So far in this series I’ve discussed how to prepare your team or organization for successful expansion, how to plant the right elements into the mix, and then how to ensure sustainable growth by “watering.”
Adding fertilizer comes next. Think of this step as finding ways to spark excitement, provide motivational guidance, or even remedy a malady.
An example of fertilizing would be how we publicized annual company goals for the first time ever in 2013. When we had fewer employees, everyone instinctively knew where the company was trying to head and what we were striving to achieve. But with more than 25 people, the future vision of the company isn’t a given. We needed to clarify what we were working toward so that everyone felt ownership of the company’s goals. This year, Greg, Tim, and I came up with the goals and we’ve been holding quarterly company-wide assessments of how we’re performing against them. Next year we intend for everyone to be involved in the goal-creating process.
Another example of fertilizing is how we’ve begun asking certain employees to present their successful project work, brown-bag-style, to the rest of the staff. It might be the end product itself, or the way the work was prepared that we deem thought leading and beneficial for the rest of the company to hear about and learn from. It’s also a way to recognize particularly impressive efforts—to remind hard workers that we’re paying attention.
And finally, a garden sometimes needs fertilizer in order to head off a malady. In our case, we try to come up with ways to avoid roadblocks in our work. One example is how leaders in our design group took it upon themselves to set up biweekly design-review meetings. These sessions are only to solve issues—people stop in if they’re stumped by something or simply want to run ideas by their peers to ensure their work is the best it can be. We all respect and appreciate each other’s opinions and experience, so these meetings give everyone a chance to improve client deliverables by harnessing the power of the whole creative group.
Here are some ways you can “add fertilizer” to give your team an extra boost:
- Take stock of the ways you could inject something motivational into employees’ weekly, monthly or yearly routines.
- If you’re already discussing future goals, make sure those goals are tangible and realistic (even though they may be a stretch).
- Ask yourself this: do employees honestly feel that they can contribute to the overall company’s success? If not, make sure they do.
- Provide outlets for creative exchange and feedback to make sure no one’s working in a vacuum.
Next up: Tilling and experimenting!
Illustration by Ruslan Khaydarov.