Letting go and achieving more
What’s the challenge?
Generally, most business owners manage to successfully employ people to do well-defined task-driven jobs. But it’s not unusual to struggle when it comes to more senior business-critical roles. Those are the times when one often hears the refrain ‘if you want a job done well, you might as well do it yourself’.
This constraint puts a complete cap on how far you’ll ever take your business. Most typically it’s around the £500k to £2m turnover mark where the ability to recognise, recruit, motivate and retain people who are capable of taking a senior business leadership role is essential if that business is going to have a decent prospect of future success.
Is it down to recruitment?
I recently met the MD of a business who had employed a string of Sales Directors in short succession, none of whom had ‘worked out’. He recognised that if his business was to grow beyond its current levels, finding someone who would be successful in this role was going to be essential. He’d concluded that the problem he’d had was in finding the right person. Well, maybe. Although I reckon that was, at best, only part of the issue.
How you can impact performance
There’s no doubt that recognising and being able to recruit top calibre people into your senior roles is an essential pre-requisite. But it’s all too easy to blame ‘failure’ on recruitment mistakes. Why is it that someone fails or leaves early in some roles, yet is highly successful in others? Why is it that a top sportsperson performs brilliantly in some teams but not in others? The reality is that an individual’s performance is, to a large extent, a function of how they are managed.
By ‘managed’ I mean the whole caboodle. Leadership, clear goals, properly empowered responsibility, a well-defined culture and shared values, honest and open relationships and, last but not least, mutual respect and trust.
You’re not alone in wanting to succeed
Some business owners have a great deal of difficult with this, especially the trust bit:
- Recognise that you are not the best thing since sliced bread and that there are plenty of people out there who are better than you are at what they do.
- Know that most people want to be good at what they do, so set them up to succeed. Put yourself in the position of the person who’s joining your business and work out what they will need in order to be highly successful.
- Demonstrate respect for people who work for you. Seek their views and advice. Actively listen to them. Give them the freedom to operate. Do not micro-manage them. Be there when you’re needed to provide help and support. Treat them like you would like to be treated yourself. Celebrate their success and provide positive encouragement when things don’t work as planned.
- Chill out without losing purpose and focus. Let go and achieve more.