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2010-03-17

Stop Wearing All Hats

Manage and monitor rather than doing everything yourself.

You come out of a business school with skills to become a finance manager, operations manager or sales manager. However building a business requires much more. It is like holding the strings of several kites and making them fly in the right direction. The entrepreneur has to oversee if all his kites (read business areas) are functioning smoothly, rather than engaging himself with each kite. A growing enterprise needs a paradigm shift from ‘doing everything myself because I am best at everything’ to ‘managing and monitoring your people to get things done’. You have to perfect the art of monitoring all kites, while you are not flying at all. Can you sit back and let your business work even without you? Taslima Khan guides.

 

The question is why do you need to stop micromanaging your business? Well, have you ever pondered over the fact that you are the one and only person in your enterprise who can think of growth and also making it happen. Incidentally most entrepreneurs are not able to grow because they are micromanagers, sticking their head into the working of every department, finance, marketing etc. You are so embroiled in your daily business routine that you have no time to think of growth strategies. So here are a few tips that will let you sit back and see your business work even without you. So you could be left with time to think of growth and let it happen.

 

Jump the rush hour


The first thing you can do to keep better control on your business is to start your day early, say at 8:00 am so that you hit office much before the rush hour, i.e 9 am to 10 am. Spend the first one hour of the day simply thinking and strategizing. Plan your day and make 2 points to be worked upon and achieved during the day. Starting your day early also means you are mentally settled to take control of things much before things are on fire. The added advantage is that you can call off the day earlier, giving you enough time to unwind and take care of your personal life as well.  

 

Create clear reporting structures


This can be done by creating an organizational chart which defines the work flow in your organization and clearly explains the reporting structures. Make systems and processes for each department, say sales, operations, finance and document them so that everybody works on them. Identify 3-5 KRA (key result areas) for every department which can be measured on the basis of targets set on a weekly and monthly basis. Link the KRAs of each department with creatively designed incentives.

 

Turn your people into performers


Ask yourself, if you are managing your people rightly. As a people manager, you must bear in mind that your staff is always willing to deliver but what stops them is lack of clarity on tasks to be done. Have you devised a system to make each person accountable for his work? Do it now. Create systems, and document them so that everybody follows them. This will prevent you from chasing them. Also set up benchmarks to measure each employee’s performance. Unless you are able to measure their performance, you can do very little to improve their performance. Motivate people by telling them that it is their company and they only can make it grow. Ask them for suggestions for improving things. 

 

Generate Reports


Assign weekly and monthly targets (key result areas) for each department. Appoint heads for each department who would be responsible to prepare weekly and monthly reports providing detailed information of the work done or accomplished in the week.

 

Executive meetings to set you free


Generating reports would be a futile exercise if you are not reviewing them regularly in a scheduled manner. Reports should be reviewed during executive meetings. These meetings can  be called on a scheduled day every week, say on Saturday or Monday. However everybody should be informed about the meeting and also the agenda. Weekly reports of the last week can be discussed in these meetings so that you get to know what has been achieved and what not, why? Also set down targets for the next week in these meetings. Appoint somebody to take down the minutes of the meetings which can be used for further reference. In addition to departmental meetings you can also call interdepartmental meeting with heads of all departments to discuss and sort out issues amongst them. 

 

Once your reporting structures are in place, monitoring systems are working, you can now sit back, go on a sabbatical, travel, meet people, network and strategise to grow your business further. So you can afford to remain out of your business, while it still keeps working and the money keeps coming in. Finally organizing your business on these lines will not be an easy go in the beginning. In fact you would have to chart out a 90 day action plan for your business to fall in line. Once the ball is set to roll you can now sit back and let your business work.

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