Here’s a basic business truth: Lots of good ideas for companies fail. An estimated eight out of 10 new entrepreneurs see their businesses fall apart within the first 18 months, according to some sources. That’s not good odds.
That is where creating the right environment for success comes in. Adam Witty believes that many new companies would do much better if they tried to create the right mix of people, processes and playfulness that makes people happy to go to work.
Witty is founder and CEO of Advantage Media Group, an international publisher of business, self-improvement, and professional development books and online learning. As Founder and CEO, Witty directs the company’s strategic business development and growth initiatives. He also provides creative direction for Advantage’s corporate marketing strategies.
He has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals to help them write, publish, market and monetize books to grow their business.
“You don’t have to be a business guru to recognize when a business is firing on all cylinders, that everyone is putting their skills to maximum use, working together, and actually having a good time. How to create that chemistry – that’s the question,” says Witty, the author of five books and a speaker and consultant on marketing, business development, media and publishing, and entrepreneurship topics.
“Of course, you need folks with the right qualifications who are willing to bring their A-game every day – that’s crucial,” Witty says. “But there are also character traits to look for: a positive, can-do attitude, for instance. If a person doesn’t fit in the mix, not only will he or she be less likely to bring their best, they can also compromise everyone else’s game.”
Witty has some suggestions about about what it takes to get that hum every CEO wants, both in the office and in one’s respective industry.
1. Staff your team with A-players. These workers are worth the wait. An A-player is someone who brings all of the necessary qualifications to the table – perhaps more than you were expecting – and that something extra as a human being. Of course, that isn’t always readily apparent during a 45-minute interview; it can take time to see the true colors of a talented individual to come through. This speaks to the importance of having an intuitive hiring manager, “which may be a small business’s CEO,” Witty adds. Also, it’s important to have A-players who put the team first, who have helped Advantage Media Group earn a spot on the Best Places to Work in South Carolina list for 2013 and 2014. Egomaniacs who cannot collaborate can to grind productivity to a screeching halt.
2. Try to enjoy yourself along the way. “Having fun not only helps your team do well, it’s a sign that you’re doing things right,” Witty says. “Where fun and work meet is the understanding from employees that they’re making a difference. You want a team of individuals who are motivated by the ‘why’ of what they do.” Fun at work means having energy and enthusiasm while tending to the tasks at hand.
3. Make employees, and clients, your extended family. A family environment significantly facilitates a team mentality, especially for those quiet geniuses who like to keep to themselves because they’re shy. But why stop there? Extend the love to clients, suppliers and other crucial components of the business. Without these folks, your business couldn’t survive.
4. Find a direction. It’s important to understanding the “why” and to encourage difference makers. “Our team members are driven by the ‘why’ of what we do,” Witty says. “The right content in the right person’s hands at the right time can change the world forever. We believe in sharing stories, passion and knowledge to guide and help others learn and grow.”
5. Commit to lifelong learning. Seek to uncover and promote the leader in every one on your team by encouraging all members to follow a path of personal and professional development. With increased knowledge, experiences and skills, people lead to a more fulfilled life, which can profit everyone within a working environment.