Communication is essential to every team. Team members should be able to express themselves via team meetings, emails, text messages, etc. My marketing team for my health care organization was way too lax and not getting the book of business that I felt like they should get. I implemented a daily team call which holds everyone accountable to full workdays by voicing what you did the prior day and what your commitment is to this day. By implementing this process, I’ve seen my company referrals increase tremendously.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a remote team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lalanii Wilson-Jones.
Lalanii Wilson-Jones is a business powerhouse with successful imprints in the healthcare, education, beauty, and wellness sectors. With offices across the state of Texas, Lalanii Wilson-Jones has excelled as a powerful chief executive officer and executive director of more than a dozen dynamic companies. Her bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and Master of Business Administration degree from Argosy University, as well as her 25+ years of experience, make her a formidable leader who is nationally recognized as a front runner in business and entrepreneurship.
Lalanii is also an accomplished author with the release of her new urban fiction novel, Sugar Mama: A Keilanii Jennings Saga, which is available on Amazon.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born a serial entrepreneur and leadership runs in my blood. I have worked since I was roughly 14 years old and no matter what I’ve done, I have always given it 110% to commit to the success of all projects. As a result, I was in a business partnership with my mother at a very young age which developed and honed my leadership and administrative skills.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
My career has been a labyrinth of passages on my journey that have many interesting stories. One of the most interesting stories for me is self-reflecting on the journey and seeing how amazing it is to evolve. I’ve never been one to not pursue my dreams. I realized that I was in two totally different industries and yet they were similar in terms of care. I basically take care of people from birth (childcare) to death (hospice) and every stage in between (home healthcare). I thought that by going back into the medical field, I would want to give up the childcare field; however, I do not, and I have not. In addition, I never thought that I would be where I am today in terms of my professional endeavors. I continue to embark on new business opportunities, and I enjoy being a change agent who leads businesses from start-up to multi-levels of success.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake that I ever made in my career when I first started was dismissing the gatekeeper. I arrogantly assumed that someone working with a major referral source was not a major player in the development of business relationships. I was totally wrong, and I had to apologize to the person for dismissing them and their role. The lesson that I learned from that was never judge a book by its cover, treat everyone equal and use kindness to build relationships. That will take you and your businesses far.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to retain great talent today?
For small companies like mine, retaining talent is an art. Employees want to be valued and appreciated. It is not always the monetary value of the job. I believe in supporting my team by letting them know their value and showing appreciation frequently through purchasing meals, sponsoring company events and giving rewards. I believe in letting them know that they are valued by doing simple things like remembering and acknowledging their birthday, special events, etc. I also host a company holiday party annually for all my employees where we celebrate the holidays and our successes over the year. I typically go all-out for them because I see their commitment all year long.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
Synchronizing large teams is difficult but is effective when communication and collaboration are proactive. Delegation and transparency are critical so that the goal can be achieved, and no one is left in the dark about the issues. I believe in team meetings, daily reporting the current status, issues, and resolutions. It takes everyone on the team to reach the goal and there is no “I” in “team”.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)
- Communication is essential to every team. Team members should be able to express themselves via team meetings, emails, text messages, etc. My marketing team for my health care organization was way too lax and not getting the book of business that I felt like they should get. I implemented a daily team call which holds everyone accountable to full workdays by voicing what you did the prior day and what your commitment is to this day. By implementing this process, I’ve seen my company referrals increase tremendously.
- Collaboration is essential to best practices. The resolution must be what works for the team and not the individual. The end result works for the company. Different departments were holding onto information and not sharing the information that other departments needed for their logistic analysis. By opening documents and sharing them on a board that everyone could see in a group, the information became real and resulted in operations moving effectively toward our company goals.
- Buy in from everyone on the team is essential. If you are working on a project, process or system, every team member has to be on board. It’s difficult to effect change if the team does not see the vision. As the CEO, when I introduce a new business idea, I typically present it to the team so we can evaluate the thought processes and implementation requirements to make it successful. For example, I wanted to expand our service area but through evaluation, we discovered that we did not have adequate staff to work that area. As a result, we were able to recruit, restructure and build a strong team to properly penetrate and service that area.
- Leadership must be visible and present. A lot of leaders want to lead from a distance. However, jumping in with the team, rolling up your sleeves and doing the work with the team are critical for the vision. My presence means everything. My leadership teams sees that I am present and accountable and as a result, I have awesome team members who get the job done.
- “If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” Frederick Douglass. You have to work through events and situations with the vision in mind. Leadership is not always easy and for the faint. You have to have endurance and strength to lead the team towards the vision and make the tough decisions even when no one understands why you are making them.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
There is never a such thing as too much training. Invest in the training so that your employees can return on that investment through extraordinary contributions and results for your organization.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As a teacher of business culture and business etiquette in my own brands, I would inspire everyone to delve into the humane side of your co-workers and not judge them by what you see. Too often, in the workplace, stereotypes and biases are formed against an individual without allowing the opportunity for that person to divulge who they are and possibly why. I love mentoring younger women and teaching them that because the value of that lesson is that you may learn something and get to know someone on a totally different level that can be advantageous for you. It goes back to never judge a book by its cover. I learned that humbleness and humility are part of the art of negotiation and when to use that strategy by watching older women and seeing how they dealt with issues. The traits come in handy!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” as stated by Maya Angelou.
Oftentimes, we overlook unflattering qualities in people for whatever reason. We should not overlook those qualities and dismiss their behavior. They are who we see, and the behavior may come back to haunt you. Dismiss them without prejudice immediately.
Instagram: @Lalaniij @Mogul247
Lalanii Wilson-Jones: “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Remote Team” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.