It’s been five years since I started working for SCM Connections, and each year we seem to move faster and faster in order to keep up with the demands of a small company and stay ahead of the market, all the while paying close attention to what does and doesn’t work for our personality and workflow. I can see our team starting to almost (gasp) enjoy the frantic pace… which is fortunate since it’s not slowing down any time soon. The most important thing I’ve learned along the way is that, at some point, you just have to embrace the chaos, go with the flow, take it all in and manage it as best as possible. So without further ado, here are 7 tips for small businesses to help your team thrive in a fast paced environment:
#1: Get to know your people well.
In a smaller team, it’s easier to do and worth the investment. We like the Enneagram because it gives insight into what makes people tick, what stresses them out and how they think. When your team is operating at lightning speed, knowing what information someone needs to do their best work is absolutely crucial.
#2: Cultivate your team culture so that everyone is comfortable speaking up and making mistakes.
At our company, we hire talented people and then we push them to do their best work. That wouldn’t be possible unless we made it ok for everyone to voice their opinions, try new things and make mistakes on occasion. Often, it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, and that’s something we practice.
#3: Remember that perfection is the enemy of good.
Decide as a team what things need to be perfect and what things can be “good enough.” When you work in a fast paced environment, if everything needs to be perfect, your team will either drop the ball on other things or pull a lot of late nights trying to keep things going. Neither is sustainable in the long run.
#4: Communicate what success looks like and celebrate it when it happens.
Driven, Type-A people thrive on being successful. When your company moves quickly, there’s rarely a lot of time to stop and say “here’s what we want to accomplish with this project” and then a round of high-fives at the end. It’s natural to want to dash on to the next project as soon as something’s finished- Take the time for the high-fives. In the long run, it’s worth it.
#5: Make sure everyone knows how they fit into the larger picture of the company.
It’s a lot easier to work late nights on something last minute if you know that what you’re doing genuinely matters. And if something doesn’t matter to the company at large, should your people really be doing it?
#6: Communicate your expectations and management style.
Some leaders like to be kept in the loop on everything that goes on in their team and some only want to know when there’s a roadblock that needs to be removed. Know which type you’re working for and, if you’re a leader, communicate your style and expectations to your team. In the long run, it will save everyone a lot of headaches.
#7: Use tools that genuinely enhance your team and improve communication.
We love Slack for keeping our team up to date on numerous initiatives, projects and getting their feedback (and occasionally sharing the internet’s latest and greatest meme). We also love Asana for collaboratively running projects.
Those are a few of the tips for small businesses that work best for our team- join the conversation, we’d love to hear what works for you!