Business Growth Myth #2. “I must oversee everything.”

October 5, 2011 · 0 comments

in Overcome growth barriers,Growth Management

Everybody comes to you, so you can’t get other things done. This is another management habit that can keep you from focusing on the things necessary for growth.

I often hear two related complaints that pull in opposite directions. Here are two examples:

1. “My customers—and my employees—always ask to talk to me, because I have the answers.”
But you also complain, “My managers do not handle as much responsibility as they should.”

2. “I need to watch the numbers. I just have to shut myself away in my office more.”
But you also say, “I need to keep in touch on the floor, both to know what is happening and to motivate my people.”

What I see about this. You are operating at two levels—manager and floor supervisor. While it is important for you to keep in touch with what is happening, the question is, how much? You are clearly invading the turf of your floor managers who should have the primary responsibility for keeping in touch and motivating the troops. Since you are doing part of their job, your managers feel frustrated and take less initiative.

My recommendation. Examine your own motivation. Is it possible you are holding on to the floor work—at which you feel more comfortable—to avoid facing bigger challenges, such as tracking the profitability of each thing you sell? Or developing new strategic alliances?

As your business grows, you must promote yourself from worker to supervisor to manager to CEO. Many owners get stuck at supervisor or manager, so their company in effect has no top executive. This is guaranteed to keep you small.

Do the work you enjoy, but find a way to do it that doesn’t conflict with the responsibilities you have given your managers. Maybe you should take one shift on the floor a week, just to keep in touch.

This is a major theme in my “Top 3 Barriers to Small Business Growth—and how to overcome them” program.

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