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Andi Gray: To gain control, give up control

Andi GrayWe have a lack of organizational structure. Not everyone can be a manager. We might not recognize the candidate who can be a lead – and I’m not sure what a lead is, anyway. On the other hand, I can’t leave unless I give a list of things to do to people. They don’t take initiative to look around at what needs to be done. And when I come back half of the stuff isn’t done and gets pushed back to me and I get bombarded. What should I do?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Building organizational structure is one of the hallmarks of a Stage 2 company. Figure out what you have to work with and how best to organize that group of employees into more efficient units. Make sure everyone knows where the company is headed and the role they play in helping the business get there. Work with the group to build a next steps list and meet regularly to review and discuss progress and holdups.

It’s all about making the transition from entrepreneur to business builder. Most companies in the U.S. never make it out of Stage 1, which can be described as entrepreneurial and opportunistic. The financial rewards are in Stage 2, when the small-business owner becomes a business builder. Stage 2 companies are significantly more efficient, profitable, stable and successful. Learn how to lead a committed group of individuals organized into teams all headed in the same direction.

Look for people who have these attributes: intention; goal orientation; drive to succeed; ability to learn; and create solutions. These are your future leaders. Give them the opportunity to hone their skills by asking them to lead their peers.

To gain control, give up control. Ask people to step up. Encourage them to learn how to take ownership, be accountable and think their way through problems. When problems arise, don’t criticize. Instead, ask your teams to tell you their assessment of what went wrong and what to do about it. Resist the temptation to step in to take over. Let the teams work out the solutions. Be there to give advice if asked, but don’t try to take over.

Did you know that most small-business owners say the business should have a business plan and they don’t have one? How are people going to follow your lead if you don’t put in writing where the business is headed? Some business owners fear writing out a business plan. What if things change? What if they’re wrong about the direction they pick? What if people won’t follow or don’t want to go on that journey?

Get people into the right jobs. Stop worrying and start writing things down. Some people will stick with you for a long time. Others will be around for a shorter trip. No matter the length of time they’re with you, make sure they can understand and follow your lead.

Establish a regular meeting schedule, every week, where you review what’s been accomplished and what’s next. Help the group to brainstorm a list of things that need to get done. Put names and dates to each item on the list. Check back in weekly to see how things are progressing. Re-date past due items and feel success by checking off things that are done. Add to the list and make it a living, breathing document that everyone can use to stay on point and measure progress. Encourage discussion of what else needs to be done and how the group might tackle those additional needs. It’s a work in progress. As your group builds skill at stepping up, the load will start to come off your shoulders. I promise.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “The Incredibly Useful Book of Delegation: How to Delegate So It Gets Done Correctly The First Time!” by Silver Rose.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.


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