Rarely being in the office isn't a problem for this founder. Here's why. By Beck Bamberger (Founder, BAM Communications)
People often ask me, "What do you mean you're in the office rarely? What does your team do. . . without you?" I travel internationally a lot, own other businesses, and am a novice adaptor of Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Workweek. I'm not in the office a lot and certainly not from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The fantastic part is: my team does just great, and I'd argue even better, without my constant presence. Here are a few tips to consider if you, too, would like an exceptional team to run without you.
Test for Personality: Resumes Are Worthless
I usually spend three seconds looking at one, just to note if the person has a grasp on using indentations. When I'm looking to adopt someone into our BAMily (that's the team of my PR and marketing firm, BAM Communications), I'm looking at how this person matches our culture, our collective outlook on life, and how well this new member will balance or capsize our boat of personalities. This is why I'm a huge believer in giving any potential hire a personality test. I love the Myers Briggs test, which is ruthlessly spot-on and can give you near perfect information about how a person perceives situations, what motivates him or her, how he or she reacts in testy situations, etc. According to the BBC, 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use Myers Briggs testing. Here’s a quick and free one to use.
With a Myers Briggs personality test of a potential hire in hand, I then look at how the potential hire will mesh with key BAMily members. I would never match two extreme extroverts together, for instance, as that would create an overpowering team that would likely exhaust a client with their bubbly, talkative personas. One of our best teams is manned by a strong extrovert who loves connecting with people and a sharp introvert who is analytical and not rattled by demanding clients. Think of it as match-making in the professional setting. Happy matches, like great couples, grow and challenge each other, keeping accountability in place.
Master Individual Motivation
I cringe when I listen to consultants or some other half-ass "experts" talk about motivating employees in a catch-all manner. Believing that ALL employees are motivated the same precise way is similar to assuming that all women swoon for Justin Bieber. Ridiculous.
I spend time with each person on my team and ask them once a year or so, "What motivates YOU?" Usually, I give them a heads-up a week in advance that I'll be asking this question so they can actually think about the true answer. Guess what? Every person has a different answer, and some have a few answers. As the leader of the team, I can now motivate each individual and the management team can do the same. It may sound daunting to keep in mind every person's key motivators, but I promise it's not. Sprinkle a form of precise motivation just twice a month. I know that one of my employees loves when her clients are being successful, so I tell her clients every month to make sure to share their successes and the great impact she's having for them. Another one of my employees loves applause (not surprisingly, her personality profile from Myers Briggs is "The Performer"), so I make sure to celebrate her accomplishments publicly with fellow team members so she can be center stage and take a bow, if you will.
When you can truly motivate an individual precisely, that person can soar and often remains loyal to you. A motivated staff requires minimal supervision and allows me to spend my time more effectively out of the office.
Can your team get by without your constant presence?
About the guest blogger: Beck founded BAM Communications in 2006 and has since founded three other businesses, Bite San Diego, Nosh Las Vegas, and Pangea Pal. In 2011, she won an Emmy for on camera hosting in a talk show format for her show, Next 500. She is currently a board member of Gen-Next and CONNECT and is a 2014 Political Leadership Institute scholar.