The relationship contract - working effectively with others


The business thought leaders will tell you that to level up to the next stage in your business is to employ people to take over roles that are skilled based, leaving room for you to consider expansion, direction, overall organisation as well as motivation. It might be one of the more frightening aspects for an independent business owner to start to outsource the parts they were playing.

You may be in a position of taking on an employee, which tends to have an implicit contract held by law, or simply contracting out an aspect of the business which requires an overt contract with regards to expectations of payment for specific result. Either way, having a specific protocol as to who you will hire for your team is important to the overall mood of your business and will help you to grow as an owner.

Here are some ideas from an holistic viewpoint that might add to your own ideas about working with others.

The basic Ayurvedic body types in a working environment

People have natures and when they are doing work within their nature, they tend to gain more energy doing the work. I used to ask clients – are you exhausted or just bored? Does your energy change as soon as you leave work? That could be a sign of a mismatch of work type to body type.

In a nutshell -

·         VATA becomes enthused by creativity, ideas and does well with systems in place to keep her steady. This body type likes the feeling of being at the forefront of things, whether changes in the business, new word on the street that they can bring to the table or new learning within their own role.  These types like new – their role on earth is to move it into a new phase and they will hear it/smell it/feel it on their skin before others do. If you need something refreshing then this is the body type that will deliver.

·         PITTA becomes clear by direction, vision and the feeling of a job well done. This body type thrives on being part of the decision making process. It is best to give them some leeway in being supervised. They will tend to manage themselves as long as they have something to chew on - they see the logical steps in manifestation and have excellent comprehension for complicated problems. They are sharp in their assessment and work well in areas of analysis. They are well spoken because their speech is clear and direct and they give the impression of confidence. Give them a meeting to run. They are the ultimate resolution provider.

·         KAPHA becomes invigorated by an active position. They will not suffer as much when flying around for business or driving around town as they are strong and have great stamina. They like people and will form strong bonds so ensure they are not left alone. This body type is loyal and likes to serve but it is important that they are appreciated. They have energy to burn so give them plenty to do and they will thrive from the movement. They also require direction as they tend towards inertia, but they are reliable and find easy contentment. If you have a job that requires a lot of energy, this body type has an abundance in stamina.

The aspect of control

Most small business owners start out doing all the parts of business creation themselves. Part of the work involved in keeping the business surviving is ensuring the day-day runs like a smooth machine, and thereby making themselves available for new opportunities as well as taking the time to create those opportunities. An owner/manager may go through the personal process of learning to trust and let go or otherwise stretch their selves too thin on the groundwork aspect and possibly leave little time for the expansion component of the business.

This process of letting go must be built into the foundations of a business. It can take the form of initially getting to know how they work best in business, which is my proposed theory based on Ayurvedic principles. When you go through the process of understanding your own tendencies and how it influences better decision making, then you are in a better position when choosing staff and seeing the qualities you need in them. The interview process is commonly stale and relies on looking at the roles’ technical side and not the potential of the employee. We want our employees to stay with us but we also don’t want them to change.  Matching potential to your business needs creates employees wanting to be at work and thereby giving more space for trust to develop. It is easy to trust someone that feels like they are thriving in their work.

Another principle is creating clear roles with clear expectations whereby the results can be reviewed on a consistent basis without needing to be extra vigilant with supervision. A business owner doesn’t need to know the details of the job but they certainly need to know what results are expected from the role.  Hierarchy can kill this connection. Consider having less people and smarter better paid people and using apps/software to do the menial tasks. Relationships are important. The energy you create in positive inspired people-assets to your business creates efficient parts to your whole vision. Goodwill generation begins here.

Mentoring vs longevity

Would you employ someone that has grand designs of their own, knowing full well that part of the transaction may not only be financial but an opportunity for the employee to learn from you and then possibly leave your business?

This depends on how you view change as part of your business. If you believe in having an in built growth element to your model, then you might appreciate the value of new insight on a regular basis. If you are set on the old school way of doing things, it may involve creating a culture of information protection and encouraging employees to compete with each other for positions. This was the job for life mid-20th century post war approach. It was about longevity in employment in a restrictive capitalist society where we only had a few options to purchase and business owners came from a similar background.

Your network is part of how you do business and it may not just be sideways but also up and coming from below you. Learning rarely occurs one way – where the seasoned business owner may show a certain path of resilience in operations, the upstart may offer ideas into the word on the street, perhaps unformed but the beginning of creation.  Even the art of mentoring needs a review – our earth’s population has compounded which means opportunity is a much wider spectrum. Assisting others incorporates a giving element to the business. And within this, a well-placed protocol of self-development embedded in company policy.

Cultural fit vs values fit

Values can be a life long journey. We may come from a set of values instilled in us from our upbringing, and for others, we may need a few life lessons to find the values that bring us closer to our own truth.  A business culture is a great vehicle for expressing certain values and seeing them manifest in various ways. What does social responsibility mean, for instance? There is a wide application of the value in practise. Therefore, when joining a business with clear values that you wish to discover, you are immersed in values-as-action and get to see it manifest in many ways.

Culture can be things like office banter to Friday night drinks to social sport after work. Culture tends to grow over time from the values (or lack of) of management without any clear guidelines. It can be difficult to pinpoint, especially over a long period of time, and also discovering who the main players were in creating it. It just sort of happens and before you know it, some people just fit and some don’t and this can become part of the indicators of employment - it suggests that any contenders that are interested in joining the business must already be on the same wavelength. This is rarely about potential but more about status quo.

The difference between the two options is the clear statement of values to the unspoken creation over time of culture. The creation of intention means that it is a conscious act that, ideally, permeates the other areas of business activity. It is a constant refining process that uses the business as a vehicle for self-actualisation and it starts to attract the people that are interested in the same journey, and thereby making the hiring process in alignment with a progressive state of mind.

Write it down and review it often

Just like a marriage created in the honeymoon phase of the relationship that gets confused when their contract doesn’t allow for one of parties to change, each relationship created within the business needs a regular review process.

Annual reviews are common for employees, relationships with customers are rarely reviewed and yet budgets are reviewed monthly or quarterly. The point being, that things change often and, more than ever,  the relationship component needs a regular review to be in alignment with the business agenda.

·         Customers and expectations. Are your customers still in alignment with your values? Have they had a change in management or customer service? Do you need to consider a one-one to re-negotiate payment or delivery terms, for instance? Do they want something new?

·         The well-being of the employees/contractors. Are they in an expansive (creative, manifesting, customer relations) space or are they retreating (review, detail oriented tasks). Can you match the needs of the business to the natural flow of the workers?

·         The community and the space you work in.  Are you a part of the right network? Do you need to reach out and connect in a different field? Is your business social enough? How do you affect your immediate environment? How do the employees react to the work space you’re in?

·         The relationship of the owner to the business. Are you still thriving in this? Does your vision need a refresh? Is the pace in alignment with the rest of your life?