See How Far Your Team Can Fly

As a business coach, I talk to business owners and executives every day and a statement I hear very often is, "I just don't have the time I need to spend building my business. I spend all my time working at the core function, and never get to developing processes, hiring and training good people, and improving our marketing and sales practices."

This is a common thread among small businesses but it's easily overcome with a little self discipline and trust. The people who most often complain of this have usually been there from the beginning and see the company as their baby. They've grown it from the ground up and nobody knows better than them how it should run. They know the history, the market, the product, the vendors... They know it all. So when the time comes to loosen up a little and let the employees start to take over, they're unable to give up control. The result is, they do all the work and the people they hired to do the work appear lazy or unproductive.

Let’s assume they hired the right people in the first place. They have a selection process that ensures people are matched to jobs they enjoy and have an aptitude for, and that they work around people whose personality and interests are compatible. If the owner or manager has spent time properly orienting the employee to the organization and the organizations culture and the employee has been indoctrinated to the specifics of the particular job they were hired for, then what is left is for the executive to empower the employee to do their job to the fullest extent of their ability.

That's the problem! So often we see owners who don't allow their employees to work slower than them. It takes time for a person to gain the knowledge and experience of the owner but if the owner ever wants time to grow the business, spend time with family, reap the rewards of owning a successful business, he or she has to relent.

There are many benefits to this though. Employees who are new to a position, either as a new hire or internally moved, bring a new perspective to accomplishing the work. They may bring experience from past positions, external education, personal research, or just by finding a way that better suits their strengths and abilities. If we operate under the assumption that people inherently want to do the best job they're capable of, then allowing some leeway in decision making and innovation may result in higher productivity, better quality, cost savings, and better morale.

The message here is to give yourself a break and allow your people to spread their wings. They may stumble while finding their way, but if you hired well and give proper motivation and encouragement then you'll get the time you need to make the improvements you want in other places.

  • January 26, 2015