Have you ever found yourself cursing your employees? "Why can't they do it my way?! I tell them to do X, and they do Y. I tell them to do 50, and they only do 10."
People problems are the #1 frustration in nearly every business I've worked with. Over the years, I've worked with business owners from just about every industry, and I've heard nearly every single one of them say: "If only I could clone myself!"
Really? Do you really want a clone of yourself working at your business?
What my clients often don't realize is that Entrepreneurs make terrible Technicians. And if they ever did actually manage to clone themselves, they would have another, equally talented competitor open up in their area!
Getting employees to do what you want
The real issue is: how to get your employees to do what you want them to do. And how do you get them to do it right the first time? Isn't that what every business owner really wants? Technicians who do not just what you tell them to do, but they do exactly what you want them to do. And they do it the way you want it done. So how do you do that? How do you get your employees to do what you want them to do?
You can't get people to do anything!
Heck, it's hard enough to get yourself to do anything, let alone get someone else to do it. (Don't believe me? Ever try sticking to a diet? Or what about that New Year's resolution?)
Systems dependent—not people dependent
But you have to do something! So what do you do? If you can't get your people to do anything, how do you get anything done?
Simple: Your business should be systems-dependent, not people-dependent.
The systems run the business, the people run the systems. With the effective implementation of the right systems, you can get results through your people. Every time.
The trick is to create an environment in your business where "doing it" is more important than not doing it. You have to create an environment where "doing it" is a way of life for your employees, and simultaneously, you have to create an environment in which the idea behind the work is more important than the work itself.
Do you understand that very simple concept? It's not the work that's important. What's important is the concept that drives the work in the first place.
It's not about the means; it's about the results
People don't walk into a hardware store because they need a shovel; they walk into a hardware store because they need a hole in the ground.
People don't buy coffee because they want a cup of coffee; they buy coffee because they want a tasty pick-me-up.
People don't go to the hospital because they want to see a doctor; they go to the hospital because they want to be healed.
It's not about the means, it's about the results. The idea behind the work your employees do is more important than the work itself, and you have to make sure your employees understand that and live that every day.
A simple system to start the process
Here's a simple tool you can use to begin the process of developing just such an environment. It's a system called the Employee Development Meeting. It's a meeting that your managers hold every week with each employee who reports to them. It's a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting, scheduled in advance, and it's everyone's #1 priority.
The Employee Development Meeting (or EDM as we like to call it) is a short, 30-minute meeting that the manager schedules with each employee. The manager sets out an agenda for each meeting, and uses the meeting as a forum for discussing issues, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and planning. It's a chance to discuss and follow up on the work the employee has been doing, prioritize goals, make agreements about work to be accomplished, discuss exceptions, exchange information, and clarify results. The EDM is an opportunity to help keep your employees on track.
It's also a huge time-saver. Having a problem with employees bugging you all the time? Do they continuously come to you and ask: "What do I do now?" "Is this right?" Simply ask them if it could wait until their EDM. Nine times out of ten, the problem can wait.
Most importantly, the EDM is a medium to help every single person in your business confront and overcome obstacles. The EDM will help everyone be at their best.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Quantify how well your systems are running right now. Measure how many "people" problems pop up each month, each week, each day. Then implement the EDM for a month, and run the numbers again. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
If you can implement the EDM in your business it will become the backbone of your management system, and it will make all of the other systems in your business work more effectively. The effectively implemented EDM will help you create a highly motivating, productive environment in your business. In time, instead of cursing your employees, you'll be praising them.