So what would you do if you see trash -- worse still, bits of toilet paper -- in your company washroom?
Would you pick it up?
Would you leave it as is? Maybe call someone to clean it up later?
Larry Janesky, who's an actual $100 million CEO, would do the former, and for a really interesting reason. I interviewed Larry recently on my podcast, and here's what he said:
"If I walk into a men's room and there's a bit of toilet paper from the floor, I pick it up! And I tell others that I expect the same from them as well."
Now, Larry's point is not just about keeping your workplace clean. It's about showing that you care about the future of your company, and that you're willing to invest into whatever it takes to get your employees more motivated and empowered. It can be a spotless work environment. It can be hustling with your team till 3 am. It's what I call lead by example.
Here are three easy ways you can lead by example starting today:
1. Don't skimp on the vision.
Before you try to lead a team, take some time to examine your personal values, and use this to define your vision. This is so important for any entrepreneur who has to build a team. If you don't define your vision and communicate it convincingly, you'll find it hard to attract and retain top quality talents.
For me, I speak to every job candidate about how I intend to achieve my business goals, and how they play a role in this process. Let's say I'm hiring a marketing manager. I tell them that I want to bump up the company's revenue by 20 percent, by the end of the year -- that's the ultimate goal. Then I share that the marketing manager's job will be to increase the number of leads we have -- so they can see how they're fitting into the big picture. (Of course, the same goes for my existing team.)
Here's how you can do the same: start with the end goal in mind and work backwards. If it's hitting $1 million in revenue, figure out how much that means in terms of sales, calls, and leads per month. Then communicate that to your candidates and team members!
2. Be the first to arrive, be the last to leave.
I'm not asking you to work 24/7. But you do need to show your team that you're willing to work hard with them. It comes down to this: the more time you spend in the office, the more your employees will think: I can see how much this means to him, and I'm proud to be part of this team."
There's no hard and fast rule here, but I generally arrive in the office by 7am, and leave at 8 or 9pm. I don't make my employees follow the same hours, of course -- it's just about leading by example.
3. Treat your employees right.
To grow your business for the long run, make sure your foundation is right -- and that means taking care of your employees. Take it from me: if your employees are unhappy, you won't get the results you want.
I make it a point to speak with individual employees now and then, and acknowledge the hard work they've put in for the company. I also go out of my way to make sure my team's needs are met. For example, one employee told me he wanted to move to another state for his daughter's education, and I promised to set up a branch in that state to simplify things for him. You can imagine how much harder he's worked since then!
At the end of the day, you don't have to do anything super fancy. Just bring an employee out for lunch. Thank them for their contribution. Ask about their family. That's all there is to it!
As entrepreneurs, it's easy to get caught up in things such as closing more sales, or growing your email list. Yes, it's exciting to see your numbers increase. But to build a successful company, you need to get the basics right. And that means showing up every single day as a leader: define your vision clearly, put in time at the office, care about your employees... and don't forget to pick up the trash!