Over the past few years, I’ve worked with and consulted hundreds of business owners.

And throughout this time, it’s become apparent to me that the #1 challenge holding most entrepreneurs back from their goals is NOT…

  • Changing social media algorithms
  • Bad copy
  • The high cost of paid advertising
  • Rising competition.

Or any of the other common “excuses” you hear from struggling business owners.

It’s leadership.

And when I use this term, I’m not referring to “textbook” leadership–motivating or inspiring others–but your ability to empower others and unite them under a shared vision.

To create a culture where every member of your team is proactively striving to achieve the company vision…and has the tools, systems, and support they need to do it.

Listen…

I’ve made every mistake in the book as a leader. As I like to say, “The only reason I’m a good leader is that I was once a horrible leader.”

But after a decade of trial and error, and finally reaching a point where my teams are operating at the highest levels, I’ve discovered five simple principles that will galvanize any team and allow you to become an unstoppable leader.

#1) Get Biblical and Create Your Mission

In the book of Proverbs it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

And those words are truer today than they’ve ever been.

Without a clear vision and mission statement under which you can unite your team, none of the other strategies or tools I’m going to teach you will matter.

Your vision is the glue that binds your team together and allows you to operate like an elite team of special forces soldiers. It grants the clarity and focus you and your team need to make the right decisions at the right times.

For example…

Back in 2015 when we opened our Bootcamp doors we set a mission to help our community lose 10,000 lbs by the year 2020.

It was a bold statement…one that was much bigger and more ambitious than anything we could accomplish alone as individuals.

And before 2020, we actually accomplished this mission.

But the vision itself was not enough.

To galvanize your mission and vision, you must implement three key components.

1) Make It Public: If we would have kept this 10,000 pound mission to ourselves it would have never been reached. But by making it public we were able to get a ton of support from our community, news stations and other local businesses who wanted to be a part of it.

2) Create Process Goals: Much like you would have your clients create process goals to lose 30 pounds. You need to have process goals to help you reach your big mission. For us that included running weight loss challenges, creating tracking systems to keep up with it accurately and visual inside our facility where everyone could see where we were at with the big mission.

3) Ask For Help: This goes along with making it public. If we’d tried to do this on our own it wouldn’t have happened. But by asking our team to get behind our mission along with the community, it galvanized everyone together and we got help from places and people we would have never expected. All because we simply ask for help. Don’t let your ego get in the way!

This 10,000 pound mission truly galvanized our team and brought everyone together.

What about you? Does your business have a big mission?

And more importantly, have you made that mission public? Have you created simple process goals to drive you toward that mission? And are you asking for help the second you need it?

#2) Act with “Relational Homogeneity”

From personal experience and helping business owners I know for certain that one of the biggest obstacles holding organizations back from success is high employee turnover.

I.e. Employees quitting.

As a business owner, “lost” employees are one of the biggest drains on your financial, emotional, and mental reserves…costing you time (to find and train new employees), money (to put out fires while you try to find new employees), and energy.

And one of the BIGGEST reasons for a high turnover inside of a company is that you as the owner/operator are not acting with “Relational Homogeneity”.

In other words…you pick ‘favorites’ and treat members of your staff differently from one another.

As a perfect example, I spent years relying on part-time staff members to keep my business running.

BUT…I failed in the way I showed up as a leader by treating my part-time staffers as less important or valuable than my full-time members.

This attitude was not borne of malice, but my intentions mattered little to the ignored and underserved members of my team.

A survey that helped put this in perspective showed that the #1 reason employees leave is not because of workload, dissatisfaction with hours or issues with co-workers…

…It’s that they didn’t feel loved and supported by their employer.

Today, I show the same amount of love, support, resources and energy with my part-time staff as I do with my full-time staff. After this switch was made our team is more unified than ever and I’ve decreased employee turnover by nearly 90%.

I challenge you to audit your leadership, look in the mirror, and figure out how you can treat your employees better no matter their position in your business. 

If you can do this, you’ll notice a remarkable shift in the unity and motivation of your team members.

#3) Create “Unity Rituals”

If you try to ‘find’ time for your team it will never happen.

You must actively make time and be intentional in creating workplace rituals that galvanize and unify your team.

In my business, we’ve created three “unity rituals” to bring out team together on a regular basis.

1) Monthly Team Workshops:

We used to call these staff meetings. But I’ve always hated that term. So we now call them team workshops.

