by Dr Greg Chapman
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.
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.
May Your Business Be – As You Plan It!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions 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.
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