Common pitfalls to avoid when growing your business

Taking your business to the next level may feel like trial and error. But by avoiding simple mistakes, you can supercharge your growth
Common pitfalls to avoid when growing your business
By Rajesh Nagee
Tue 14 Jun 2016 11:42 AM

Taking your business to the next level may feel like trial and error. But by avoiding simple mistakes, you can supercharge your growth - by Rajesh Nagee

Building a company is no easy task. But avoiding the simple traps most budding business owners fall into will give you a leg up on the competition.

For example, many companies de-energize their staff on a regular basis. Bosses stand on pedestals and say things like, "something's wrong here." These negative words become part of the company lexicon, along with "should", "must", and "have to".

But by the very definition of being right, sometimes something must go wrong. To accelerate your results, perhaps it's time to motivate your staff through the use of a new, emotionally-based way of communication with people. Talk to them, nurture them and converse with them in an understanding way. That way they are more inclined to start doing the right thing, unprompted.

A second common mistake lies in not acknowledging your staff's contributions to a project. Recognizing your employees means letting them know their value.

Every time you notice a member of staff contributing that little bit extra, tell them. It makes them feel happy, but most importantly, they feel valued.

This is highly motivating. Ultimately, this leads to more discretionary effort – or the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, above and beyond the minimum required. That effort will trickle down to your customers, saving costs and accelerating growth.

Sometimes work can be a drag. But have you noticed how engaged people feel when they are playing a game? When it comes to business, many CEO's fail to create what I like to call a 'game condition.' Without it, employees work listlessly.

They don't enjoy work; they don't want to do anything unless they are strictly tasked with doing so. This creates low productivity.

To create a more fun working environment, consider installing the four pillars of game condition – freedom, barriers, purpose and choice to participate. Reward people who achieve their goals (just like in a real game) and invoke their natural urge to play.

Rajesh Nagee is a CEO Coach and founder of The CEO's Business Growth Program

Many businesses create an environment of promises and commitments, a black and white world where you did what you said you would do, or you did not. This promotes face-saving behaviour, as employees would rather use stories and excuses as justification for not completing a task.

Instead of making your staff justify why they didn't fulfil their commitments, let them know the reasons for asking them to do it in the first place.

Let them know that they are not being analysed, and if they do make a mistake ask them to acknowledge it – and agree not to do it again. This brings elements of authenticity and transparency into the workplace.

This leads on to my next point – being able to relate to your staff. Do you dictate or bully employees into doing work?

Often, this is counter-productive as it produces resistance in a business. You might pride yourself on the ability to 'make things happen', but you might have left an employee in your wake who now distrusts or resents you.

A better option is the 'enrolling' approach – which involves explaining the problem to an employee, and asking for their feedback. This ensures every opinion is respected.

Lastly, it's amazing how little heads of companies actually listen to their staff. You might think you take in what people have to say, but you might simply be hearing, not actually listening.

Real listening involves suspending judgement; it means valuing other people's opinions and readily acknowledging that sometimes you're not always right. Get off your high horse, and benefit from the collective genius of your staff. Eliminate these common mistakes, and there's no telling how quickly your business might grow.

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