To Be Results Focused, Stop Focusing On Results

Too often, entrepreneur and managers try to force profitably, resulting in little change to the bottom line. Instead, they should approach it organically.

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By David Hassell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For many entrepreneurs, success is measured by profitability and achieved by increasing revenue and decreasing expenses. But just focusing on those desired outcomes is a mistake that will yield little change to the bottom line. The reason being is profitability can't be forced. You can't just wave a magic wand and expect revenues to spike, customers to jump on board and costs to be cut. Instead, profitability is a byproduct of having a committed and accountable team.

Many managers create monthly and quarterly revenue goals and work backwards using scare tactics to get the team on board. Don't be that person. Instead, establish trust and transparency with the team. Employee engagement and accountability will naturally emerge when your people feel heard and seen, encouraged and supported.

Make the below fundamental values within your organization and profit goals can then be easily and much more naturally achieved.

Have more carrots, less sticks. With the pressure to produce results and push output, frustrated managers think the path to greater productivity lies with putting rigid structures in place. They often turn to forcing employees to only use specific tools or punishing them when they don't hit their marks or sales goals.

Related: 6 Qualities of Highly Successful Teams (Infographic)

When people are failing, adding pressure will only make matters worse. Employees must be committed to their jobs from a place of desire, not fear. They will then naturally be more engaged and show up as accountable, reliable people.

One way to get people motivated is by providing positive feedback in the context of who the employee is becoming -- not what she has been doing. We all want a pat on the back for a job well done, but that praise is temporary. Long-term motivation results from reflections that an employee is becoming a more effective manager, innovative thinker or otherwise evolving into greatness.

Remeber 80 percent of success is showing up. For success to ensue, entrepreneurs need to understand the factors that create an accountable team. Trust is a great starting point, as it is a highly held value that is at the center of accountability. (It also leads to self-motivated individual engagement aligned with a mission.)

Foster relationships founded on trust with managers and peers, because most people show up more for other people than they do for themselves. When employees know that a manager has their back, they are much more likely to show up and be fully engaged in what they are doing.

Entrepreneurs looking to gain trust, should consider how they communicate with employees. Leaving your door open is meaningless to an employee who is afraid to speak candidly. By checking in regularly, you actively invite people to communicate their triumphs, challenges and ideas. Instead of implementing a passive open-door policy, create an active culture of communication.

Find the sweet spot. Make sure you create balance and purpose, so employees feel like they are contributing to something greater than themselves. This doesn't have to be a world changing mission -- just make sure they feel part of a team who is committed to that goal.

Find the sweet spot here. Place employees in roles that are aligned with their greatest strengths and continually challenge them. (Without challenge, employees feel bored, a lack of purpose and that their talents are being wasted.). Push them to learn more about what they do and discover how much they can accomplish.

Related: How to Build a Great Team While Keeping Costs Low

That said, too much challenge will overwhelm employees and cause anxiety and frustration. Challenge them just enough to stretch into their best work.

Have 20/20 foresight. Once trust has been gained and employees are working in their "genius" zones, you need to be clear on outcomes, ones that should be aligned with team and company goals.

There must be team-wide visibility so that everyone knows everyone else's status and where they stand relative to the greater mission. Clearly and openly articulate the big picture so that everyone knows which piece they own. By having transparency around the mission, employees know what is needed to accomplish results that are important to them individually and to hold others accountable for their part.

Employee engagement is built from the ground up via strong trusted one-on-one relationships. Build trust and provide challenge to foster natural accountability. To come out on top financially, always start with the drivers of financial success -- your team.

Related: Does Your Team Have the Right Stuff to Attract Venture Capital?

David Hassell

CEO and Founder of 15Five

David Hassell is the founder and CEO of 15Five, a leading employee engagement solution that helps create high performing teams by combining pulse surveys, weekly check-ins, peer recognition, and people analytics all in one platform. 

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