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May
17
2017
Client Type 3

Creating a Team Culture in Your Business

What it looks like to work with my team

Reina + Co isn’t just run by me. Yes, you see my face all the time but there are incredible women who support me on my team. The feedback that I get from them is that it’s one of the best client/contractor relationships because it doesn’t feel like they’re just working with me. They are definitely part of a unit that makes up Reina + Co.

Recently one of my teammates came to me and expressed some concerns about morale. Her feedback was not one of “fix this” but more about a shift that’s necessary in our company culture to get us back to center. I’m open to more conversations and check-ins about this very topic. While it’s never easy to have these conversations, it made me reflect on the health of our organization that she was able and willing to come to me with her concerns before the became bigger issues. It’s not the problem but how we deal with this issue that will determine the ultimate outcome.

Even if you’re a one person show right now, you might get to a point in your business when you’ll want to hire to get some help. If you have people on your team or are in the process of bringing people onto your team, these are things to consider.

Creating a Team Culture in Your Business Reina + Co | Life + Biz Success Coaching Ⓡ

Systems + Processes.

Logistically speaking, you’ll want to have systems in place to be able to hand something off. Think about it this way. If you had to go handle a family emergency and had to leave your business for a few days, what would somebody need to know in order to make that happen?

How to do this:

You could create a handbook in Google Sites (a trick we learned from Amber McCue), write everything into a google doc, record a video with instructions on Loom (the best screen record video I’ve ever used). We use LastPass to protect and give access to our team members that require passwords.

A “WE” Culture.

Even though most of your teammates might be 1099 contractor positions, think of ways you can create a culture that includes your team into the mix. Research shows that when people feel like they’re part of the bigger whole, they’ll feel more invested making them more likely to work harder for the cause.

How to do this:

Have team meetings every month or every other week. Get to know them as a person, not just your contractor. Have a way to acknowledge teammates for the impact they are making.

Collaborative work: Between team members.

As a solopreneur, we might wear a lot of hats; once you bring people on board, you might feel like you have to manage each new person you bring on board. If you have a “we” culture, you might find that your team members cross communicating without you can lead to more expedient and creative approaches. Collaboration between people who understand the culture and value proposition can mean for better work quality. Don’t feel like all the decisions have to go back to you.

How to do this:

We communicate on slack as a team. We have threads to communicate with more than one team member that are recurring (like: blogsocialnewsletter, branding, weekly check-ins) and we make sure that team members feel empowered to work with others via the thread or through a private message.

From the Team:

Rachel Wortmann“I’ve been with the Reina + Co team since January 2016, so as the team has grown it’s been great to have one-on-one relationships with each new person. Talking with and getting to know each individual on board is key to a healthy and happy team environment. Not only for team morale but it also allows us to be more productive. Because Reina empowers us to make decisions and choices that a micro-manager would need to make themselves, projects get done quicker and communication overall is much more efficient. This means every other week I have a one-on-one call with team members to delegate work to them and get feedback on what’s working and not with our workflows and culture. It’s a good way to check in with each other, and keeps things efficient so we don’t need to share all the things on team-wide calls which really should just be one-on-one meetings.”

They don’t treat me like a client. I don’t treat them like they work FOR me.

So much of the dynamic we have on our team is based on the fact that we don’t do boss/subordinate, /contractor relationships. I see each person as a vital gear in the bigger operation that is our team. Their knowledge, expertise both in and out of the business is helpful in executing on our objectives.

How to do this:

Find a team or teammate that you want to be with. While it is still a job, we have to switch our mindset from traditional working roles to something that’s a little more personal, a little more humanly invested. Take interested in people’s personal lives and personal achievements.

From the Team: 

“Long before I decided to actually write my services page or seek clients I made a conscious decision of WHO I wanted to work with – someone that saw this as a team relationship, wanted my input and feedback, and felt supportive and friendly. Other people may seek out different attributes, but this was vital to me. When Reina and I started communicating it was extremely clear from the start that we both felt similarly about a team mentality, which was a huge ‘green light’ in my books. If you haven’t thought of the attributes and qualities you want to work with or for, I highly recommend doing that first!”

