Original Posting July 14, 2010, by Tiffany Johnson
Consider this scenario:
You recently started working as an OBM with your ‘ideal client’ who has a very strong but independent team in place already. You need to learn the business, assess your team and build your client’s confidence in you. Any one of these key components can be a disaster in the making and yet you need to do all 3 and preferably in the first 90 days!
Sound familiar? Well if you have ever joined a 7 figure team for an ideal client, it does. As this is the reality you face from day one. There’s the biz, the client and the team… the good news is you are likely qualified to handle the biz, the client is ready – that’s why they hired you, right? – but the team may not be quite so ready for you to come into the business.
From the team’s perspective, you are essentially a ‘stranger’ and they quite honestly may not welcome you with open arms. It’s not that they are purposely giving you the cold shoulder, it’s just that they don’t know you yet and your role in the company may change the flow/structure of how they work with the business owner already (and it is human nature to be resistant to change).
I have been in this situation a few times, and have put a plan together to assist you in developing team relationships for the purpose of creating a climate of lean productivity and personal gratification.
So here are my 3 key elements:
- The old saying “folks don’t care what you know till they know you care” is a major player in developing team relationships specifically if you are the new kid on the block. Let me tell you why… if all you are concerned with is the productivity and not the personality you will likely end up with a very rigid working relationship. This type of relationship will not produce quality work, helpful attitudes or that ‘go the extra mile’ philosophy. I always like to start team relationships with an assessment finding out what the skill level of each team member is and finding out what they really enjoy and what they prefer to not do. After the assessment, I have a conversation with them about where their business is going what they are learning or struggling with and how I can assist them in meeting their personal goals. This goes a long way in ensuring a healthy relationship with each team member.
A small investment of time and interest but trust me has a HUGE payoff in the long run.
- Be completely upfront with your communication. Let each team member know exactly what your expectation of their role in the business is and make sure they are completely comfortable with it. If you have a high-level VA handling your social media and shopping cart for your client you may think they are happy to do billing collections or follow up phone calls when in reality that is not at all something they enjoy. When someone is expected to do what they do not enjoy they will not be as productive in that area, nor will they exert the same amount of expertise or precision. If you find you have teammates with tasks that do not fit their skills or likes don’t hesitate to move tasks around, even if it means hiring another team member! This is best for the business in the long run and will assist each team member in being able to trust you (you care).
- Don’t ask anything of the team you are not willing to do yourself. If you are requesting the team keep their hours in a virtual office, keep yours in there. If you expect a team member to work through the weekend to get a project out, be accessible through that weekend for your team member.
Closing thoughts: As an OBM, you need to understand the Law of the Lid which basically means you’re your leadership ability will determine the effectiveness of the team and the business. If a leader is strong then the possibilities are limitless; if the leader is weak then you hit the LID! So be strong as an OBM, be strong in leadership for your client and your team. Make the possibilities limitless!