The Importance Of The “Why”

The Importance Of The “Why”

People often start a request by mentioning what it is, this makes it seem much more like a chore and a command. There’s a way to make people more interested and actually listen to you even when you have a request. Talking about the “why” of a subject helps create a sense of trust and give off a feeling of belonging.

Explaining The “Why” To Your Team

As stated before getting people interested is part of having tasks done without complaint and in a more enthusiastic manner. As social beings, we have this innate need to feel included, explaining the “why” instills this sense of trust, which translates into being included in a group that knows why. The other half of this is our brain’s need to find connections, by explaining the “why” then the “what”, the association is instantly given. Knowing the reason behind a move, task, or project also helps ease in change, there is less resistance to a command if people know why it’s being done.

Real World Example

I had my executive assistant send a weekly email to managers giving updates on ticket statuses. It was done for a week then it didn’t happen the following week. I take full ownership of this because I completely forgot to explain the why to the task. After I took notice of the incomplete task, I rectified my mistake by explaining to my EA exactly why the task was so vital. After she understood the importance of the task, it became a weekly thing and happens like clockwork.

Consistency

Just like with giving feedback, it is important to consistently explain the “why”. Make it a habit to explain the “why” for all projects so it becomes a regular thing in your company. If you’re a part of a meeting and you need people to do certain things, open up with the reason behind it. Having other managers do this for their team will also benefit everyone in the company. No matter the size of the task, make sure the reason is revealed and explained.

Create A “Why” Culture

Coupled with being consistent with explaining why something needs to be done, you should strive to create a “why” culture. Having everyone explain why something is being done will help everyone at every stage of the process. For example, if someone on the team is holding up the process, they can explain the process and what they’re doing to try to speed it up. From that point on, people will know exactly why something might take longer than expected and not jump to conclusions. Encourage people to ask “why” or just get everyone to explain “why” before saying the task. The latter is what you want to eventually happen, the former is just a way to help you get there. Take note, it is important to ask in a respectful manner. Referring back to the saying, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you said it”, your choice of tone/intonation plays a huge role when you ask a superior “why”. If you need to, build up to it, “my team will get right on it, in order to ensure your end goal is met, I’d like to understand the reason for this task, if you could give it to me so I can break it down for my team, that would be great.”

Explaining why something must be done is as important as explaining what must be done. It helps build trust with your teams as well as fostering workplace comradery which translates to a happier work environment. Try explaining the why and measure its effectiveness with your team.

Choosing The Right Remote Staffing Model For Your Business

Choosing The Right Remote Staffing Model For Your Business

After I spoke with a party interested in remote staffing, I realized that there are many different business models to actually choose from. In an attempt to make it a lot easier for people to select which model will fit their business best, I’ll explain how 4 of the main types work. These 4 include: general remote staffing, hourly services, incubation/seat leasing, and the BOT model.

General Remote Staffing

This is also called outsourcing or cloud staffing. This model is where you hire staff from outside your immediate area and they work from a remote location. This model is for people who want to grow a department without spending excess amounts of money on staff and infrastructure needed to accommodate new staff. When you partner with a remote staffing company, they will have a building and depending on their terms, may provide your staff with a workstation. You also get the peace of mind that all your HR and IT worries will be taken care of. This also includes oversight in the form of In addition, if your staff doesn’t meet your requirements or they quit, the remote staffing company will recruit for you. 

Hourly Services

This style of business is essentially like the general remote staffing model except the payment is, as its name suggests, per hour. The amount of hours your staff work each day, week, or month is determined by you. The staff that will do said work is usually chosen and trained by the remote staffing company. The hardware and software needed to do the job is usually also provided. Hourly services work exactly like how contractual employees would but working remotely. Do note that most companies will require you to hit a minimum number of hours before you can avail of this service and prices may vary depending on the skills you require.

Seat Leasing/Incubation Services

As the name suggests this model is all about the seating or infrastructure. Picture general remote staffing except the only thing provided is the space and workstations, all of the administration, IT, and HR tasks are yours. Seat leasing or incubation services are for people who have a complete set of staff but no infrastructure. For example if your building is too small for your growing team, this would be a great set up as you would have access to the location and technology that you’d need to operate. This option is also great for startups that already have staff but are looking for a temporary place in order to start.

