The idea that most owners struggle to embody the role of the Entrepreneur is a fallacy.
Most Technicians who start businesses switch over to the dreaming side easier than you might imagine.
However, embodying the idea of the EMyth Manager and truly finding the right path to create a company and culture that works exactly the way the Entrepreneur envisions it, is rare and difficult to achieve.
The role of the manager in a managerial vision
Entrepreneurs come up with the dream upon which a business is based, envision what their business should look like, and then create strategies to realize that vision.
A capable Manager, or an Entrepreneur who decides they must become that capable Manager, is necessary to connect the strategy through plans, resources, systems, organization and delegation.
I was explaining this to a client the other day and he said, “I get it Joe, as an ideal, no problem. I want to be the kind of manager you’ve been talking about. But I find I spend so much time managing the employees, getting them to do stuff and making sure they do it, that I just don’t seem to have much time or energy left over. I can’t get above it all and work on the higher level strategies and planning that I know I should be addressing.”
“You used a word I don’t like to link to management, do you know which one?” I challenged.
He thought about it for a while as we enjoyed a bit of silence. I was hoping he would identify the right word, since it would demonstrate his deeper absorption of the EMyth Point of View on the subject of management.
“I’m not sure, but if I had to guess, I’m betting it might be supervising. Something tells me that’s the word you don’t like so much. Am I right, Joe, or am I right?”
He was right, of course. “Yes, yes.” I said. “I don’t like this word since it goes against the very idea of what an EMyth manager is all about. And the reality is that too many managers spend far too much time supervising, rather than creating agreed-upon expectations and an environment of clear communication and trust. To work, management has to rely on structure, systems AND developing autonomous leaders who own their responsibility, and at the same time hold themselves primarily accountable for achieving results that please their boss and accomplish the organization’s objectives. Supervision, in my book, is a 20th century concept that has no place in a 21st century business.”
“I love to hear you speak about management,” my client replied. “It’s so darn idealistic and inspiring,” he chuckled. “But you’re not here in Michigan with me trying to get Jim and Rick to do what I need them to do. If I don’t keep on them, if I don’t…supervise them, I really don’t trust that the work will get done.”
How's it going to get done?
I often have these kinds of conversations with clients. Yes, there is a gap in most companies between an idealized form of management and their reality, just like there is a gap between ‘where you are in your business’ and ‘the realization of your Strategic Objective’.
And just like an Entrepreneur discovers the power of fleshing out and articulating his ultimate objectives for the company, the Manager must have an ideal of the manager-employee relationship and create the structure and systems to support that ideal.
Without the ideal of switching out of supervisory mode into a more fruitful relationship there is little hope of changing the mindset or culture. I explained all of this to my client.
“Okay, I get it.” He said. “I need a managerial vision. But what can I practically do to switch the conversation with Rick and Jim and get a more idealized version of our working relationship going?”
“You have to be willing to lose Rick and Jim, and know that you can replace them with better employees if necessary,” I said. “This is the first rule of management. Have a recruiting and hiring path that you can believe in and trust. If you want any system solution to solve your management issues, it has to start here.”
Creating a better management system to suit your managerial vision
“I understand in theory, but they’ve both been with me for years.”
“I’ve coached many clients through terminating employees who didn’t care enough or just couldn’t make the necessary adjustments to a better management system,” I said. “And not one ever came back to me and said they wished they hadn’t done it. What do you think most of them said?”
“They wish they’d done it sooner,” he replied.
“That’s right!” I said. “Now I’m not suggesting you immediately go out and fire Rick or Jim. But I am saying that you need get to that place within yourself where you know you can if they aren’t willing to show up at work differently.”
“Tell each employee that you no longer want to be their supervisor, since it’s a waste of both your time and theirs. Describe to them how you are going to create agreed-upon expectations for their positions. Explain that you will trust them to follow the structure and systems that will bring about the intended results. Then, create a feedback loop, whereby you mentor them and help with anything standing in the way of the completion of their accountabilities.
“It all sounds so simple,” he said.
“It is simple, and if Jim and Rick can’t accept responsibility and hold themselves accountable, then you need to find people who will. Your business is no different than a sports franchise, which, by the way, is a business too. You don’t have to settle for anything less than the best team you can attract with your available resources.”
The four steps to creating a better managerial vision
It may sound overly simplistic, but systems are meant to be simple. Here are the four steps to better management:
- Create an ideal for your working relationships, and then work towards realizing it.
- Be willing to terminate employees that refuse to embrace a better management solution.
- Create clarity of expectations and agreed-upon results for each position.
- Have regular mentoring meetings focused on helping each employee develop and eliminate any obstacles to achieving agreed-upon results.
Time spent in supervision is time taken away from managerial strategizing, planning, and creating a high-quality team experience. Take the steps to shift the focus of your working relationships and eliminate the ‘S’ word from your managerial position agreements. The power is in the mentoring and the trust extended to self-responsible individuals.