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Practicing Leadership in the Face of Fear

Business owners wear many hats—especially if the business is new and small. Accounting, sales, project management, and communicating with clients all falls on the shoulders of the person in charge. All of these moving parts can make for some pretty serious obstacles, both for the leader and the team. There can be a lot of fear involved in running a business, especially when things aren’t going well. Maybe you’ve lost your biggest client or sales have dipped to an alarming low. Whatever the situation, fear is likely to show up. Fear is normal, but what happens when fear begins to take over is when the real problem begins. For many people, fear can block creativity channels, making it hard to come up with solutions and innovative ideas. But, there are ways to navigate through fear, making it possible to practice good leadership amidst serious situations.

The next time you sense fear taking over, consider using these techniques to move through it:

Recognize the feeling of fear

Fear can feel different to each person. It’s important to reflect on how fear shows up in your body. Do you feel it in your gut? In your shoulders? Your throat? When you identify what fear feels like, it’s easier to know when you might be acting out in response to it. When this happens, it’s crucial to slow down, acknowledge the fear, and practice courage to keep moving forward and making decisions based on strategy and innovation, not fear and worry.

Know how you want to respond

Navigating fear while trying to run a business and practice good leadership for your team members is probably one of the hardest things a business owner will learn to do. When you acknowledge your own fear, remember to slow down and think about your next steps. Your team members are watching you and using the decisions you make as a guideline for what’s expected of them in the same types of situations. Use communication as a way to build up your team, and reiterate expectations while acknowledging the difficult situation.

Embrace creativity

While it can be difficult to practice creativity in a time of fear, its crucial when it comes to finding a solution. Give your team the permission to be creative, nothing is off limits, no idea is a bad one. When your team feels free to explore boundaries and practice creative approaches to solving problems, you’re much more likely to find a solution that works.

Is fear getting in your way? If it is, our team at Quadrivium Advisors can help! Connect with us here.

Why Onboarding is Crucial to Employee Retention

The onboarding process for new employees is often misunderstood. Employees have the task of making good first impressions, setting standards, and getting to know their new team. However, onboarding is just as important for the employer as it is for the employee. A positive onboarding experience can influence employees in their decision to remain with their employers long-term. A negative onboarding experience can have long-term effects, especially when it comes to high turnover and low employee satisfaction. If your onboarding systems could use some polishing, keep these tips in mind.

  • Be prepared. As an employer, it’s important to make sure your employee has the tools and resources they need to do their job well. This means having a parking pass, access to the building, a computer, and other basic resources.
  • One on One Meetings. A survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that employees who were given the opportunity for one on one meetings with their manager had lasting effects on their long-term satisfaction. The study showed that one on one meetings that took place within the first week of employment helped employees with growing their internal network, improved the quality of meetings, and increased time spent collaborating with other colleagues.
  • Know Your Employees Role. It’s important to understand the exact role of your new employee. This includes understanding responsibilities, communicating expectations and acting as a resource for your employee. Reviewing these responsibilities and roles with your employee at the first stages of employment can prevent miscommunications and underperformance later on.
  • Conduct Reviews. Every new employee should be given a 90 day and one year review. Not only does this system promote transparency and effective communication, but it also gives the employee an opportunity to present their own feedback and any concerns they might have about their current role.
  • Build Connections. It can take a while for new employees to feel connected to their team members, and even the organization as a whole. However, team members and managers can help speed up and deepen this process by offering team building opportunities, networking events, and professional development opportunities.
  • Ask for Feedback. A traditional onboarding experience can take up to 18 months. After this time, it’s a great idea to ask your employee for specific feedback regarding their onboarding experience. This could be in the form of a survey, questionnaire, or informational interview. Make sure to take the feedback seriously and reflect how the process can improve.

At Quadrivium Advisors, we know the value of good employees. If your onboarding process needs improvement, connect with us!

Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Meetings

As businesses begin to grow their national and international community of clients and employees, as well as expanding physical locations, getting together is often a seldom opportunity. To avoid the cost of travel, while continuing to open channels of communication, many businesses host virtual meetings for their clients and employees. If you’re a first time virtual meeting facilitator or attendee, here are a few tips and pieces of information to help enhance your meeting experience.

For Participants

Before the meeting takes place, it’s helpful to know which platform will be used. There are various types of applications that can be used to host a virtual meeting such as Google Hangout, Skype, Zoho Meeting, or GoToWebinar. These applications allow its users to see participants, share screens, text and video chat. Some applications even provide the option to brand your screen, which is ideal when meeting with current or perspective clients. If it’s your first time using a specific meeting software, make sure to download the appropriate version the day before your meeting. No one wants to be the reason why the meeting runs late!

For Facilitators

Facilitating a virtual meeting has both advantages and disadvantages. Virtual meetings can move more quickly, and are more likely to stay on track. However, it can be difficult to recognize how people are feeling since body language is harder to pick up on. Some participants might not be as likely to speak up or voice their opinions, especially if they are unfamiliar with virtual meetings.

