How to create harmony for your small business

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by Bellaria Jimenez, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, Managing Partner, MassMutual Tri State

Running a successful business takes a strong team working together toward one vision. Have you ever been driving and a great tune comes on the radio? You begin to hum the melody and you carry it throughout the day. What you may not think about is how many people are involved in making that melody. The definition of melody is a sequence of single notes done collectively. In a band, every musician has his own instrument, each as unique as the individual playing it. Business is very similar; each member of your team brings a unique talent and experience to your business. Although you have key members, every member is valuable in their own way.

As a small business owner, how do you create and lead an organization that is humming and beating harmoniously to one beat? How do you lead the orchestra that is your business? Teaming has become the buzz word in business but building a productive team is not as simple as it sounds. In school when given team projects, the consensus from students is that you feel vulnerable depending on others to do their part. In business, this is the reality. As a small business owner, you begin to feel the same pressure as your business grows. There is a sense of losing control every time you delegate a responsibility or hire a new member to your team. After all, you can do it all and do it well except that you won’t be able to grow in scale if you don’t focus on growing a strong team.

To begin building a productive team, the three key elements to incorporate are trust, collaboration and organization. These are the building blocks to a great team.

First, a team needs to trust one another, trust that they are all working toward one vision and respect one another. Trust is built over time. It cannot be forced, but it can be encouraged. Team meetings are a great place to start building trust. Everyone on the team should have an opportunity to share, listen and be heard in an open, nonjudgmental forum. Create an atmosphere of sharing and have team members discuss their ideas openly. Don’t be afraid of conflict. It can be healthy to have team members disagree to agree. Overtime, open lines of communication and transparency build trust.

The second element is collaboration. Sharing ideas is one way of collaborating but true collaboration starts when each person brings their expertise to the table and together a better outcome is produced. Take, for example, an advisory team working together to provide a client a financial solution. Each member of the team has a different expertise: a protection, investment and taxation specialist. Reviewing as a team the client’s goals and current assets, each member can provide a solution based on their experience. Through each of their lenses, they will provide a different solution that will in turn give the client a more holistic and well-rounded recommendation.

The third component is organization. Teams need rules of engagement, a playbook or an operating agreement. It is the written procedures that guide the team’s vision, roles, responsibilities, team communication, and how to settle disputes and dissolution. Having the playbook adds transparency, keeps everyone organized and reinforces trust with all members. Having rules that are clear and are not open to changing with each situation gives team members confidence and trust.

With these three key elements, the team has a strong foundation to work together toward clear goals and a common vision. It is a good start to harmonizing your team to reach productivity and success.


Bellaria Jimenez is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Partner of MassMutual Tri State, she can be reached at (732) 623-7887 or moc.e1498219470diugl1498219470aicna1498219470nif@z1498219470enemi1498219470jb1498219470.

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