The less I know, the better the company works.
I mean, at least it seems that way. I’ve tried both ways – micromanaging and completely hands-off. I tend to err on the side of “find the right person for the job and then let them do it.” It’s the Jim Collins approach: “First Who, then What.”
Here’s an excerpt from JC hizzelf. I know I usually stick with quotes, but JC can have as much space on my blog as it takes…
Disciplined people: “Who” before “what”
You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.
I’m bolding the hell out of that last part. The right people, doing the RIGHT things.
At my company we have these problems
1.) A person doing too many things and the work is rushed or dropped into limbo.
2.) A person in the right area, but doing things beyond their capabilities/talents.
Problem #1 is one I’m more familiar with, as I’ve been guilty of trying to do too much (and as I said before, screw trying...) There you need to figure out how to delegate responsibilities so that you’re overseeing the process, but not the details. I encourage people to be AWARE of the issues – you should ALWAYS be up-to-date with the matters – but that information should be synthesized and distilled to the high-points with the administrator or middle management.
Problem #2 is a tough one because it takes a deeper insight on the process. The questions I tend to ask is
- can the person grow their capabilities in that area?
- Do they want to?
- Do you have the time for them to do so?
If the answer is No at any of these, you’ve narrowed down the options significantly. A line cook may never be an executive chef. Not a problem – the world needs line cooks. Just make sure you’re expectations (and theirs) are on the same level of understanding. If the answer is yes, then you need to hone in on their passion and build a process to get that person from point A to point B
But once you have those problems locked down, you’re in a position where you’re free to actually PLAN, STRATEGIZE, and think long-term. That’s the goal. Get that process running and most of the day-to-day stuff you’ll be blissfully “in the dark”