Build. Operate. Transfer.

The build, operate, transfer, or BOT model is where you take an idea, share it with a remote staffing company, and then they will build you that business, get it stable, then transfer everything over to you. Companies generally have different time frames for how long it will take them to transfer everything over to you, make sure you pick a partner who will deliver in a time frame acceptable to you. Breaking it down step by step:

  1. Sourcing, recruiting, and building your team (based on your requirements)
  2. Planning and consulting
  3. Daily management of everything from staff to infrastructure
  4. Workspace is finalized along with all of the tools needed for the business to run properly
  5. Company registration
  6. Finalizing of the entire office space
  7. Transfer of the team and all other assets
  8. If needed, continued consulting (there may be additional charges for this depending on the company)

Selecting the right model for your business is important because it determines how successful you will be. Even with these descriptions, make sure to talk to your prospective remote staffing partners about the options and discuss which would be the best fit for you and your needs. Take note, giving accurate requirements such as the right job description or the right qualifications the first time around drastically cuts down the time needed to find staff, for applicable remote models, the more correct information you give, the easier the search for staff will be.

How Do We Win as Leaders?

How Do We Win as Leaders?

All successful businesses share 1 trait: strong leadership. Strong leaders find solutions and lead their teams to success. While there is no one true way to ensure success, there are a couple of strategies that greatly increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Take Action

Opportunities come and go, sometimes the door is only opened once and for a brief moment. Being ready at the time of the opportunity is more often than not, a luxury. Taking the leap and seizing the opportunity while it’s still available is something you’ll have to get comfortable with.

Overplanning can potentially lead to a missed opportunity. Preparing once you hear about an opportunity is difficult and oftentimes it’s already too late to create a fully-fledged plan. If you have processes already in place for that scenario, then it’s a no brainer, take the opportunity and run with it. Having a plan set for a specific situation is highly unlikely and treading uncharted waters may be daunting, even with a dependable team behind you.

Taking action is better than inaction. If problems arise, they can be analyzed and solved and the situation can be salvaged. If no action is taken and the door closes on an opportunity, there is no telling if it will ever present itself again. The value given to actions is that you will have chances, if you hit obstacles, you always can always put in work and get over them. The cost of inaction is a completely missed opportunity, with no opportunity to get it back.

The Ability To Lead Up And Down The Chain Of Command

Leading down the chain of command should be self explanatory. It is the act of guiding a team that works under you to success. The ability to properly lead is a bit more complex. You have to be a part of the planning stage as well as the execution of said plan. While you can let a member of your team take ownership of a situation, it is always good to give your insights on the matter due to your unique perspective. While your success rate is clearly tied to how you lead your own team, leading up the chain is a bit different.

In relation to how your views are different compared to your team’s views, they are also different from your superiors. Essentially think macro vs micro, you are the bridge between the higher ups and the boots on the ground, thus putting you in a very unique position with valuable insight. When leading up the chain of command it is important to note that you will have to be as tactful and as skillful as you can be. Situational awareness is the driving factor you must use to convince upper management that your decision is correct. You must stay professional, you will be talking to people who outrank you so situational awareness, experience, influence, and proper communication skills are your tools to lead upwards.

Make sure you’re able to accept criticisms. You’re able to see a unique view of a situation, but don’t forget that your superiors also have a unique view and they might have been in your position before. If you go in with the mentality that they know more than you, you’re more likely to treat them with respect, even if your goal is to change the overall plan.

Discipline

People often say money buys freedom, but what if you have no money? Are you always going to lack freedom because of the lack of capital? If you rephrase the saying to “discipline buys freedom”, then anything is possible. If you need more money, you need to be disciplined in order to save up. You need to stop yourself from spending on unnecessary things, you need to devise a plan that allows you to spend less money to get things done and you do these things by being disciplined. 

In a different example, being disciplined gets you more free time. By following a schedule and maintaining your time properly, you can optimize the time you spend working, thus freeing up time later on. If you’ve set up a decentralized command style of management, you need to trust your team to do their part, micromanaging them breaks your schedule and removes any free time that you might have had if you stuck to your schedule.

It all begins with small steps. Self discipline doesn’t happen overnight, you have to start with small victories in order to condition yourself to make the right choices. From something as simple as forgoing the snooze button and getting up can later evolve into completing your goals in the time you’ve allotted.

