The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Trust but Verify


by Dr Greg Chapman

There’s always a tension between empowering your staff and overpowering them with micromanagement. When you leave staff to their own devices, there is always a risk that they will make decisions you don’t agree with, or carry out tasks incorrectly.

On the other hand, when you micromanage, you demotivate your staff, they won’t take any initiative, and you become the bottleneck. So what’s the answer?

There are two essential steps that must be taken to get the balance right.

Policies and Procedures

When something goes wrong, it’s all too easy to point your finger at your staff. Remember when you point your finger at a staff member, there are three fingers pointing the other way. More often than not, your staff doesn’t know what you want them to do in certain circumstances. When is it ok to offer a refund, or the right way to prepare a particular type of quote?

Even the smallest businesses need policies and procedures for all essential parts of their operations, or else decision making is ad hoc. The policies and procedures must be properly documented and kept up to date, with a communication process for any changes. Often mistakes happen when staff aren’t aware of changes.

However, it’s not enough to have a beautiful set of operations manuals, the staff must be trained in their use. This starts with the induction of new staff members and continual education of existing staff.

When your staff understand how you want tasks to be undertaken, and how decisions are to be made, and the limited number that need to be referred to you, they be coming to you for every problem.

Reporting

Once you have your procedures, and the staff is trained, how do you know that they still are following procedures? The answer is a reporting process that enables you to monitor the performance in the key areas in your business. Elsewhere, I have described this in an article called “How Many Gauges do you have in the cockpit of your business”.

A reporting system is the final link that will provide advanced warning when things are going awry. For example, if you start to see an increase in customer returns, this is an indication that there may be a quality issue with the product. It might also mean that final inspections of products before sale are not being properly performed. However, if there is not a customer return report, you might not catch the problem before serious damage has been done to your reputation.

A simple summary of these two steps is Trust but Verify. Trust is possible once the systems are in place for staff to follow. Verifying without micromanaging is possible with a robust reporting system. Ultimately this creates a business that can run without you.

Subscribe to this Blog for more Small Business news and tips.

May Your Business this Year be - As You Plan It.

Share this article: Trust but Verify



Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below. [Note to those seeking a free ride on our google ranking, blog spam will be deleted, but genuine contributions will be happily approved.]

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.



Promote Your Business on our Facebook Fan Page


facebook_button.png
The Australian Small Business Blog

To send this article to a friend, click on the envelope below.

3 comments :

Garry Ponus said...

Hi Greg

I think trust but verify is a pretty reasonable way to go. I've had staff in the past that have spent most of their life out on the road with only the periodic face to face with me. Trust in that situation is imperative but a range of reporting parameters are too. If they go AWOL, one way or another, you need to know pretty quickly.

Regards

Garry

Garry Ponus said...

Hi Greg

I think trust but verify is a pretty reasonable way to go. I've had staff in the past that have spent most of their life out on the road with only the periodic face to face with me. Trust in that situation is imperative but a range of reporting parameters are too. If they go AWOL, one way or another, you need to know pretty quickly.

Regards

Garry

Dr Greg Chapman said...

Garry, fortunately with the internet, online reporting has never been easier. However, the reporting in many businesses is pretty poor, which means that the owners don't trust their staff and empower them as much as they could.

THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS BLOG IN TOP 100 GLOBALLY

Awarded Top 100 Small Business Blog

Award from Feedspot, the international RSS blog syndicator.

Featured Book

Dr. Greg Chapman is also the author of
The 5 Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goggle Plus

Atom Feed