Posts Tagged 'Staffing'

Can You Run the Machinery?


Are you over delegating? Is there really such a thing? Does it matter?

I recently read story of an business owner who found himself nearly out of business when three of his four staff people quit and left over a very short period of time. This mass exodus caused great strain on the operation of the business and caused great concern for the owner’s clients.

Are you and your small business prepared for such a possibility? What would you do? Could you survive? Why did this professional’s business nearly fail?

The author of the above referenced article suggested that this was a clear cut case of over delegation. Our business owner had become so far removed from the day to day technology and systems of his business that he was unable to run them in the absence of help. The systems were also of such a proprietary nature that temporary help wouldn’t work. In the short run, outsourcing was also out of the question. However, after immersing himself for a sufficient period of time, the systems were quickly learned and the business did survive.

Was the author correct or was there more going on here? The owner may have been over delegating or there may have been other possibilities might including: Understaffing. Poor pay. Poor employee morale. Lack of cross training or any number of normal employee issues

In the story, we never find out why the employees left but there are clearly some lessons to be learned.

Take a look at your business and realize that it is vulnerable to all sorts of risks and perhaps knowing how to “run the machinery” is a really good idea. Carefully consider your critical systems and ask: Can I run these?, Should I know how to run these?, Do I want to know how to run these? What training will I need?

Also ask: Should I change these systems so they are less proprietary? Can I get temporary help if needed? Can I outsource these functions if needed?

Realize that nothing can take the place of a well run business where your skills are best used where YOUR talents lie.Also, the “care and nurturing” of your staff can be as important as any other business function just like customer service or marketing.

Guide: Oil the machinery: take great care of the staff as well as the hardware, software and systems they use every day.

Action Item: Know which machinery you don’t know how to run and consider what you would do if someone else was not there to run it.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Staff Meetings or Meet with Staff?


Most businesses have staff meetings. Staff meetings have a bad rap for a good reason.

In most cases they just don’t work.  I won’t go into all the reasons why they don’t but I think we can all agree that it is the rare staff meeting where everyone walks out and says “Wasn’t that a great use of our time?”! Or even worse…..

So what is the alternative?

Meet with your staff – One on One.

Spend an hour or so having a one on one with each member.  The results are great.

They get to see how you are feeling and you get to see what’s up with them.  What is working and what is not working. You can offer constructive criticism without embarrassing them or yourself.  They won’t feel crushed or hurt and perhaps even feel relieved to know that you care about  these issues and they might get fixed.

You can ask about challenges, goals, co-workers etc.  There seems to be little that is out-of-bounds during these one on one times.

These meetings can prevent or eliminate hostility or resentment that can be building up due to the lack of communication.

Imagine going 6 months without speaking to your spouse or significant other without asking them how’s it going or how they are feeling.  There would certainly be hard feelings!

Staff meetings can be productive if they are short and have a single message or focus.  Otherwise spend some time investing in a single person meeting.

Guide – Schedule regular one on one meetings with the members of your staff.  It beats staff meetings hands down.

Action Item – Book the meetings now and plan your agenda. Ask them to plan theirs – What is working, what is not working and how they think they can fix it.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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