We’re in the midst of a series of interviews with WordPress entrepreneurs, picking their brains for insight and knowledge.
This time we’re talking to Nancy Lyons. She’s the founder and CEO of Clockwork, a digital agency in Minneapolis that’s more focused on people than technology—they’re consistently recognized as a great place to work. She’s also the cohost of the Geek Girls Guide podcast, coauthor of Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People and Process and a WordPress fan. “Be a good human” is one of Nancy’s mottoes.
Don’t get too consumed by work. All the things outside of work make you a better business person.
Let’s talk listening to your people and improving your processes. Nancy Lyons brings the wisdom:
When things are hard, how do you know when to stick with it and power through and when to call it quits and move on?
We always say work is hard and busy, that’s good in a culture like ours where people are fueled by challenge. But if a project is taking too big of a toll on people, it’s time to think about moving on. People are every business’s biggest asset, too big to crush for the sake of a bottom line.
I also talk to the people doing the work. They always have a read on whether something’s still a good plan. To get the best insights, I try to create a space where they feel like they can be honest and open about what’s going on.
Also, I’ve found that if we’re not learning and growing—as an organization and a team—from an experience, it’s frequently time to move on.
How do you make more money—what are some lessons you’ve learned that can increase profitability?
Assess your processes. As work evolves, processes will need to as well, so you always have to be thinking about how to work smarter. Not faster or cheaper, just smarter and better.
We really believe that all processes should be serving people. This helps ensure that work is being done as efficiently, productively and innovatively as possible.
A strong culture also increases profitability. We have stated values that we’ve defined and talked about as an organization. These values communicate what we expect and rally people around a way of working.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Always listen to the people doing the work. They may not always be right, but you’ll learn something from what they say. Be humble, open and authentic.
Really know what you personally value and make sure you’re bringing that into your work. Surround yourself with people who value similar values—that goes way farther when it comes to long-term partnerships than any knowledge or expertise.
Don’t get too consumed by work. All the things outside of work make you a better business person, a stronger and more emphatic leader, and a happier individual.