But yeah, I agree with you. I think you need to be; leadership is about mapping out, creating the map that your team can then start to follow and implement and meet metrics and things like that.
I wonder if our view is based on small business because I think in huge businesses, maybe there’s room for the thinkers that are just great at strategy and not at execution. Because I think there’s a lot of people, those kind of people around and those skills must be valuable. So I wonder if it seems like we have a similar view.
They have execution people under them. If you don’t have the execution person somewhere within the team, I don’t think you can have like team members and then the kind of vision person. It’s actually, whatever they created to is the business is they have the visionary entrepreneur and then the team and there’s no integrator.
And therefore, starting with their team, their team is always overwhelmed and the business doesn’t really ever take off properly because the entrepreneur is just like the crazy visionary who can’t put it into a roadmap.
I think that the lesson from this conversation is that with small businesses, be very careful if you’re hiring the visionary-types within your team because a small business really needs executors. And as you grow and grow and grow, maybe there’s room for the strategist that I think that’s something to be really careful about when you’re hiring.
I would agree with that 100% because I have done it and it doesn’t work. You need implementers in small business if you are the visionary. If you are a business owner who is more of an implementer or an integrator, more of an operations-person, maybe you do need a visionary. But those people turn out to build businesses.
Yeah. They might need to be a co-founder.
Exactly. You might have a co-founder then. Yeah.
We’ve had some; we’ve taken this chat in all sorts of interesting directions. I really enjoy it actually, just having the chance to ask these questions and get your perspective and it’s interesting we had found similar perspectives, some different…
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’re all navigating this stuff. I often say on podcast that look, actually, most of the stuff I’m implementing and learning these days are not from coaches or conferences or seminars. It’s from problems of me going, “Oh, there’s a problem there. This friction point, I don’t know what to do with this,” and just having to sit down and think about.
And actually, having this podcast with you helps us to talk it out, so it’s good for listeners as well to get that perspective I think of us just talking through problems and coming up with solutions.
Yeah. It’s good that we’re not professing to have all the answers. This is just what we think at this moment in time and as we learn more, or a year down the track in our business journey, we might have a different perspective on some of this.
These are what we’re thinking about at the moment and what we’re learning and what were the challenges that we’re facing.
Absolutely. No, that’s been really, really insightful. So we’re gearing up for our next one, so we’re going to be doing, good feels actually because these are, I think these three are valuable podcasts, too. Can’t wait to get them out to the world.
Absolutely. Well, we probably have to sneak in one more before you’re off on maternity leave. We’ll have to see how the timing goes for you.
Yes, I know. I’m due in 10 days from recording day today. So we might squeeze another one in.
Maybe. When the baby arrives early.
We should quick one out before the baby comes and then we can resume in a couple of months. Listen, I don’t know if I’ll ever be, maybe we should do a podcast on that, how I’m actually navigating this concept called maternity leave when you run a big company.
Talk to you for another day. Thanks, Meryl.
Yeah. Thanks so much, Barb. Chat next time.
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Contact Barbara Turley:
- Barbara Turley (Linked In)
- The Virtual Hub
References and Links Mentioned:
- Grow with Hubspot
- Inbound 2020
- Google AdWords
- Google Data Studio
- FREE Xero Small Business Toolkit