At my salon I host an annual Thanksgiving potluck. I supply the table and I ask my staff to jot down what dish they want to bring.
Last Thanksgiving the table was full of their choices; macaroni and cheese, cajun rice, rotisserie chicken, varied desserts and the list went on.
After everyone shared what they brought to the table, the room was abuzz. We were all excited at the thought of breaking bread together. However, this prior Thanksgiving season, in particular, I decided to take my team through an important exercise.
As everyone gathered around the table I asked everyone to listen closely to the following statements:
If you’ve not met your sales and retention goals every week over the last month, please remove your item from the table.
If you’ve had a client come back for a fix in the last month, please remove your item from the table.
If you’ve been late to work in the last month, please remove your item from the table.
The Cajun rice was the only item left on the table. Beside it was one employee; she had met all three of those standards.
What was once a room filled with laughing and social banter was replaced with dead silence. The exercise had worked. It painted the picture that I wanted them to see without the tired rhetoric of “be on time and work hard to achieve your goals.”
The empty table made things very clear.
'As a team, when everyone fails to do their part we have less to enjoy.'Click To Tweet
As a team, when everyone fails to do their part we have less to enjoy. Failing to do your part can be as simple as showing up to the office ten minutes late. A lack of attention to detail that sends a signal to your clients that you don’t value their time and money. Failing to do your part can mean that you’re not meeting your goals, and I (your boss) have to spend more money on bills instead of line items with a return on investment or training.
I challenge you to personally consider what you bring to the table when it comes to business relationships and ask your team to do the same. If you’re a freelancer, how do you show up and add value daily? If you’re a founder, how are you motivating your team to meet their goals?
More importantly, would you want to be in business with “you”?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Yolanda Keels-Walker is an author and successful serial entrepreneur with a portfolio ranging from motivational speaker to salon owner to real estate developer. Yolanda is most known as the brains behind Business Babes, an online resource and business coaching organization of over 30,000 that helps budding female entrepreneurs manage their businesses and grow their circle of influence. Connect with @_businessbabes on Twitter.
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