As a landscape-snow industry business management consultant I see one prevalent problem often among many small-medium sized business owners.
Want to know what it is?
Answer- The owner (s) themselves.
Building an organization of excellence that functions without the owner at the center of attention can be a real challenge – and a real joy to own if you can get it to work right.
Many entrepreneurs can sometimes be their own worst enemies, as they seek to empower the organization, they actually undermine the process with their inability to let go or delegate. After-all; they’ve had a lot or practice taking charge – in fact that’s usually one of their strongest management traits. They are often unaware of how forcefully their message delivery or feedback comes across. They are often impatient and results driven. They’ve had a lot of experience with what works and what doesn’t, they want things done a certain way and they hate mistakes and waste.
While most small businesses hire people who have to learn how to do things, rarely is there enough money to enable the company to hire experts in every area. Combine demanding entrepreneurs with people who need to build skills and make changes, and that’s when the problems start.
A typical Uh-Oh situation…‘Racial change is temporary, permanent change happen incrementally and takes time”
A team member is asked to take on something new. Something unintentionally goes awry. The owner steps in to fix things or jumps on someone to get something done. Or, the owner provides feedback too sharply. The individual(s) who got it wrong start to think, “I’m not going to try that again, it made my boss too upset.”
Alternately, the owner figures that intervening isn’t working so he backs out too soon and too far. The individuals who need support don’t get what they need. They end up struggling with productivity, accuracy and confidence issues. Owners have to encourage people to make mistakes and learn. Agree on the goal, so you’re both focused on the same end point. Resist the temptation to jump in. And don’t expect things to be error-free.
Provide limited feedback and oversight until skills and habits are up to speed. Listen and guide rather than demand. Know that training requires consistent, tactful communication. Be careful to teach rather than criticize. Set aside time to discuss. Ask people to explain what steps they took, describe what they think went wrong and walk through what they might do differently next time.
Check on progress; Here are some questions & answers you can ask yourself or others to help a person make changes in work place habits.
1- Let’s make sure we’re on the same page, tell me what you’re trying to accomplish and let’s accomplish it together.
2- Walk me through the steps you took to get there. What happened, what worked, what didn’t? Let’s look at the roots of success and the root-cause of weakness.
3- Knowing what you now know, how would you do things differently? Build a continuous teaching-learning culture. We so not learn, we cannot teach.
4- When’s the next time you’re going to try this? Don’t know, when is the next time I can have the opportunity? Give people the opportunity to learn the outcomes of both taking risks and earning rewards.
5- What oversight or support would you like from me? This is as simple as, ‘How can I help you’, ‘do you need any assistance’
6- How would you know if you’re successful next time? Look what’s in front of you, metrics good or bad are verbal, visual and statistical.
Owner’s need to remember while letting go is hard, not letting people grow and prosper is even harder. Skinning a knee today is better than a broken leg tomorrow.
Your thoughts and opinions?
Steven Cohen, Principal of GreenMark Consulting Group is a business management and operations consultant with more than 25 years of landscape/snow industry experience. Steven has an extensive background in managing cross-functional business operations, business strategy and market growth projects. He prides himself as being both an analytical and a conceptual thinker who effectively partners with business owners to assess opportunities, facilitate strategic decisions, and drive successful implementations. GreenMark Consulting Group specializes in helping growth-oriented companies see through challenges and map out operational and growth strategies.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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