Is your meddling preventing your business from growing?


Date: 28 April 2016

Is your meddling preventing your business from growing?{{}}Whatever the shop floor means to your business, when you started your company, you probably spent 90% of your time on it. As your business grows, the balance needs to shift; you should be spending more than 50% of your time on managing the company, not just working in it.

Your sense of ownership will be huge, and that may be an excuse to keep doing things yourself - but you must stop. You have to learn to work on your business, not in it.

To work on your organisation, you'll need to train yourself to spot a few things. Here's what to look out for:

  • How motivated are people?
  • Is there gossip and finger-pointing?
  • Do you see practices and behaviour that make you uncomfortable?
  • Do you despair of getting others to abide by your values and standards?
  • Are you and your fellow directors spending most of your time working in the business, or micro-managing others?
  • Does it feel like everything's about the day-to-day and you've lost sight of where you are going?
  • Are you and others always running to keep up with the workload, never on the front foot?
  • Do you wonder about who will be capable of leading the business when you leave it?

Remember that people need to understand and buy in to the reasons for doing things in a certain way - and you need to learn how to help your staff do it.

Take the example of customer service. We've all received calls from call centre staff; how many of them sound like they're reading from a script? This is because a particular way of making calls worked for someone, and that method has been passed on - regardless of whether it's a good fit or not for everyone. Just because something works well for you, doesn't mean it will work for the people you employ.

Speak to your team. Instead of telling them how to do something, tell them what you want to achieve. Together you will come up with a variety of ways of achieving the original outcome. They'll feel empowered. And you won't need to watch them like a hawk.

Copyright © 2016 Kate Mercer, co-founder of Leaders Lab and author of A Buzz in the Building.

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