Team Thrive

Team Thrive: Reflections

Xerocon this year was one of the best and I had three big takeaways from the event. Number one was we wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for our team. This business is about more than one person. It is about the systems we have in place and the people we have in place to run with these to look after our clients.

I spent more time than I care to admit blaming the lack of talent on the marketplace  for our inability to find great team members. It wasn't until I turned the looking glass internally that I realised maybe the issue was us - we didn't have the right steps in place to identify the team we need & then show them how to follow us.

A key talk I loved was by Xero's chief of employee engagement and it has made me want to read the book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni. He talked about how the Dysfunction pyramid is built and some easy steps to get a highly engaged team. Below are my key items from that chat:

Be Easy to Follow

How can you identify who you need if you don't know where you are going? Without a clear vision you will just keep doing the same old thing and your team don't know what they are working towards. Having a clear vision gives your team a sense of purpose and enables them to follow you where you want to go.
At Thrive we espouse our vision of businesses enabled by cloud technology to not only survive by thrive. Every time we review a process, have a team discussion or encounter an issue we look at how it embodies this vision.

Hire for Cultural Fit over Skills
Once you have your vision spend some time setting down your core values. Identify what is the core of how you want to operate, what attributes you want your team to have and how you want your clients to feel. Don't get me wrong in our profession some element of skills is required but the most skilled person is not always the right one. Skills can be taught but attitude cannot. You need to hire the person with the base skills you need but with the right attitude who embodies your core values. This leads to commitment to your business and an alignment in your business 'voice' that you put out to your clients.
At Thrive we put our core values front and centre in every recruitment process. We clearly articulate it to candidates, gather their reactions and assess them on this.

Build Trust
Building trust is not only externally with your clients, it is internally with your team. If there is a fundamental lack of trust your team will grow dysfunctional. You are not involved in every interaction as a business owner so you need to trust your team to interact the way you would like them to. For you to trust in their output, put systems in place so they are clear on what they need to do and how to do it. For their trust in you be an authentic human being, do what you say when you say you will and give them regular feedback. Don't leave them guessing by not providing guidance, being inconsistent, then giving sporadic [mostly negative] feedback and expect them to be happy.
At Thrive we trust our team to act in our clients best interests. We have clear highly documented systems for them to follow, and we provide them with regular feedback through our review process. We all bring ourselves to work to support each other and to make each other's day better.

Celebrate The Wins
It's very easy to get caught up in the next big thing and for us the next lodgement cycle. It is important to take a moment out to celebrate the wins - big or small - along the way with your team.
At Thrive we have a team afternoon every quarter to celebrate making it through the end of quarter cycle. Part of this is blowing off some steam and having laughs but the other side is taking time with the team to assess - What Worked Well? What Could Have Been Better? What Did Not Work?. This allows us time to reflect on the quarter just gone, debate as a team on the improvements needed and get buy-in from the team on future changes.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be taking the time to show you who our team is and why they are the future of our business.


The Author - Rouli van der Linde

After studying at QUT whilst running a mobile bookkeeping business, Rouli headed over to the UK where she worked for a national car rental fleet. On returning she oversaw the accounting department of national construction equipment retailer before once again launching her own bookkeeping business in 2010.

She has a passion for cloud solutions & systemising business processes.