Episode 139: Team Growth

Prioritizing Performance: Shifting Focus from Size to Results in Team Growth

Many business owners believe that a larger team is a sign of success. And while I am all about celebrating as you expand your team – I believe the focus of team growth should be less about how large your team is and more about how well they perform.

Because the size of your team doesn’t matter if you’re not getting results.

In fact, a small, well-aligned, and motivated team can outperform a larger, less cohesive team.

 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of prioritizing team performance over size.
  • The benefits of small teams, such as better collaboration, communication, agility, and autonomy.
  • How a high-performing team, regardless of its size, can deliver outstanding results.
  • The role of scalability and sustainability in team growth and business success.

 

Featured on the Show:

You. In the world of business, there's long been an obsession with bigger results. I know that many entrepreneurs just want more. More just for the sake of more. And unfortunately, that sometimes means prioritizing quantity over quality. The thing is, I've seen this play out with team size as well. Many business owners believe that a larger team is a sign of success. Know that I have, so I'm guilty of this too.

There have definitely been times where I have posted about the size of my team as this symbol or sign of the progress that I'm making in my business. And here's the thing. I'm all about celebrating as you expand your team. So I don't want you to think that it's not okay to talk about your team size or to celebrate as it grows. But here's what I do believe. I believe that the focus of team growth should be less about how large your team is and more about how well they perform. It really doesn't matter if you have a large team if they're not performing well, if you're not getting results. So when I think about the clients that I've worked with, there's been a variety.

There's a group of you who are going to listen to this episode, and you might be tempted to use this as evidence for not hiring. If you are the type of client that I worked with who's resisted team growth, and you're operating so lean that you and your team are feeling overworked, underappreciated, maybe even all the way to the point of burnout, then please don't do that. Please don't use this as a sign to not ask for help or hire help. Because you certainly need to continue to grow and expand your team as your business grows. But my point here, and who this episode is really meant for, is all about prioritizing performance. And therefore, it's meant for those clients that I've worked with, or those of you who are like the clients I've worked with who've overhired you've, brought on more and more people and unfortunately seen your profits diminish. You've had chaotic operations. The back end of the business is a complete mess, and you might have little results to show or front facing.

It looks like you're successful. But on the back end, you know that you really are nowhere near where you want to be. If that's the boat that you're in, then this episode is definitely for you. We're going to explore the benefits of small teams. Knowing that small is a relative term. What we're really going to focus on here is why team performance matters more than team size and how business owners like you can build and nurture high performing teams. Okay? So the first thing is looking at quality over quantity, team growth. In other words, increasing team size doesn't always mean better results.

But team growth as in performance, improving a team member's performance always improves results. So a small team, a well aligned team of highly motivated individuals can outperform a larger, less cohesive team. Instead of assuming that you need more team members, try prioritizing the quality of your team and the ability to deliver exceptional results. Right? You want to improve their quality and ability to deliver the desired results. Okay? So quality over quantity. The second thing is collaboration and communication. Success depends on effective collaboration and communication. And here's the thing.

The larger your team gets, the more complexity is introduced. There are more people to inform, there are more opinions and ideas, there are an increasing number of interpersonal dynamics that you have to work through. And really, the more people you have on your team, the better your communication skills, your leadership skills, your emotional IQ, all of that must be otherwise. Let's talk about communication here. It's kind of like that telephone game where the more people you have, the more people a message has to filter through. And with every person it gets changed a little bit and that lack of directness can really water down and it waters down the message. It means requiring more time to get things done because there are mistakes and things like that. So smaller teams often find it easier to establish really clear lines, direct lines of communication.

It is easier to foster trust and to encourage active participation among all team members. The larger your team gets, some people can kind of hide small team. It's really hard, it's really hard to not show up and do what you need to do. Okay? So collaboration and communication. Third is agility and adaptability. In small businesses, the ability to change directions or execute quickly is crucial. I sometimes think about large teams like cruise ships. I have consulted and I have worked with some really large organizations and they require a lot more time to turn around, they require a lot more time to, in other words, implement things.

And it's almost like, again, that cruise ship compared to a speedboat. The larger your team, the slower the decision making, the more resistance to change, the more layers of approvals and communication. Whereas with smaller teams they're often more nimble, flexible and capable of adapting quickly to any emerging challenges, to any opportunities. They're able to pivot faster, seize those new opportunities, embrace new trends or technologies really quickly. Okay? And so agility and adaptability are some additional benefits of small high performing teams compared to larger low performing teams. Fourth is empowerment and autonomy. When you focus on performance more than size, you develop a team that's capable of taking ownership of their work and a team that can be trusted to make decisions. Smaller teams tend to have more autonomy and allow their team members to have a greater sense of responsibility.

Again, it's in part because the smaller your team, the more things that people need to do. They have to contribute. They can't hide or get away with not contributing greater autonomy, of course, leads to greater creativity, innovation, and overall achievement. And so the smaller your team, the more empowered, the more responsibility, the more autonomy there will be. Fifth and last but not least is scalability and sustainability. Two words that are so important to me and that I hope are important to you. Because here's the thing. While team growth should not be solely measured by size, this doesn't mean that you should completely disregard expanding your team altogether.

As your business evolves, you're going to need to hire additional resources. So a lot of what I help my clients with is finding people, hiring people, expanding their team, growing their team in terms of actually adding resources. But that's only after investing in the development of your existing team members. It's only after working to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the team that you have. Only after fostering a culture of continuous learning, building that foundation for long term success. Because then when you hire, you're going to hire in a way that is more sustainable, more strategic, and ensures that as you're scaling, you're not scaling problems. Because remember, if you have an ineffective, low performing team and you just continue to add to that, you're just going to continue to scale the chaos and the problems versus the high performance. Okay? So remember, problem scale.

There's another episode that I've recorded all about that. So just remember, problems scale. And so we need to streamline things, make sure everything is efficient and effective before we grow and add more people to the dynamic. Okay? So here's the biggest takeaway that I want you to have from this episode. You don't need a large team to scale. You need a high performing team. And that means shifting your focus from trying to hire more people and instead start by improving the performance of the team that you have. A high performing team, regardless of size, can deliver outstanding results.

In fact, a high performing team that is smaller can often outperform a larger team. And so if you have a team and you're not seeing the results that you want, don't be tempted to just continue adding more people and hope that more people is going to bring success. Instead, focus on improving the team that you have. And then once you're seeing results with the team that you have, once your current team is performing well, then let's expand and add more people. Okay? That's all I've got for you this week. I look forward to seeing you again.

 

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