Smart Management - The Next Best Thing To Cloning Yourself

Business management can be both exciting and frustrating: sometimes both at the same time. Hopefully, you’ve got more of the exciting and less of the frustrating, but in any case, there are things that you can do to make life in the office more pleasurable for you and your staff.

Let’s look at the roots of excitement and frustration. Excitement comes when you capitalize on opportunity, things go right, and you claim the reward for a job well done. Frustration comes from the opposite.

If you’ve read our articles in the past, you know that we’re firm believers in setting up the right environment first. (We’re including systems, procedures, tools, knowledge, etc. as part of the environment.) And plugging people into that environment comes second. So often, when a decision maker is frustrated, it’s the result of working with people first (morale-building activities, teamwork sessions, incentive programs, etc.), then working on the environment as almost an afterthought. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wrong, because when basic needs go unmet, people can’t perform the most basic of tasks…even with help, even with teamwork, even with incentives. Take a talented graphic artist and sit him in front of a TV instead of a computer for 8 hours. Will he produce print-ready artwork? Will he if you cheerlead, ask him to express his feelings, or give him a better health insurance program? He may want to do the job, but he needs the right tools to do his job. Would you expect an emaciated, starving dog to eagerly fetch a paper? Maybe with a steak rolled in it, but his mind is on eating, not on playing games.

Sure, there are times when you want your staff to work interdependently, meaning together to get the job done. Then there are times when you want them to be able to use their heads, make the right decisions, fix minor problems (ideally prevent most problems before they occur), and leave you to do the planning and strategizing so you can move your firm forward. Again, that all boils down to the environment that you build, foster, and refine.

Furthermore, the steps you learn here, if applied, will build productivity and self-sufficiency from upper-level management straight through to your front line. Be patient with yourself and others. Every person has his own body of knowledge and experiences to draw from, and every person will have a different learning curve. The important thing to acknowledge is that the shift to thinking and functioning independently is an ongoing process.

For example, an executive from Carrier Air Conditioning (United Technologies Corp.) once said that when he first started with the firm, he only saw what was happening around him, yet he thought he understood the bigger picture. When he was promoted to a more senior position, he noticed that he learned so much more as his skills were expanded by the corporation. When he moved higher yet, his picture expanded once again, and he was surprised at what he used to think of as being informed. It's like mountain climbing; the higher you climb the more you see. Good education of management places individuals at higher ground, and it shows them what to do with the larger picture that they're seeing.

Here are some ways that you can elevate your perspective and bring subordinates to higher ground:

1. Build a structure that facilitates success. There's a point in any growing business where our ideas must be passed on to managers to follow out the requests and needs of the corporation. Building a structure in terms of operational and organizational design will allow for the most powerful management control. Think of it in terms of an office building. Some facilitate people working well together, and others add to confusion. The key is to enable the manager to navigate his or her course and complete the mission without disruption. The right structure is the environment that fosters employee success.

2. Supply your managers with management tools. It's just like a computer. In order for it to function, one needs hardware, software and “humanware.” For management, hardware might mean computers, intranet and extranets, scanners, cars, voicemail, budgets, etc. On the software side, it may mean spreadsheets and operational software. For humanware, the tools may be strategic and tactical, new product and service development, alliance development, leadership, competitive intelligence, globalism, economics, understanding trends, or reading financials.

3. Learn to coach and educate people properly. Do you ever sit down with management or employees after you've made a decision and explain to them in detail HOW you came to that decision? How can we expect employees to think and act like management, if we don't teach them the background data? It's not enough to say you made the decision. The listener most likely does not have your scope of knowledge. Tell your managers that you purchased a piece of equipment, because of 14 elements—from good sales and cash flow to a large order you think may be secured. Explain to them why you fired Linda. She was often late, her numbers were well under what you expect, there were issues of harassment, and poor use of company time. The more your employees know HOW you're thinking, the more you can assist them when they make decisions. And when you aren’t there to hold their hands, they can draw upon the experiences you’ve ../shared with them in order to make the sound choices.

4. Educate your managers about the tools you use to be successful. Then, ask them to share the tools they use. The exchange can be a real eye opener. Ooops, you do it off the top of your head! Then expect your employees to do the same. Empowerment is more than letting people go. To avoid let downs and costly mistakes, empower your people by giving them the knowledge and though processes to be successful. Imagine if you got a call from Steven Spielberg today and he said, “(Insert your name here) you've been given you the authority to produce my next Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Most of us would be clueless without guidance and some structure. Make sure you’re giving both to your people.

The final and most important element to getting management to think on their own is to do all of the above and then GET OUT OF THE WAY! Give people some space to learn alone, to experiment and experience, and to learn their own lessons. When you step back and let others do their jobs, you tell them that you trust them. Your trust, combined with a success-breeding environment and tempered guidance, builds their confidence, their minds, and their abilities as leaders and managers. That's how people learn to think on their own.

About the author
David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of a firm that offers consulting and speaking services internationally. David was named by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the “26 Hottest Speakers in the Industry.” A best selling author characterized David in this manner; "David Goldsmith is unique in that he can see a 30,000 feet view of business and then delivers the hand-to-hand tools for combat. Few people can do what he does." More information at

No comments :

Popular Posts