Fortunately, there are some pre-meeting tasks that will help the meeting run smoothly and keep participants on the same page. Sending out a clear agenda starting with the most urgent items will allow people to reflect on key issues before the meeting. In addition, it’s also a good idea to be specific about what kinds of meeting preparation needs to be completed beforehand. For example, perhaps it might be helpful to ask your participants to re-read the notes from the last meeting, or to review certain documents that will be referenced in the meeting to come.

Meeting Etiquette

Behaving well during a meeting might seem obvious, however some of these etiquette standards are specific to virtual meetings. Here are a few tips when it comes to participating in a virtual meeting:

  • Log onto your meeting platform early, with the video on and your microphone on mute
  • Silence your cell phone and other background noises
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Provide space for questions, comments, or clarifying statements
  • Make sure you have the proper meeting information, such as meeting number or which platform to install a few days before

At Quadrivium Advisors, we’re always looking for new ways to connect to our clients and partners. When it comes to virtual meetings, what’s worked for you?

Dealing with Business Setbacks

Whether your revenue stream is tight or you’re having a hard time holding onto valuable employees, experiencing a variety of setbacks is normal when it comes to maintaining a business. However, just because setbacks are “normal” doesn’t make them any easier to cope with or to find solutions. Experiencing these setbacks is challenging, but not impossible to overcome. Taking a step back from your business and its problems can help you gain different perspective which might lead to a successful solution. Here are some tips to prevent future setbacks and help you solve the problem at hand:

Identify the Problem

When setbacks occur, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the obstacles and lose sight of what actually caused the chaos. Was it an error in judgement? An overlooked mistake? A problem employee? Consider stepping back from the drama and mayhem to trace the root of the problem. Once you’ve identified the catalyst, it becomes easier to prevent the same setbacks from occurring again.

Call on Your Team

As a business owner, you won’t always have the time to clean up every mess or solve every problem that comes your way. As soon as a problem occurs, waste no time creating a team who will be responsible for planning all aspects of the solution and steps moving forward. This might be a group of people working on the product that went awry, or a group of employees who have good relationships with the concerned client. Choose your team and put them to work quickly. Clients and customers will be paying special attention to your problem-solving approach.

Communicate

Don’t wait to disclose bad news to those who are involved. Keep communicating with your clients, employees, or whoever is directly involved in the setback and decide how you want to move forward. Together, decide what communication methods will work best for your team and your clients. This might mean you meet weekly until the problem has been solved, or maybe a client will prefer conference calls or weekly email updates. Whatever the communication channel, make sure everyone involved understands when and how you will be moving forward.

Assess the Damage

Don’t underestimate the severity of the setback both with your client and what it means for your financial security. How much business did you lose? What does this mean for you revenue stream? If the damage is affecting other areas of your business, it may be time to cut back where you can. Look for ways to save money in both internal and external interactions.

Setbacks can be solved, but it takes time and commitment. When it comes to solving setbacks in your business, what helps?

How to Make Your Small Business Stand Out

Keeping up with large competitors can be difficult for small businesses. However, it’s not impossible to play in the same league as your biggest competitor. In fact, small businesses have a lot of advantages that often go unrecognized, especially by the very people who run them.  Here are a few tips when it comes to playing in the big leagues, even if you have a small team:

Keep Client Relationships Your Top Priority

It’s easy for small businesses to gain a reputation quickly. The biggest element in gaining a solid reputation is to keep your clients loyal and satisfied with your work. This means keeping your client happy throughout the entire working relationship, from gaining their business and planning their project to presenting the final product. If a mistake or error arises, stay on top of things and fix it quickly while communicating the plan with your client. Negative feedback catches on quickly and is almost impossible to correct.

Engage With Your Industry

Yes, we’re talking about networking. It’s a dreaded word for many in the small business world, but if done correctly, it can help you gain the right attention at the right time. Try to find a networking group that meets your needs and fosters strong professional relationships—this means you’ll practice both giving and receiving work and recommendations. Social media platforms are always a useful approach to keeping in touch with industry professionals and perspective clients. Keep on top of your posts, respond to comments and questions, and try to engage with other small businesses—good entrepreneurs stick together.

Honesty Really is the Best Policy

It’s tempting to say you do it all, but that isn’t what cultivates good business practices. Be honest about your offerings, and be clear about your niche—it’s what people will remember about your small business. You don’t have to do it all; you have to do one thing exceptionally well. As it goes both in business and in life—lies are easy to spot.

Be a Role Model

People want to feel good about the businesses that represent their image. Once the word gets out about employee misconduct, race discrimination, or gender bias, your business has a name for itself—and not one to be proud of, either. Businesses that give back to their communities and to the world are more likely to be trusted.

Take Feedback Seriously

Avoid the temptation to put your customer satisfaction surveys in the bottom of your file cabinet. Read them, organize them, and address the most common concerns or complaints. As painful as it might be to hear negative feedback about your work, your business will become stronger because of it.

We know how challenging it can be to make a name for your small business. In fact, Quadrivium- Advisors is a small business. If you’re ready to stand out, we can help you get there.

 

 

Quadrivium: noun[kwo-driv-ee-uh m]

from Latin quadrivium, which means 'a place where four points meet"

Bringing you to that perfect point.

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