Once per month our team comes together for an interactive team workshop where we discuss areas of our business, upcoming events, promotions, etc. We also use it as a time to brainstorm and empower our team to share their ideas and input. This allows for space and opportunity for them to contribute to our business.

2) Quarterly Family Fun Fest :

This is something that is a lot of fun. Once per quarter we get our team together and tell them to invite their family (spouse, kids, etc.) We will host a fun event such as attend a minor league baseball game, bowling night, put-put, etc.

Something that the entire family can enjoy. Why would we do this? Because if you can get your team’s family involved and connected, you will create a level of loyalty that can’t be touched!

3) Annual Retreat:

Once per year, we get our entire team together (from both locations 3 hours apart) for a fun weekend getaway. We will rent out a house or condo and bring everyone together.

It’s a weekend of fun, team building and brainstorming where we are outside the scope of our gyms and can have an open space to discuss how we can keep making our organization better. This costs a lot of money but it’s an investment that is well worth it!

These 3 things have significantly helped our team become more unified and empowered and I suggest you start creating opportunities to get your team together more often. 

#4) Create a Culture of Charity

I’ve always believed in the power of giving back.

But most recently we created a charitable program within our organization that has been a game-changer for our business, culture, and team.

Last year we launched our Check In 4 Charity Program at our bootcamp locations. The gist of the program is that each month we connect with a local nonprofit organization who comes to our facility (a few weeks ahead of time) to complete a short video interview explaining to our clients who they are and who they help.

Then each time our clients workout for that month and check into our Bootcamp on their FB page we will donate a quarter per check-in. Last year alone (in just 6 months) we donated over 11k to local organizations. 

Our goal this year is to donate over 20k.

And this charitable goal has brought our team together in a huge way.

Our team is filled with go-givers and creating a “culture of charity” has made them prouder than ever to be a part of what we do.

What about you?

What kind of impact you can make in your community by giving back more and getting more involved?   

#5) Radical Candor and No-Holds-Barred Communication 

To me one of the top 3 qualities in any great leader is the ability to effectively communicate with others.

It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, sports coach or leader in a small group at your church, great leaders must be able to communicate extremely well. 

One massive part of communication that has helped take our culture and team to the next level is feedback. 

A survey from 2018 that had thousands of responses found that over 90% of employees said they don’t receive any form of feedback besides their annual evaluations. That’s a major problem! 

Below are 3 ways that we create a culture of feedback within our organization.

1) Coach’s Feedback: We require our coaches to workout at our facility at least twice per week taking other coaches sessions. After a coach takes a workout they will give immediate feedback to the coach that led that session.

They start with something the coach did really well during the session, and one area of improvement they feel the coach could make. The purpose is that we have empowered and conditioned our coaches to give feedback to each other and the coaches receiving the feedback actually appreciate it all. 

Monthly Monday Meet-Up: The first Monday of each month our manager at each location gets together with each staff member for a 5 minute meet up.

The objective of this meet up is to simply give personal feedback to each coach from the past month, set the tone for the month ahead individually, and the manager always ends the meet up with feedback from each staff member on their performance as a manager. Everyone has embraced this and the Monthly Monday Meet-up has been a huge bonus. The best part is it’s in the schedule each month and does not take a large amount of time as it’s short, to the point and structured. 

Bi-Annual Client Survey: Twice per year (usually in early summer and December) we send out a survey to our clients asking for their feedback on certain topics. I’ll admit the first time we sent this out I was a nervous wreck as it’s tough to hear criticism from others.

But what I quickly learned was that the client’s feedback was mainly positive, but the feedback that wasn’t positive wasn’t an attack on us as a business and team, but areas they would love to see us improve upon. We always share these with our entire team. It helps us all come together and figure out how we can continue to improve as an organization. 

Giving and receiving feedback has by far been the biggest upgrade for us in terms of communication the past year. It’s made our team better. It’s brought our team closer together. And it’s helped us continue to get better week after week, month after month as a business because of this being a big focus.

If you as a leader are encouraging feedback and have systems in place to extract feedback, that’s awesome. I still want you though to think how you can encourage more feedback and actually take it to make your business better.

Those are my top 5 tips to help galvanize your team and clients to bring everyone together, create an amazing culture, and ultimately grow your business and make more money and impact.   

Daniel Woodrum is the Director of Turbulence Training and co-owns two South Carolina Fit Body Boot Camps with Early to Rise Editor Craig Ballantyne. Daniel lives in Charleston, S.C. with his wife, Brittney, and together they are on a mission to help the town of Charleston lose 10,000 lbs. by the year 2020.

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