You CANNOT Manage People…
I’ve overseen thousands of staff throughout my business journey; from starting my own business and growing it to seven people, through to being responsible for 649 staff during my CEO days.
And the overriding message that comes back to me time and time again is:
You cannot manage people….
At first, in a small company at a start-up, it’s FUN.
You’re in it together, there’s little hierarchy, transparency, and as the owner, everything that goes on is on your radar. To the extent where you can jump in and fix it…
To me, most business owners manage their team like their kids. But – and this is a BIG but – as that team starts to grow, your focus CANNOT be on everybody’s roles, their inputs and outputs, their quality, and their effectiveness and efficiency.
(We have twins and that feels like a full-time job! Our friends have three boys and one girl, all DIFFERENT ages, all DIFFERENT personalities but all very similar upbringing. Would you treat them all the same?).
In business the significant difference is NOT having the same upbringing, cultures, backgrounds, experiences, values, beliefs, training, and understanding.
Yet, we think there is a magic formula to apply the same to all to get the results.
So, before you sack all of your staff, cut back the business, and resign yourself to going alone…
There is another way.
We have a mantra that I speak about to my clients daily, and it is a biggie when you have staff.
Create the environment
Give them the tools
Get out of their way….
We do NOT have to manage them. They manage themselves…
Who knows themselves better than anybody else?!
Let’s break it down:
Create the environment. This is all about YOU as the business owner knowing what you want (your TERMS), what the business needs to do to achieve that financially and strategically, and the roles and behaviours required.
Once you are clear on that you give them the tools. Create some high-level processes and checklists that your staff can follow for their inputs and outputs. This defines what good looks like. Their 100%.
The next part is fundamental and MUST happen if you want to grow your business but not be a slave to it, and that is OWNERSHIP. Get out of their way!
Since I realised you cannot manage people, we have adopted the following conversation with the staff.
It goes something like this:
Are you able to do what is expected of you?
Are you willing to do what is expected of you?
Providing your team members with the autonomy to deliver or ask for help, in my experience, is one of the biggest motivators you can have.
Treat them like adults, they behave like them – but treat them like kids, and you get precisely that.
My challenge for you this week is to take a step back and look at your business and your team and set up the environment and tools to get out of their way.