You know that old saying: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”? Lately, I’ve been noticing in my work that a lot of people are doing this exact thing when it comes to both people and technology. While I certainly recognize that every now and then you NEED to chuck it all and start over, I think sometimes people are just too quick to pull the trigger.
There’s a reason why I’m a big advocate for any piece of software that offers you a free trial. Trying something out before you purchase is the best opportunity for you to really see how you’re going to be using it and integrating it into your business. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to see if it’s a good fit for you if it’s going to do the things that you expect it to do, and if it’s going to be a good investment.
When it comes to people, the same analogy works.
Often I like to do small projects with clients first — just to get an idea of how their work rhythm is, what they expect, and what type of feedback they’re going to give. I’m wanting to see how we’re going to cohesively collaborate together and if it’s going to be seamless or if it’s going to be a hot mess.
Working relationships are just like any other new relationship in that the very beginning is going to determine pieces of the middle and the end.
There’s a reason why they say communication is the key to any good relationship, and it’s because it allows you to effectively understand the other person’s feelings, expectations and wants. Communication is king in so many realms, and we don’t even realize it. We’re communicating on our website, on our sales pages, and with the way, we’re interacting via email.
[bctt tweet=”Communication holds the key to many kingdoms.” username=”freshtakepro”]
Just like there are a few different ways you can go about hiring and onboarding, there are a couple of ways you can do the purchasing and the implementation of a piece of software. Now, I’m not trying to advocate that people are machines, but if you’re noticing a pattern where you tend to throw the baby away with the bathwater, it may be time to explore the similarities in how we can approach both the people AND the tech realms.
Let’s look at some ideas.
Finding the Right Fit
When it comes to people, the best place to start is with a meet and greet with your potential employee or client. This is NOT an interview, but rather a chance to chat, and have an open conversation where you can get a pulse on who this person actually is. The trick is to not be focused on how the potential relationship can benefit YOU but understanding what makes them tick.
[bctt tweet=”Open conversations require you to walk a mile in someone’s shoes.” username=”freshtakepro”]
Now, we all know that the interview process is where people present the best versions of themselves, so it’s always ideal to then get them to take different types of quizzes or personality assessments (or whatever your favorite method is in that regard) to get to know them on a deeper level. This matters because when issues come up (and trust me when I say they will!), you’ll be better prepared with information to determine if it’s just something that’s part of their personality traits that you can work with or if it’s something that’s going to be a potential problem.
Our Favorite Profile Assessments
Me, personally, I love the Fascination Test by Sally Hogshead, primarily because it’s going to help me see how the other person is viewed by other people and therefore, how I will inevitably view them. It can give you a bird’s eye view into who they are. There’s an accompanying book which is great because it dives even deeper into more detailed information on what makes the person tick.
The Myers Briggs Strength Finder is another one that I like to have people take. It’s a little lengthy, so if you don’t have time to invest then 16 Personalities is the one assessment that’s kind of fun and it gives you a lot of meat and information that provides a broader look at the person.
I also like the Languages of Appreciation quiz so that I am able to understand how I can effectively communicate and give appreciation to this person — should I choose to work with them or vice versa. This works for both clients and team members.
Of course, I’m also a big fan of the Virtual Collaboration Index (VCI) because it allows me to see what type of thinking the person tends to lean towards. Is it more logical? Is it flexible? Is it more creative? Knowing the answers to those questions shows me how I’m going to be able to showcase and utilize their superpowers and what potential kryptonite might lie in wait.
Going into this discussion, you should already have a plan about where you see this person fitting into your company and what your expectations will be. When you’re looking at how they’re going to benefit you and your company, take it one step further and see how you can also be effective in helping that person reach their goals. It’s so important to me that in my company, my people succeed just as well as I succeed because if they’re happy, they’re going to bring that energy to work.
Tech That Meets Your Needs
When it comes to deciding on technology, my first piece of advice is to gravitate towards the ones that are going to offer you the 14-day preview or free trial. As long as there’s a free trial opportunity, that to me is a win already out of the gate.
(On the off chance there’s anyone from a software company reading, if you don’t already offer free trials, you should consider that methodology. Not only are you getting people in the door by trying out your product, but it’s better for the consumer. They have an opportunity to see if it’s going to work for them — instead of investing money in something that isn’t a solution.)
The free trial period should be used as your window of opportunity. It’s vital that whoever is going to use the tool the most or be in charge of it be the one that experiences the free trial.
When you find a piece of technology you think can be implemented and used in your business, a critical step before purchasing it is to map out how it will be used and how it will benefit your business. There’s no point in spending money on something that you’re not really going to use in the future. Be sure to have a plan in place to compare each potential piece of tech against what you’re currently using.
You also need to know exactly who is going to use the technology. If it’s going to be used by you, then the buck stops there. If it’s going to be used by the team or by other members of the team, it’s important that you check in with them before the purchase.
Prepping for Success
Once you’ve got the new person or new technology on board, it’s really important that you have an onboarding process — for both people and tech.
Any discussions about who you are and what you do should happen before a person starts their first day. So, when I say onboarding, I’m talking about welcoming that person to the whole team and making sure that they’re equipped with all the information and tools they need to execute in their new role.
When it comes to new members joining your virtual team, (or any other team), and you’re mapping out their job descriptions, it’s important that there is no overlay with another person on the team. If they replicate another person’s role in any way, shape, or form — even if it’s just on one task — there needs to be a conversation to explain how the two roles work together. If you miss having this conversation, you’re setting yourself up for problems inside the team.
Remember The Role Of Duality
In a virtual space, we’re not all “just” team members or implementers — we’re often also business owners and CEOs. This means that sometimes you’re going to be working with someone who plays that role within their company, so you want to give them the respect that they need and deserve. Asking them at every point, “Will this work?” and then finding common ground or a compromise that meets everyone’s needs is critical. It’s your opportunity to show your willingness to work with them and meet in the middle if they’re willing to do the same.
On the technology side, it’s the same thing. It’s not just about giving your team a new piece of technology and telling them to have at it. You need to train them, and check in with them at regular intervals. It’s about getting their feedback to understand if the piece of technology is working for them or not and understanding what parts they do (or don’t) like. Ideally, that would happen during the free trial, but sometimes it’s not fully possible to understand all the ins and outs due to the time limit.
This is also an opportunity for you to avoid wasting money because sometimes you might think that this brand new spanking tool is exactly what you’ve needed — but your team has other opinions. You want to avoid paying for a tool that’s not any better than what you have or isn’t going to be used to its potential.
All of these things will help minimize the waste and turnover time when it comes to your investments — in both your technology and your people.