How do you protect your business from employees?

3 MIN READ

Protecting your business assets must be a high priority for all owners on a good thing with their products and services. However, when your priority shifts to become focused on guarding against your own employees, you have a problem. This is like a red flag of dysfunctional culture waving an urgent alarm that things are not ok.

This is a question I saw posted on social media recently. A real question from a real business owner. The assumptions implied in the phrasing of this question are a concern to me. If you have a culture based on opposition, suspicion and defensiveness you have a foundation for a very unhealthy company. If you’re asking these questions you won’t get far with ensuring confidence and investment from your team.

This business owner thought they had a problem with their staff. But what they really have is a problem in their culture. Instead of asking the best way of protecting your business assets from your own employees, why not ask:

“How can you create confidence and security for your team whilst harnessing your operational IP?”

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
Angela Ahrendts

THIS is a question worth answering! My quick thoughts on the matter:

Protecting Your Business Assets Starts With Establishing Ownership

Of course, the protection of your most valuable assets is essential to business stability. Make sure your team members understand from the outset that all operational knowledge, resources, tools, inventions and developments are ultimately owned by the business. Not by you personally, or by them personally. Documented this in your team employment contracts, signed and dated by you and your staff member. A clause like this does more than protect your company’s operational IP legally. It sends a message to every member of your staff that it’s all for one and one for all at “Team You!”

System Access Should Only Ever Be An Inside Job

Secure all your business logins in an online service which stores sensitive information securely. We use 1Pasword in our team, but LastPass is another popular solution for you as well. Using these encrypted storage tools offers more than the protection of your logins. It guards your staff against the fallout of losing logins or having them fall into the wrong hands. It creates efficiency with faster access procedures, and it creates security for the data being protected. Password software also makes offboarding really efficient in the sad eventuation that a team member needs to leave. You can simply remove their access from the company password service and they’re free to move on.

Build Safe, Accessible Systems On Solid Tech Foundations

I worked with a company in 2019 who still used a local server to store their company business. This old technology is not as secure or efficient as migrating to cloud-based data storage. All your data can be protected by encryption as well as unique logins and access rights for each user. All your data usage can be tracked by many services. This means you see who has been accessing data, when they did it, and exactly what they did. And all data is then made available from anywhere in the world. Storing your company data in the cloud increases efficiency and accountability. Most of all, it celebrates a culture of transparency which keeps people on the same team, without compromising on security for your company.

Protecting Your Business Assets Is A Team Effort

Involving all team members in the development of operational processes is a perfect recipe for engagement. When people are involved in creating the type of workspace they want to work in, their personal investment into the company soars. Make sure they understand just how much the company values their input, and use the task of process documentation as an opportunity to celebrate and reward their knowledge. Then secure this documentation behind encrypted logins, stored centrally in the cloud for fast, safe, shared access.

Above all else, the development of a safe, invested workforce starts with positive leadership coming “from the top”. If leaders at the executive level use language which undermines the positive, invested culture of teamwork and collaboration at work, it will follow that the team will operate in kind. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy you never want to see play out in your company.

Yes, security is important. Especially as time marches on bringing with it new threats and concerns at every turn. But implementing effective security measures does not mean developing a culture of mistrust and fear. Your employees need those security measures just as much as your company does. Just remember the power of your language and the influence that you have as the leader of your company. It’s always the little things that lead to the creation of a healthy, positive company culture.

resilience for business owners

3 Ways Resilience Blocks Business Growth

3 MIN READ

Resilience for business owners is usually something people think of highly. Pushing through hardship to emerge victoriously is celebrated by successful business owners everywhere. It is certainly an asset to be able to battle through challenges in business. Surviving tough times is an essential aspect of business success, but is it always a positive thing?

Don’t get me wrong. You should be genuinely proud of the way you have grown your business, holding on with white-knuckled determination to make it through. Like all your peers, things have not always been easy for you in business. But you have prevailed. Every win you’ve enjoyed has been possible because you gritted your teeth and decided to battle through. You chose to forge a pathway of success right through the eye of the storm.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

Resilience is essential for business owners intent on achieving increasing levels of success. However, there is a risk that the pride you take in your ability to push through could be holding you back. Let me explain …

Resilience focuses on survival instead of growth

When you’re battling it out in the trenches of adversity, making it out alive is the name of the game. You need to harness every resource you have and direct all your efforts towards overcoming the threat. It is vital that when tough times come, you have the strength, tenacity and determination to survive. This approach itself is not a problem, but it can’t draw you on to greater heights.

If you’re a survivor you need resilience, but if you have the visionary aspirations of a leader you will rise from strength to strength to build a legacy others only dream of. This is how you can lead your business away from the battler phase through to wide open spaces of lasting influence. Shifting away from the survival mentality empowers ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in their business.

A dependency on hardship can become an identity problem

Business owners should take pride in their resilience. In fact, often this resilience becomes a defining attribute of the person themselves. When you pride yourself on being the one who pushes through, others will notice. You will inspire others to keep fighting through their own tough times, and you will likely inspire yourself. These are all good things.

But if the story ends there, you will always be tied to the battle, and you will inadvertently create a model for others to stay tied to their battles too. If you ultimately see yourself as a battler, you will always be drawn to battles. As a result, you will never be free of those battles. You will never rise above to access freedom, abundance, and true wealth. How you see changes what you see. Lift your vision beyond the trenches. Do away with the drama. Don’t look for what you can achieve by winning the fight. Instead, look outside the fight altogether. Imagine what life could be like if you weren’t caught that cycle any more.

Resilience attracts battlers

“It’s great to see you! How have you been?”

“Oh, it’s been tough. I’ve got problems with my staff, delays with my suppliers, and my daughter is 16 going on 35. Need I say more!”

“Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve been working late all month fixing mistakes my staff made, and I’ve got stock stuck on a dock because of a strike. And my son… suspended for two days because he just can’t keep his mouth shut. I’m hearing you.”

Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you? Like attracts like. If you’re wearing your tough times like a badge of honour, chances are you’ll find others who approach life exactly the same way. Jim Rohn says you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a look around your circle and honestly evaluate the attitudes your closest people have. Then, pause to consider the effect this might be having on you and your attitude.

At the end of the day, resilience will get you through almost anything, so it is vital for business success. But it is only ever useful amidst hardships. Isn’t life meant to be a little better than that?