Angry Youngman to Happy Friend: Result; 97% Retention & 35% repeated clients
Being a perfectionist, I always believed in the philosophy of being-on-time. During my school & college days, I never missed my bus and was always on time. I used to wake up early and plan my day accordingly.
When I started my company, I expected my team members to inherit the same philosophy. I wanted everyone to be on time and, preferably, even before the due time. Initially, when team consisted of few a members, this worked just fine but as the team grew bigger the problem arose, some of my companions were never on time. I scolded them and felt bad for doing so but they always carried a smile because they were passionate, believed in the company and shared the vision.
I used to get furious, yet never wanted them to work after the office hours since family time is equally important and I wanted them to not compromise on that. I often forced them to shut down their laptop and leave the office, even if it was only about 5 mins of overtime. During the early stages of my startup, I was excited and passionate about everything. The year followed and my excitement was replaced by anger.To overcome this, I changed few habits which brought tremendous change in my life as an entrepreneur.
1. It’s ok if the team comes 5-15-30 min Late: when someone is loyal to their work and you, completes their work on time and takes the call or respond to your customers even on Sundays then YES, it is completely fine even if the team member gets late. When there is a culture of responsibility and commitment to work, the factors like being on time appears small.
2. A smile makes more friends: Earlier as soon as I entered my office I used to ask “who is late today” but eventually I changed this habit. Now I make sure that people around me smile and I even crack some bad joke, on which even Siddhu paaji wouldn’t laugh, but my team members giggled in joy. Now, they are more like my friends and I don’t even think twice or plan before saying.
3. I don’t sit on Boss Chair: All three founders sit with the team, none of us sits on so called Boss Throne, this helps use in building a friendly relationship with them. We only use those chairs when there is a meeting or any interview. As a matter of fact, the "Throne" is used by the interns, colleagues and even the office boy as per their need.
4. I never buy Expensive Clothes & Shoes: I used to spend a lot on luxury. Like others, I loved to wear expensive branded clothes and shoes. Soon I realised that it is creating a fine line between me and my team members. I packed all expensive clothes, even packed my shoes, and got back to slippers. This line soon vanished and we were back being good friends.
5. Now I am lazy, I sleep more, eat more and meditate daily: Earlier I used to work like a machine, thoughts about "how to take the company to the next level", "How to add value to my colleagues life", "How to make them independent", etc used to keep me occupied day in and day out. When you work like crazy, you expect others to do the same, but that’s not going to happen and ultimately you will feel stressed. I used missed my breakfast, lunch and/or dinner but never missed a single client’s call. However, now I sleep on time, meditate, and go for daily walks and as a result, I am more energetic and full of joy. I have delegated the tasks to my subordinates and given them full authority. This helped me stay calm, take better decisions and concentrate on real issues.
6. Call people when you don’t need them: Earlier I used to ping and call my friends and clients only when I needed them. It wasn't long before they realised that there is always a hidden motive behind my call and that in turn became blatant to me. I realised the fact that sometimes it’s okay to spare some time chitchatting with friends and family. When it comes to sparing a little time, switch off your wifi and enjoy the real world around you.
7. Be more social and get Rid of Social media: Earlier, I was so addicted to Facebook that I used to update my status twice a day and upload multiple pictures. It is the experience and skills which mattered not the selfies. Facebook is way more productive when used in a right way. People kill more time in counting likes and asking others for comments. We have ten times more customers because now we spend time on delivering value and not on marketing.
8. Roles change with time but people don’t: I started my career as a geek. EngineerBabu wanted me to oversee sales, thus I learned sales. Things kept changing, roles kept changing, and now I am proud to get big names in our portfolio. Satisfaction is a myth, my dreams are way too big to get satisfied. Next was growth hacking, my company wanted me to be a writer and now I am proud to be a columnist at world’s best magazines. Same is the story of my My cofounder “Aditi Chaurasia” she started as a professor, later became the top women entrepreneur of India. She is one of the best web designers and yet handles finances at EngineerBabu.
Conclusion: I don’t have a dream to make a big team. I am happy with the small team and selected customers and seeing their happy faces daily. Nobody is perfect and neither was I. We made many mistakes and learned from them. We learned from other mistakes too.