Every day I engage with owners of both small and medium-sized businesses. I am always amazed at the various levels of engagement owners have with their company and its employees. Some are very engaged and aware of every facet of their organization. But, on the other hand, some are actually quite hands-off and sometimes even delusional about the reality of what is happening.
Here’s how I see it…
A disengaged owner manages based on how he feels that particular day. The engaged owner manages people as well as the finances of the company consistently every day. He-she knows what is going on in the company and meets daily or weekly with each key employee to track the operation’s progress. He-she engages in seeking ways to help each area of the company improve day in and day out.
Experience leads me to believe that both the engaged owner and the disengaged owner typically value their people. A fully engaged owner values both their people and the jobs they do. Hence, they confront poor performers and have a low tolerance for the employee who has become disengaged or under-performs. They fire when necessary, even though it is painful. The engaged owner is aware of their employee’s interests and values beyond the workplace. They try to reward their workforce with recognition when possible regularly and, while not always with money, a simple and meaningful ‘thank-you.’
Engaged owners manage the company by having a finger on the pulse of all activities. This includes the sales pipeline. They hold their people accountable and do not accept excuses. They continually challenge their team to perform even during the most difficult times. The disengaged owner keeps allowing things to be just status quo due to his-her emotional status or the level of interest they feel at any particular time.
A truly entrepreneurial owner must not ‘lose’ interest in her or his business based on the ebbs and flows of the business itself. Wallowing in misery is destined to set the business up to fail potentially. You either want to be an engaged owner or not. You will always have some level of frustration; in the end, you control that and the outcome of how you overcome the obstacles at hand and the success of your business. I often tell my clients that everyone must be engaged; there is no room for one foot in the door and one foot out of the door.
Looking for a good book on the subject, suggested reading;
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It Paperback – by Michael E. Gerber