Jessie, who has been the longest-serving team member at Business On Purpose, and started almost from the beginning, was sitting quietly staring to my left.

We were in the middle of a very familiar time, our formal weekly check in.  It is a prescribed, 20 minute or so time where we stop what we are doing, and I ask four familiar questions of Jessie (and our other team members).

At the end of that time, I make a statement.

I had just asked the fourth question, “what do you need from me”, and Jessie thought for an unusually long time before saying anything.  

Then she said this, “the second half of our mission is ‘making time for what matters most”…I feel like we do that with conversations like these.” 

We chatted a bit more about the challenge of owners investing in their team, and the return they should expect.

What really caught our conversation was the reality that most owners likely don’t have a targeted plan of team investment outside of a couple of special events per year, and maybe some last-minute bonus items around the holidays.

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We asked ourselves, “how do owners invest in their employees?

In short, it’s likely the total opposite of what you think. 

The bean bag chairs, free food, the team building…those are commodities and are meaningless without the true investment of at least these four items: 

TIME

ATTENTION

REPETITION

IMPLEMENTATION

First, your time is a non-renewable resource which strikes at its value.  The time I am spending writing this post is time that I will not get back, so I have to determine if it is worth the time writing.  

Our mission is to liberate business owners from chaos to make time for what matters most.  I believe this article will help liberate you from chaos therefore it is a good investment of time.

Unfortunately, we often give our time to things that are time-wasters.  The easiest way to determine the resourcefulness of your time is not necessarily looking at checklist-able productivity (although I do love a checklist), but instead determining if the task you are working on is aligned with your mission.

When you make time to spend with or for your team and their growth towards the vision, and mission of the business, that is time well spent.

Do a mental audit of last week, how much time did you actively (not passively) invest in your team?  

Second, your attention is another non-renewable resource.  Attention is bound directly with time.  It is quite possible to spend time with an employee and yet your attention be elsewhere.  

In order to fully give your attention to something, it is helpful to have mapped out what you wish to accomplish while with that person/place/thing.

Obviously, you can over schedule a relationship; but most of us are guilty of the opposite, having very little purpose for the engagement of our team.  

The best, simplest, and easiest tool to put in place to aid with attention is to simply write a BASIC agenda for your time.  How long, what will be discussed, what is the follow-up?

That’s it.  

The check in discussion I referenced earlier follows a very basic outline and each of our team members knows exactly what I’m going to ask…because I ask them every week!  

That leads to the third element of investing in your employees; repetition

Zig Ziglar said, Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”

I’ll ask a business owner, “did you all start doing your team meetings (or whatever)?”  More times than I care to remember the response is, “yeah, we tried that (once) but it didn’t work.”

Even untalented actors get gigs.  Why?  They repeatedly continued to ask long after the rest of us gave up.

Monster biceps come not from a long, extended 8-hour workout at the gym.  

They come through long, extended 8-hour workoutS (plural) at the gym day after day.  It may not be fun…but it is effective.

Finally, Joe Calloway says it best, “vision without implementation is hallucination.”

I have a Monday checklist that I work through each Monday morning.  Some of the “tasks” on that Monday checklist directly impact our team members; small investments of time, attention, or repetition.

The Monday checklist does not pull itself up on my computer…it does not scream and yell at me for attention.  The Monday checklist sits there lifelessly until I pull it up and use it.

Business owners…we must implement the tools we have access to.

There is no silver bullet, but there is time, attention, and repetition…if you wish to implement.

These four things make the bean bag chairs, the ping pong tables, and the team-building not a farce, but something of real value for your team.

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.