Thoughts on micromanaging
“Ask yourself whether you have earned the right to have an opinion” quote Ray Dalio, that is the first thing that comes in my mind when I talk about micromanaging.
The tendency micromanaging your staff is one of the biggest blockers on growing your business. With certainty! It is however the natural reaction of a professional when he expects his employees to deliver on the standards he does.
That being said, we stumble upon one of the biggest illusions that many businessmen have. Expecting your employees to love your business as much as you do! That is ludicrous.
No one is going to love your business as much as you do, or is going to put so much effort, love, passion, go far and beyond to make things happen as you do. If the success of your business relies on your personal (and maybe irreplaceable) work ethic and skills, then you don’t have a business, you are a one-man show.
A winning business idea or concept is one that can survive without you because it has the structure, the systems, and automation that enable it to have its own “life” and could continue living without you.
“I had a conversation the other day about Alexander the Greats achievements. The imperium reaching out from Macedonia Greece up to the Middle East, North Africa and India. An imperium that was created within ~ 15 years.
But was it really an imperium, or was that a race conquering new undiscovered worlds that by not even the wildest dreams could be controlled or managed? And when Alexander died, the whole imperium was divided and collapsed in the years to come.”
Ideally, you run a business where people do not need to be micromanaged. All of them. But is that feasible?
My experience on that is that frequently, the less educated someone is, the more micromanaging he needs. The reason behind this is not the theoretical or academic knowledge he acquired during his studies, but the mental discipline he obtained by achieving the right to study in a university and going through it.
Businesses where the biggest part of the staff was not educated, were harder to manage, and more micromanaging was required.
A big factor that makes a huge difference is also the way kids are being brought up. Super protected kids, as is the case in southern European countries, but also kids from very strict environments with a mindset where mistakes are unacceptable and the constant permission to do things is required are generating people that need to be micromanaged.
The intolerance of mistakes does not allow people to evolve and creates an environment where constant permission to do things is asked. That is the environment where micromanaging flourishes.
Do we want to eliminate micromanaging from our business, or do we want to give that work to other people and take it away from our shoulders?
The project manager that you hire is that the person that is going to micromanage the team below him/her? Or does he/she expects them to act like adults?
The digitalization of the world and remote working do not make things easier. The reality is that people working remotely tend to feel less accountable, because at the end of the day, who cares if the business you work with, based at another continent goes bankrupt.
Distant working makes it even more difficult to micromanage.
So, what is the solution?
- Invest in people that are worth it.
Things are being said and explained when someone starts to work. It is not that important if those things are being done right, important is that there is the willingness to learn and to improve. Do not waste your time when you feel someone is not even trying or does not care about delivering. The one that tries and makes everything wrong is going to be improved and after some time he is going to deliver properly. The one that does not care needs to constantly be micromanaged must go asap. It’s a waste of time, energy, and money
2. Focus on results
That is what you want at the end of the day, results. How someone delivers those results is none of your business. It is not the amount of work someone puts, but the results achieved. If someone delivers that is exactly what you want. That is something that you easily can measure and something that does not need to be micromanaged at all.
Is he/she on time? Does he/she miss meetings? Does he/she place the calls required? If they don’t, they have to go. Being on time for an appointment is more important than you think. People too relaxed to commit to a work schedule might be great artists but they are a no-go on most “real” jobs out there.
4. Hire easy, fire easy
Hiring is guessing, firring is knowing. As mentioned on point Nr. 1, do not waste your time on people that do not show the interest required to do a job. Fire them asap.