Dear Carnegie Coach:
I have recently left my job of 15 years at a computer component design firm to pursue my dream of starting my own company. After some serious thought and plenty of advice, I have chosen to upstart an internet routing service. Now that things are underway, I was just wondering if you have any advice for me on key things to remember as my firm grows and matures. Thanks.
It sounds like you have already obtained some advice from colleagues on a how to focus on your company vision and grow your business, which is a great place to begin. That being said, it is important that you make your firm worker-friendly so that it becomes a great place to work, in terms of both productivity and company culture. Here are a few ideas to consider as you move forward:
- Build a core team of leaders in the company. As you begin to expand your firm, you need a group of team leaders to follow. Obviously, the size of your firm impacts how many leaders you need at any given time, but a strong leadership base is key to the overall success of any company. These should be drawn from all ranks, not just top management. Choose the natural leaders as well as those in highly influential positions – who are already experienced leading people.
- Communicate the importance of your company vision. Make sure every employee knows your intentions for the future and growth of the company. This can be built around a strong mission statement which communicates your expectations for employees as well as for future success. Your core team will then be the role models that make this vision a reality through your employees.
- Listen to the employees. Hold meetings with all your employees, reassuring them that there will be no repercussions for anything negative that is said. Announce an open door policy and stick to it – listen to every idea that’s presented without criticizing it.
- Create teams. You want your employees to be contributors, not workers. Create cross-functional work teams that meet to discuss and resolve problems. The employees will not only begin to feel respected and valued, but they will also learn to trust their new co-workers.
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