Getting the most out of your Apprentice
Our Apprentice, Stuart, was recently awarded Apprentice of the Month, beating 80 other nominations. Stuart is just six months into his apprenticeship with us, and we’re of course naturally proud of his achievements.
When we drill down into why Stuart has become such an important asset to our business, two things stand out: his attitude/will to perform, along with the system we’ve created to get the best from this vital resource.
Time is the most precious commodity for us business owners. We’re visionaries who love shiny new things and getting stuck into the next project often before the last one is finished. Doing the detail isn’t our strongest point, and our constant changing of priorities, and inability to delegate effectively, gets in the way and leaves us frustrated.
So, to help you get the best from your Apprentice, (or latest team member), and manage their individual scalability to allow you to focus ON your business, here’s the top 5 tips from our proven system:
1. Leadership through expectancy: if you expect success from your team, it’s likely that your confidence and trust is passed onto others by your attitude. Expectancy creates an environment where people grow because they know they are expected to, and will be allowed to. Have you set-out, and discussed, what 100% looks like for your Apprentice? Do you constantly review and measure this?
2. Rhythm and routine: just like anything in life, your business and team members will thrive when you get into a structured rhythm and routine. Having daily huddles and weekly check-ins at the same time, with the same agenda, will ensure momentum, clarity and accountability.
3. The bigger picture: your Apprentice may just be starting out in their new career, and are busy executing the ‘doing’, but it’s vital they are aware of, and involved in, your bigger picture. You’ll be amazed at their desire to engage with this once you involve them in your regular strategy and planning sessions.
4. Matching skills with interests: Lionel Messi is a world-class footballer constantly netting goals for club and country, but you wouldn’t put him in central defence. The same goes for business. If your Apprentice is helping out with marketing, you’re expecting them to tweet and post in your voice, design stuff, write copy, send emails, edit videos, create brochures, approach your clients for testimonials etc. etc. This is a big ask for even an experienced marketer as the skills involved are vast: technical and creative, mass media and attention to detail, written and spoken communications.
Compounded to this is the growth of marketing tools and systems to enable them to reach and engage with your clients: in 2011 there were 100 vendors; just four years later this increased to nearly 2,000.
Our experience is to match your Apprentice’s skills (which are ever-changing), with their interests. If your Apprentice is more technically minded, then focus them on those jobs (make a list – there’s loads). Do get them writing copy (maybe via tweets rather than articles), but do accept that you’re going to get frustrated if you’re relying on them to solely generate weekly, topical blogs up to your standard.
5. You only get out what you put in: Implementing the above in your business, and being consistent with your Apprentice, will mean you investing a little time, but it will produce an effective resource for your business today, and for the future. As one of the finest business leaders, Branson, said:
“Train people well enough to they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
I hope the above is helpful, and here’s to the next six months of Stuart’s Apprenticeship.