Successful small businesses can grow quickly.

One day, you are a sole trader enjoying the fruits of your labour. The next day, you have half a dozen staff and not only are you an entrepreneur, you have been thrust into the role of people manager.

In my work as a business consultant, I see this shift frequently. The interesting thing is, most people go into small business to increase autonomy, influence, to create freedom to follow their passion and to be their own boss. Not to manage people.

That same business owner then puts pressure on themselves to know how to get the best out of their team without support.
So, the first question to ask is: why would we focus on strengthening your team?

In 1983, in a study of organisational change, Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter demonstrated how businesses with progressive HR management practices outperformed those with less progressive practices. She demonstrated the positive affect of investing in people vs the impact on the bottom line.

With hundreds of pieces of research affirming these findings, most change agents will agree that investing in the development of the people underpinning a rapidly growing business through diagnostics and leadership development is a good idea:

1. It helps a team to unpack and understand their differences

What we don’t know about each other can become our achilles heel. If we assume others are responding, thinking and taking in information the way we do, we may be frequently frustrated and disappointed.
We all have different ways of approaching work – and if we all get a positive outcome, the way the process is approached becomes less important.
Completing diagnostics together can shed light on our differences, motivations and why we do what we do – which will build trust, respect, and awareness.

2. It helps the team focus on business outcomes rather than politics

Emotional conflict and the stress that personal differences creates can become a net drain on human resources.
We’ve all been in that situation – where the toxic environment or differences between team members becomes a distraction from the work, and we realise that a significant amount of energy is going into managing each other.
Diagnostics help to quickly unpack where and how a conflict or mismatch has originated, and gives the individuals involved a constructive, non-emotive tool to openly discuss their differences with.

3. It develops resilience – staff will bounce back from conflict quickly, emotional intelligence will increase

Learning about ourselves through diagnostics helps us to be more self-aware, develop strategies around coping and thinking more constructively. These capabilities turn into something rather beautiful over time: resilience.

The deeper we understand ourselves, the quicker we process our emotional responses and move into a constructive space ripe for achievement.

From our work with small and medium businesses, the three diagnostics introduced below have had the biggest impact on strengthening teams and deepening understanding between personalities and working styles:

1. LSI (Life Styles Inventory)

This easy online survey is a life-changer – many of my clients believe that LSI unlocks their capability better than most tools and removes the barriers quickly to being their best self. It quickly identifies constructive behaviour, from defensive behaviour and thinking that might be holding you back.

Not only can you complete the LSI for yourself, but the LSI2 is a 360 feedback tool that allows you to compare your self-image, with the external world around you and how they interpret your intention. A great exercise to do within a small group, with coaching to help debrief and interpret your result

Read more about LSI here

2. VIA (Signatures Strengths Survey)

The VIA is a free tool we use for all of our clients. This survey only measures what is right about you – everyone has the ability to use and display all 24 Signature Strengths, we just get really skillful at using our top 5 as a default, and they are what we become known for.

Knowing your top 5 strengths allows you to unlock your potential, standing confidently behind your strengths and what comes naturally and effortlessly for you.<

Completing the VIA together is a positive team building exercise, especially valuable when coupled with an exercise known as the Strengths Circle to determine how much you are using your strengths in your current situation.

Read more about the VIA here

3. 4MAT (Learning Styles)

This quick, self-assessment tool is often used in learning environments to not only understand your learning style, but as a design tool for delivering learning to others.

Knowing our preferences for learning gives us more insight into how we like to learn, what will engage us most effectively and how to work with other learning styles that might not be your preference. It is a powerful communication tool, which will improve how you communicate effectively to engage your whole audience.

Read more about 4MAT here

These are just a few of the diagnostics that we deliver, however there are many more you can utilise to get the most out of your team.

Customising a suite of diagnostics to suit your needs starts with firstly considering the business outcome you want to achieve. Once you are clear on what you believe the diagnostic process is going to deliver, you can then work backwards and choose the right diagnostic for the outcome at hand.

A strong culture within your business positive affects your business outcomes.
Invest in the people who create your business success, and they will invest in you.

Chat to us about diagnostics and building a better team with a free 30 minute consultation here