Chapter 12: Team Building
Over the next week or so Scarlett continued to check in with her colleagues and employees. She wanted to continue to nurture her relationships and especially see if Melissa was going to be the right fit going forward. She had been as supportive of Melissa as she could even though she was still finding many errors in her work.
She stopped by Melissa’s desk and said, “How are you doing today?”
Melissa looked up looking a little bit overwhelmed, “This project you gave me hard. I am feeling stuck again.”
“How can I help you Melissa? Can I give some of it to Steve to do?”
“No, no it is my work, but I don’t know if I can get it done.”
“Melissa, maybe this is not the right fit for you? As much as we have been working so much better together I am still seeing errors in your work. Maybe the detailed stuff is just not where your strengths lie?”
“Oh no I can’t lose this job. You know I have a son and am a single mom. I really need the money.”
“Yes, I know. I did have a preliminary conversation with Jason out in the tax division about you and he needs some help on his administrative staff. He has a much larger organization and so he has some project support that he could use help with. He was open to bringing you aboard. What do you think?”
“Well I don’t love the change, but at least I would still have a job. I know some of the folks over there and they seem nice.”
“I think it may be a better fit for you and more interesting work. I will contact Jason to make the transition happen in the next week or two.”
“Thanks Scarlett. I am sorry this didn’t’ work out. I thought I could do it and I did see some of the changes you were trying to implement, but maybe you are right that I need to move on.”
“Thanks for all that you have done for me. I do appreciate it and am glad that we could find a better fit for you.”
The next day Scarlett met again with Jack and was feeling conflicted. She felt like she was making progress in creating more balance and building stronger working relationships, but felt so bad that she had lost another admin in such a short amount of time.
“Scarlett, when people aren’t the right fit for a role it is hard on everyone. Putting the right people in the right roles is critical to the success of any good leader. That is why I wanted you to share the vision with your team to see if they were really aligned with it. Now you can see Melissa wasn’t and can work with HR to get the right person in place to take your team to the next level. Sometimes letting go is the best thing that you can do so that something better can come in. “
“I know I am not very good at letting go I have to say. I do hold on when I find people because I don’t’ want to keep training them, but I needed to do this..”
“Yes and now you know the right criteria for hiring and have built up the muscle for building strong relationships - being open and transparent in what you need out of your team.”
“You are right. Thank you for the reminder. I do feel like I have come a long way and this is perhaps a good lesson in choosing the best person for the job even if it takes a little bit longer to find. “
“You are right. So as you know this is our last session, so what do you want to focus on in our remaining time?”
“Well, I want to know how to make sure that I am keeping moving in the right direction towards my vision and then how to launch this into something bigger.”
“Well keeping your vision as a living, breathing document is the first step. We all have an idea of what we want out of our business, out of our future, but we’re human and that means we’re always changing. Combine that with a market that changes and a clientele that changes, and it becomes imperative that you keep you vision flexible and sustainable.”
“Keep revisiting it annually—and more frequently if you get stuck. Keep checking in with yourself and your team to see if you are moving in the direction you truly want to be moving in and make course corrections if you are not.
“In terms of launching this into something bigger, that is where building your relationships and truly building a vision that you can align others around come in. Just like you told me with your client Bernie, you have good relationships with clients. They want to feel cared for and valued. So keep investing in them and the future that you are helping them to create. Scarlett, let me ask you a question—do you know the value that you bring to your clients?”
“I hadn’t really thought about that—I only thought about whether they were happy with my service.”
“You have to think broader, Scarlett. In your work, you truly ensure that a person’s legacy and estate is taken care of and executed in the way that is true to their values. You are creating lasting memories with their families, and you are creating a source of gratitude in a time of grief. So know that what you are doing is making a difference. Go in with a mindset of creating value for them and build a team that is as passionate about that vision as you are. If you do all of that, then you will build a lasting, thriving, growing practice.”
“Wow,” Scarlett said. “You always have such amazing insight. I know that with my clients I always tell them to review their will and trust each year to ensure that they are still valid, and yet I never thought to do that with my own goals. Plus, reviewing my goals with my team each year will ensure that we are aligned and working towards that common end-state. I see now how important that is in bringing people together, building trust and being in alignment.
“I will begin interviewing new people for the open spot on my team as well as Melissa’s back fill now, and will use your guidance.”
“That’s great,” Jack said. “By building the right team now it will make that whole process of sustaining it, growing it, and making it thrive that much easier. People will want to be aligned with you because your vision and theirs are already so close in alignment. You will be able to truly feel the power of your team growing each day as you bring on more and more of the right people. Trust the process. It really works.”
“Thank you so much, Jack. This has been an amazing experience. Thank you for believing in me, providing me with some of the keys for leadership, and helping me create a vision I love. I can’t express how grateful I am to you.”
“Well, thank you. I appreciate the kind words, and I want to congratulate you for all the time and effort you have put into making this happen. I can only coach and guide; you have to put in the time and effort, and you’re doing it. You have made so much progress and I am so happy for you. Keep me posted on how things are progressing for you.”
“I definitely will.”
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.