Putting it all together

All three combined points create a recipe for success. Taking opportunities as they come gives you a chance to succeed, being able to lead your team and those above you in certain situations also raises the chance of success as the coordination will allow for actions to be made quicker, lastly being disciplined enough to make the right choices gives you the advantage in any situation. The work culture these strategies create also benefits the entire organization. Performing at a higher and more efficient level inspires others on the team and as a leader that’s what you should strive for, as your team’s success is your success .

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

A Quick Overview Of A Decentralized Command Structure

The concept of decentralized command has been around for a while. It was presented to the business world in a big way when retired Navy SEAL commanders Jocko Willinks and Leif Babin and their book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”. In the book they explain that decentralized command is about empowering the people under you in order to build a culture where people take ownership of problems and solutions without passing blame.

Empowering Others

By giving authority to those under you, people own up to more things. For example, if you task someone to lead a specific assignment and give them almost full autonomy to plan and strategize, they will give it their full effort as it is their plan. Should you still be there to help tweak things in the plan? Of course. As a leader you have a different vantage point that lower level individuals do not. Share this with them and teach them to do it. This system helps breed a culture of success that can be sustained no matter the size of the organization.

Lazy Delegation VS Decentralized Command

The main difference between being a lazy leader and a leader who has a successful decentralized command is the culture it breeds. Lazy leaders can be seen as people who delegate jobs to others due to the dislike for the task. Another example of lazy delegation by a leader is when they give tasks that they’re supposed to do to subordinates. In the business world, if a manager is told to create a business report but doesn’t want to do it, they just tell someone on their team to do it instead; this sort of lazy delegation gets noticed and the attitudes within that team and even that organization will change negatively.

In a proper decentralized organization, leaders complete their own tasks. In some cases leading by example means you do tasks others would find to be “beneath you”. The tasks that get delegated are meant to promote growth and instill a sense of ownership with said tasks. Letting someone lead a specific project allows them to get a feel for a leadership role, it also allows you to step back and look at the bigger picture while they focus on the more granular aspects of it, which in turn lets you give them advice that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Quick To Act

A short answer as to why businesses will benefit from a decentralized style of command is: reaction time. In a regular hierarchical structure, decisions have to be approved by the boss, it takes time for this to happen if the action is at the bottom of the chain. When you empower all team members, you have multiple points of decision making. What used to take days or weeks to be approved can now be done in a day. This also impacts the efficiency of the team. If lower management needs to acquire pens for their team in order to finish a project, it would make no sense to wait a week to get approval to buy pens from the person at the top of the chain of command.

More Time For Leaders

All of the aforementioned things allow leaders to focus on the bigger picture as well as all tasks that require quick reaction time. With a team taking burdens in different departments, a weight is lifted from those in higher leadership roles. Not having to deal with multiple small items in a day frees up so much time. Having a much bigger window to meet with important clients or planning the company’s expansion are some of the other tasks leaders could be doing with their newly acquired time.

Growth Of People And The Organization

Having a decentralized command structure allows for groups of any size to stay agile and quickly react to change. Being a controlling type of leader in a small organization is still a viable strategy because all of the staff probably work the same hours and having them all need supervision at the same time would be a rare occurrence. Once a group grows to where people are on different shifts and where there are subteams it becomes physically impossible to micromanage. The great thing about starting with a decentralized structure is that it can scale infinitely. By instilling a culture of success where teamwork and owning everything you do is valued, growth happens organically and whenever new members are added they still exhibit the traits your original team has. It essentially becomes a self sustaining and self growing organization.

Ultimately your goal is to build leaders in order to have a stronger organization that will allow you the freedom to focus on priority tasks. You allow people to lead, in order to get better at it. You provide your unique insights whenever help is needed and this encourages growth instead of inhibiting it by punishing mistakes. By allowing anyone to take ownership and step up to lead a project, you’re fostering a culture built around success and coordination that will show throughout your organization and everyone will be better because of it.

Extreme Ownership Explained For Business Leaders

Extreme Ownership Explained For Business Leaders

extreme ownership explained for business leaders

Extreme ownership is a book written by two highly decorated, retired SEAL team commanders, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. In it, they talk about a leadership style where you take “extreme ownership” of everything. This leadership style is being used by one of the world’s most elite teams and has proven itself to be effective as the two now have a company that consults with business leaders on how to properly lead.

