Archive for the ‘management’ tag
I’ve got a wide-ranging list of links for you this week, including advice on how to prepare for Obamacare, insight on the booming (again) housing market and, for you botany nerds, a list of terrible names for wild pansies. Enjoy!
Here’s our weekly collection of stuff you should know about. Enjoy, and have a great three-day weekend.
Do run your company with an iron fist? Berate employees for every little mistake? Live and die by the rule book?
A laundry list of rules isn’t practical and it’s not good for a company’s culture. Mike Figliuolo, founder of thoughtLEADERS recommends trading in the rule book for a judgment-based approach that can be applied to any situation. Not only is it more flexible, but more applicable because every tough decision, every broken rule involves different factors and circumstances.
So what should you think about? Figliuolo says:
How do you articulate performance standards in your organization? Is it a long list of rules, standards, metrics, and infractions or goals? Or is it a set of behavioral guidelines you want your team to adhere to?
I’d submit that the former is particularly difficult to manage and you might want to ask your team members how they feel about working in such an environment.
The latter is harder to manage because you *will* have people who deviate from the guideline (because it’s not overly specific and it’s subject to interpretation). In the long run, though, you’ll create a culture where those standards become the norm. People feel empowered to act within those guidelines and their sense that you trust them goes up dramatically.
Take some time to evaluate how your team functions and how you set standards. If you can loosen the collar a little for your folks, they’ll operate more freely and the environment of “gotcha!” can eventually disappear.
You hired employees because they demonstrated they have certain knowledge and/or experience in the green industry or in sales, marketing, bookkeeping. As long as they’re not harming other employees or harming your bottom line, allow them to flexibly do the work for which you hired them. With a solid set of guidelines that let employees work within certain boundaries, you may even discover better ideas and more efficient processes.
Jason Cupp, whose precious Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs can’t hold a candle to my Cleveland Indians, weighs in on the importance of outsourcing parts of your business, especially as a small enterprise:
If your team is still on the small side, you might not have the volume to keep your team busy all the time. You might be trying to stretch yourself (or your team) to get everything done, squeezing as much as possible from everyone. This can be great in the short term, but if you do this for too long you risk burning out yourself or your team – or both. The next option is to bring on additional people, but you might not have enough work to keep them all busy, all the time. Running a small business requires a degree in juggling with a major in balance. But it doesn’t have to be.
You can outsource a good chunk of your business so that you can focus on what you do best. If you’re the best salesperson on your team, should you be the one fixing the lawnmower, or is it better for your business to have someone else do that while you go and make more sales? You’ve probably already learned that doing your own books is not the best use of your time – you’re a landscaper, not an accountant. A friend of mine loves tools, but he will buy the cheap’o version of them first to find out if it’s worth using in the long run. Sometimes the novelty is just that – a novelty, but other times, he learns that the tool is awesome and he’ll go buy the best he can afford. Outsourcing is a great way to fill in the small needs of your business until you decide you need a fulltime, in-house person for that job.
Baseball aside, Jason’s a smart guy and helped out with our April cover story, The A-Team, on how to find the best accountants, marketers, bankers and attorneys for your business. He might not pick the best baseball teams, but he has some great insight on how to round out your management team.
What do you do about feedback from your team?I’ve run my landscaping company for 27 years. Hard to believe. During those 27 years, I’ve learned a lot. The area I feel I have grown the most in is Leadership. Oh, I still have a lot to learn but I’m much improved.One of the things I used to do, and still see a lot of leaders doing today, is asking for feedback when the decision has already been made. If you want to get your followers to check out and tune you out as a leader, ask for feedback on an important decision as an attempt to trick them into saying what you want to hear. People are way smarter than we give them credit for.For example, if I have already made up my mind to get in the irrigation business, why ask my team what they think? If I have not made up my mind, then ask for feedback and listen to the feedback.At the end of the day, you do not have to follow the feedback; you only have to acknowledge the feedback.But, if a pattern forms where no matter what someone offers up, you do what you want to do, why ask for the feedback anyway? You only frustrate your followers to the point they won’t follow you.And a leader without any followers is? Not much of a leader!
What’s on your Stop Doing List?If you’ve followed me, you know I’m addicted to To-Do lists.I do them for all things at work, at home and personally.However, this week, I want to challenge you to get a “notto-do” list. That’s right, a list of things you need to stopdoing.Those who win at the game of business and life understand thepower of focus. The power of focus on the execution of aselect few tasks, rather than doing a ton of thingsmarginally well. It is imperative that you decide what you’renot going to do to improve your effectiveness.Here’s what I have learned from my mentors and from studyingother very successful people. They all work on the thingsthat have the biggest payoff and don’t do the things thatdon’t pay off, no matter if they like them or not. At somepoint they have a revelation that they’re not going to do alot of things, even if they do like doing them, because theydon’t have a payoff.You can’t create more time in a dayunless you take some things off your plate. So this week, goahead and take some things off your plate. Put together a“not-to-do” list and find an hour? Or 5 hours? Or a week?You’ll find more time and more happiness if you do.Talk to you next week.
From Seth Godin:
Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
If you work for yourself, you’ve got no one to answer to, ultimately, but yourself. How much time do you spend on training, professional development and networking? How much money do you allocate in your budget every year for these things?
As you start 2011, think about not only how you’re working on developing your business, but also how you’re developing its most valuable asset: yourself.