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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Leave It To Me, I’ll Do It!

It’s the cry of the leader who just can’t let go, who considers that if he/she dives in to do the job, then it will be done right and, moreover, quickly.

How many times have we heard the cry?  Worse, how many times have we said it ourselves?

I recall a Vistage member some time ago who started a business when he was very young and, perhaps not to his surprise but certainly to everyone else’s, it was successful to the extent that he had developed a (at the time) unique product and sales were beating £2million.  Not bad for a twenty something.

However, not only was he the sole owner, he was the sole leader and consequently everyone reported to him.  In addition, sales had started to flatten out. 

The inevitable happened.  He started to experience “upward delegation”, that phenomenon which moves the monkey from one back to another and preferably to that of the leader.

To give him his due he had read some books on management and he decided that he would have to build a management team if he were to grow the business so he recruited.

He told me: “I was fed up with being nagged for decisions all the time so I decided that we would have a Sales Director, an Operations Director and a Finance Director.  What is more, I accepted that they wouldn’t do the job as well as I could but I had to accept that.”

“In fact, arrogant as I was” ,he said, “I persuaded myself that even if they did the job only half as well as I could, then it would be worth while”.

So what happened?” I asked him

Slightly shamefaced, he said “I soon discovered that not only did they do their job as well as I could, they were actually far better because they were dealing with their own function, in which they were expert, and I had to do it all and learn how to do it at the same time”.

The company went on to grow by about 700% and he bought a Ferrari and a boat in Italy.

And the moral is?   As we say in Vistage, “No-one is as smart as all of us”.
Building a business is a matter of building a team of like-minded individuals all of whom have the same objective, to make the business successful.

Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, says that we need to get the right people on the bus and all facing in the same direction.  US Vistage speaker Lee Thayer says that we need to employ only virtuosi and someone on Facebook said recently: “Appoint or recruit the best possible people then get out of their way and let them get on with it.”

In the end it’s a matter of trust.  It is arrogant to assume that we know more, are better at, are better trained, are more competent and so on.

Try it out and you may well find that there are people already in the business who are manifestly talented and we might well be suppressing them to the extent that they could easily leave to find a slot where they are valued.

Get your people policy right and you might just finish up with a Ferrari and a boat in Italy.

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