 

 

Celebrate.

When there are achievements, teams have opportunities to lift others up. Whether it’s a team win or a personal achievement win, create a culture that acknowledges progress and success.

How to do this:

On Team Sunshine, we have a slack channel just for #highfives where we encourage teammates to acknowledge great performance, a great blog post that was written, a well crafted social media post, a birthday, really anything that brings a little extra joy! You could also send them small gifts or cards when there’s something worth celebrating.

Mentorship. Teaching. Education.

I know, with contractors you’re not “supposed to” have to train them. They’re just supposed to take care of you right? I’m not saying my way is correct by any means but this is what works for us. I’ve made it a point to hire people who are ambitious, have the right kind of energy for our team chemistry, and are willing to learn before people who are total experts at something. To me, it’s more valuable to have somebody who is willing to try and learn rather than somebody who knows it all from another business that might have blind spots in my business.

How to do this:

To fill the gaps in knowledge and expertise, I choose to mentor, teach and provide them with necessary education. For example, my teammates know that if they ever want to hash anything out, we can schedule a time to do so. They also know that when necessary, we can purchase courses or guidance from other professionals in specific areas (SEO, Active Campaign, Leadpages, Facebook Ads, Instagram).

From the Team:

“I love that Reina allows the team to really flourish and learn new things. Having her invest in us, means we want to invest more into the brand; at least I can say that for myself. It creates an open culture of learning and feeling open to ask questions if we truly don’t 100% understand something. To me, one of my first questions in an interview is, “will I be able to receive professional development in this position?” I love that Reina+Co fits that criteria and why I love the team so much! I feel like we are always learning and we all want to learn together.”

Mistake making.

This might seem totally counter-intuitive. Like you wouldn’t want your team to be making mistakes. However, with a good feedback loop (which is also difficult so we could discuss this in a whole separate blog), mistakes can be remedied. I take the opinion that virtually nothing is fatal and that small mistakes are where we learn and can grow.

How to do this:

Give your new team members small projects with enough instructions so they know what you’re expecting, but also enough room for them to do it “their way” and find a system that works for them. Once completed, have a discussion with them to see how it went, any feedback you have. If they totally mess up, it might be on them, but most likely it’s our haste that made it so we didn’t explain it well enough for them to execute to our liking.


Show them the big picture.

If you’ve worked as a minion in a corporate entity, you know that your work is making microscopic movements in the huge corporate machine. In a smaller business, a teammate’s impact is much bigger. Instead of simply assigning tasks, talk about the project as a whole, how it impacts others and where they fit into the mix. People are intrinsically motivated when we know the purpose of a project and how we can contribute to that bigger picture goal. We love being part of things.

How do this:

When introducing a new project, talk about what it means to the business, the impact you hope to make with the ultimate client and subsequent other impacts that might be gained. In practice, this might take place during one of your team meetings. You could also choose to do an internal business newsletter.


I love studying organizational psychology and how motivation and team cohesion intersect but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on this. I know how I’ve been treated in jobs. I know how I like to interact with others. I also know what has worked for our team. In the future, I really do hope to grow and continue making the bonds on our team stronger so that we are working as a single unit.

What tips do you  have for creating a team culture within your business?

 

Check out all the ways you can work with Reina!

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Join the Conversation
  • Love this. Being a “we” and having a great atmosphere is one of the best “benefits” you can provide your employees

    May 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM

  • Reina

    Thanks so much!

    June 29, 2017 at 1:37 AM

  • This was exactly what I needed to read since my hope is to expand my team this summer 🙂 Thank you!

    May 23, 2017 at 2:56 AM

  • Reina

    Yay! Congrats! If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out.

    June 29, 2017 at 1:50 AM