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Let Go to Grow


Business owners need to get a huge return on their time. Every year, your company sells, creates, performs, builds, produces, or manufactures products or services. You don’t have time to waste sweating all the small stuff, but you need great people who do. When entrepreneurs start their companies, they take care of everything themselves, including hiring, supervising, purchasing, marketing, selling, pricing, managing, paying bills, and doing the work. You name it, if it has to be done, they do it, and often until the wee hours of the night.

Can’t find any good help?

To allow their companies to grow, many small business owners hire the best people they can find: their family and friends. Not the best idea, as it’s hard to build professional companies with inexperienced people who don’t respect their bosses. As they continue to gain more customers, more people are added to the staff. With more employees, they soon learn how hard it is to find anyone who’ll do work exactly the way they want it done. Nobody seems to care, be accountable, or accept responsibility — except the boss.

When this happens, pressure mounts and many companies have trouble keeping good people. You may hire people, put them to work, and then watch them leave within the year. Not a good thing for your bottom line. Your job description changes from business owner to personnel complaint department. The business owner continues to search for answers to the people problem and look everywhere for the magic fix. Then, fully frustrated, the owner tries a new approach: let go of daily decisions and try to delegate. But this is too uncomfortable, so the owner takes back control again.

Look in the mirror

What’s holding your company back? Is it you? Perhaps you are the real problem as you continue to control everything and everybody. This poor leadership style holds people back from accepting responsibility and becoming accountable. When you make every decision, people can’t and won’t take on more responsibility. When you fix or solve problems for employees, they can’t be accountable. When you lead every meeting, managers don’t grow. When you approve every purchase, contract, or strategic move, good people don’t have to think or be their best.

The more you control, the less your employees perform. When you solve other people’s problems, they bring you more problems. It makes you feel powerful when you control everything for everyone, as if you are wearing a sign that says: “Bring me your problems.”

When a customer calls with an issue, do you immediately handle it yourself and get right back to them? A better solution would be to listen and then turn your customer’s concern over to a supervisor or manager. When it’s time to make a major purchase or award a large contract, do you get right in the middle of the negotiations? Instead, ask your manager to review the proposals, analyze the inclusions and exclusions, negotiate terms with the lowest responsible company, and then get your final approval. When a supervisor asks you to call a supplier who isn’t performing, do you jump in and take charge? Train your supervisors to plan ahead, use written procedures, checklists, schedules, team meetings, and manage their workflow. A simple delegation strategy is to increase the maximum spending limit for all employees. Delegate by allowing them to spend at least $1,000 or more before they have to get the boss’s approval. The key is to stop making decisions for them.

Lead to grow

Performance and getting results are the top indicators of effective leadership. No performance or results equals poor leadership. When you control the work, hold your people back, and constantly tell them what to do, you hurt your company’s growth and profit potential. An effective leader’s role is to inspire others to perform at higher levels and maximize results. Your job is to lead, not to do. When you worry about every little detail and do the work yourself, you waste a valuable resource – yourself.

What’s your time worth? When you do $10 per hour work, you aren’t even earning $10. If your company needs to bring in $2,000,000 annually, you only have 2,000 hours to make it happen. Therefore, you’re responsible to create at least $1,000 per hour doing significant tasks that will impact your bottom line. Stop doing insignificant work. Spend your time leading your company, building customer relationships, seeking new business opportunities, and motivating, inspiring, coaching, and leading your people.

Less is more

By following these tips, you’ll get the results you want: more profit while doing less, loyal customers, and employees who love to work for your company. Make it your goal to increase your employee retention rate by looking in the mirror. Build a great place to work where people can grow, take responsibility, and be accountable. The only way to grow is to let go. What will you let go of?

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.