Motivating Your Team with Vested Interest

The loneliness of the long-distance owner…

Running any business is a lonely job, particularly when management is limited to the Owners / Founders.  The other side of that is how does an owner delegate responsibility, confident that the job will be done with the same care, and sensitivity to consequences, as they would carry it out themselves – and that’s the case whether it’s a sweetshop or a major corporation. 

Although teamwork and leadership are fundamental, the overused cliché of ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ doesn’t go far enough, in my opinion, and is a bit trite in these days of performance-related rewards, particularly where smaller companies are trying to balance stability with growth. 

Measurement For Success

My view is this – all resources need to be measured and aligned with the performance of the company, but to make that practical, it means that businesses need to share the key performance goals, set appropriate subordinate goals, and – here’s the scary bit! – actually share the measurement of performance against those goals. 

What that means is that, regardless of the size of the company, every business effectively needs to aspire to be a Public Company, exposed to rigours and expectations, but also very conscious of the responsibilities and consequences of good and bad performance – because it is all shared.  I’m not suggesting that everyone is an owner, but if shareholders are to achieve their ultimate value, then employees need to be motivated in the same way. 

Communication Is Key

To make it simple, for me, Communication is the core Cultural improvement that gets you the biggest bang for your buck – but only when its based on objectivity, rather than perceptions or ‘good intentions’.  Vested Interest can be shared with non-shareholders, in the form of actionable, measurable goals that reward both the achiever and the business. 

Allowing your team to know and appreciate what is going on, is a direct consequence of their performance, is as important to them as the tangible benefits of success.  Trusting and communicating with your team builds stronger commitment, the most powerful and unifying motivator of all, and fundamental to value realisation.   

The leader is just another team member, but with a different role – and like any team, the need for a common goal is sacrosanct.  Keep everyone aware of that, and it reduces the distance between any individual contribution and the performance and value objectives of the owners.  Makes it more enjoyable as well…