Taking Ownership Of Everything, The Good And The Bad

Taking ownership of mistakes is hard for everyone, our egos don’t want to be bruised by failure or blame. Getting over your ego allows you to say “this was my fault, let’s analyze this and do it properly.” The book talks about the human aspect of leadership, people aren’t flawless and they will make mistakes, SEAL team members are the exact same way, except unlike most people SEALs will look at what they did wrong, what options could have been done instead, and implement them. When you display this sort of behavior in front of your team, they’ll start to pick up on it.

Taking ownership of the good is definitely something you should do but in a modified way. Instead of taking the glory all for yourself, make sure to commend your team. To put it bluntly, distribute the credit among your team and watch the positive attitude spread. The effects of sharing success among a team greatly outweighs the small amount of achievement you may feel by taking all the credit for your success. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel successful, you should own that success, but in a much more humble way.

Learn To Take Criticism

Being able to own criticism then analyze and learn from it is critical to growth as a leader. If you take criticism with a respectful mindset and tell yourself “this person knows more than me”, you will get more out of it. You’ll stop seeing it as an attack and instead be able to make adjustments in order to better yourself. Even if you come to the conclusion that the person wasn’t correct in their assessment, you can still use it as a springboard, think “what might have prompted them to say that?” 

Leading Your Team

Being responsible for a team is simple in theory but it doesn’t end up being that way in practice. Leading doesn’t mean giving out orders, the human element stops that from working. People want to have a back and forth, they want to work things out, and they want to come up with an idea of their own in order to solve a problem. If you led a team of robots that did anything you wanted, whenever you wanted, you could bark orders all day and find success, but until technology reaches that point, you have to learn to lead properly. You have to handle people with more tact, leading by example, and exhibiting qualities you want to instill in your team has a sort of trickle-down effect. Like owning your mistakes, when others see you doing it, they will follow suit.

The idea of owning the good and bad is a very basic concept, someone probably thought of it long ago, but why has it only become a topic of conversation in recent times? The answer is because an elite team of people got it to work with proven results. By incorporating these techniques into your leadership style, you’re going to see changes within your organization that will better it as a whole. 

Remote Staff And Real Estate – The Solution To Backlogged Paperwork

Remote Staff And Real Estate – The Solution To Backlogged Paperwork

Remote Staff And Real Estate - The Solution To Backlogged Paperwork

All jobs come with additional tasks that make the initial job more laborious. The real estate industry is filled with passionate agents who are motivated to sell and break records. They excel when dealing with customer interactions and can quickly switch between different clients on the fly. They don’t however enjoy being bogged down in the paperwork, to be fair, not too many people enjoy the backend tasks associated with sales, I sure don’t. That’s where a virtual assistant (VA) comes in.

What Is A Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant or VA is an assistant that works remotely. Think of them as a one-stop-shop, they don’t specialize in one area but instead have numerous skills that allow them to fill many positions. They can do tasks ranging from appointment setting, organizing calendars, updating listings, content creation and editing, and the list goes on. They focus on the backend tasks so you can focus on the front-facing tasks that you’re passionate about.

The Value Of A Properly Trained VA

A VA can bring value if they’re trained properly. As mentioned before, they can keep everything organized. This means never missing another appointment, never losing any documents, and more importantly, you get to stay on top of your game, going from one client to the next, seamlessly because the backend weight of your job is being lifted. On top of organizational skills, they can create content for you as well. Things like blog posts and graphics can also be handled by them. Having pictures on your listings that are edited to look as clean as possible will help entice people, as cleaner images draw more attention than pictures taken from a camera phone and directly uploaded onto your site.

Setting Proper Goals and Communication

In order to get the most out of your new remote staff, you need to be clear on what their goals and milestones are. Without clear and measurable markers, you won’t be able to measure how much value they’re bringing to your business. It also allows you to easily engage with your new VA. Keeping communication with your assistant is important for two reasons, to ensure they’re developing into the type of VA you want and to foster loyalty. This seems counterintuitive as you’re hiring a VA to eliminate the backend tasks not so you have to babysit someone. Communicating with your staff could be asking what your schedule looks like for the week to simple office socialization like how their weekend went, are they okay, topics like that.

Tools For Success

Having real estate marketing tools in place makes everyone’s’ lives easier. Your assistant can handle working on a CRM so you don’t have to, so giving them access to your specific CRM would give you even more time to go out and make more sales. Having a communication system that allows your VA to have a voice is also a great tool. It solves the communication problem and it also empowers your staff, giving them the ability to voice out their concerns. Organizational tools other than your calendars, such as Trello or Hootsuite gives your VA the opportunity to be more productive and it saves them time, allowing them to perform other tasks, which in turn means you have more time for sales.

With all that freed-up time, you’ll be able to ramp up your sales numbers. Of course, it will take time for everything to stabilize and become self-sustaining, but the end result is what you’re after. Don’t think of your VA as a sidekick, this isn’t a Batman and Robin situation, it’s more of a Marvel’s Avengers situation. You’re a team and you’ll get more done and perform at your best when working as a cohesive unit. 

A look back at how COVID showed me what my business needed to grow

A look back at how COVID showed me what my business needed to grow

March 2020 was a wild time for businesses in the Philippines. Big companies were closing down, smaller companies couldn’t afford to keep operating, I feel so fortunate I didn’t have to close my doors. In spite of all the things COVID-19 has done, at the very least it was an eye-opening experience. It showed me what my company is and isn’t capable of doing by putting it through a real-time stress test, one that I would later find out, many of my friends’ businesses would not pass.

One area that needed work

One problem during the pandemic was the disconnect between us and our partners overseas. There was no real way we could feel what they were going through. Although we were successful in moving all staff to a work from home setup, we were still at a loss for what was happening across the ponds. We weren’t able to assess what their markets looked like, what their client base looked like, we couldn’t predict what was going to happen so we couldn’t help them.

The biggest hit during the pandemic

The thing that kept me up at night and the single worst part of COVID-19 and having a business was the staff cuts. Having to let go of that many people in such a short amount of time gave me a sick, sinking feeling in my gut. We had even prepared for this outcome during an all-hands meeting I held and that didn’t make it any easier to do. My management team and I all shared the problem of sleepless nights as the cuts began. Letting go of really great people with so much potential broke my heart. (Happy ending though, the company got back on its feet and we were able to pick up the people who weren’t hired elsewhere.)

Weakness turned into a strength

Kind of a middle ground type of a thing, COVID-19 showed me that our, at the time, current tools couldn’t adapt to certain workflow changes. This gave us the opportunity to try out tools to see which were scaleable. We found some that worked well for us that would allow us to adapt to this new normal we now live in. Our work from home teams could now function at a much higher capacity than before. Management from a home setup was also made easier with our new toolkit. 

Perseverance of my team got us out of the worst of it

The management in Clark Outsourcing is what I’m most proud of. Through the worst part of COVID so far, the management team has displayed incredible amounts of professionalism as well as adaptability. There were times where choices had to be made on the fly and without my team I don’t know if the company would have survived. Their response time, ability to handle problems in uncharted waters, and their business instinct helped keep the company afloat. I’ve always said people are the greatest asset and if this isn’t a testament to that, I don’t know what is.

Diversifying our industries

Aside from the fantastic managers at CO, COVID showed how stable we are due to our diversity. Our partnerships with different types of industries allowed us to keep operations going smoothly. We weren’t locked into a singular industry which gave us the flexibility to have some operations going smoothly while others were being scaled down by our partners. In line with our flexibility, our business model allowed us to easily transition to a work from home setup. Both the client staff and the internal teams had an easy transition and were able to be as productive as they were in the office, with minimal down time due to technical difficulties. 

Learn, adapt, survive

Overall I was able to view COVID’s effect on my business and learned a great deal from it. I was able to spin the trials that my company faced in a positive manner and in doing so, CO came out stronger than it was before. We took the pandemic head on and came out as a more cohesive unit, which is saying a lot considering it could have been a lot worse. Looking back now I can say that we weren’t prepared for it, but we learned from our mistake. In the event of another pandemic, we have processes in place that will ensure a smooth transition. If I was able to go back and stop it all from happening, would I? Of course I’d stop it, but it happened, we persevered and grew from it, as should every company fortunate enough to have survived the initial impact of the COVID event.

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