Leveraging your people to accomplish your goals
So many times over the years I have heard managers talking about getting rid of the dead weight. While that isn’t necessarily a problem, there is a problem with defining exactly what the dead weight is. For example…if you rent a children’s bounce house and throw it in your backyard, but never turn the fans on so it will inflate, or don’t take care of it so it dry rots, it will become dead weight. If you give it the resources it needs – exchange value – it will be a source of fun for (perhaps) you and your kids.
Companies all over the world face similar issues with their employees and getting the appropriate amount of productivity out of them. Surely, we have developed technologies to do more with less, automated systems and outsourced services, but even with those accomplishments, we still need to be able to define and measure the appropriate amount of performance.
For example: name one of your resources. Describe what they do. Describe how it impacts your business. Now…answer the difficult questions: have you given them all of the tools and information that they need in order to do their job? Have you consistently communicated information about your vision, direction and changes that may have occurred? Have you been clear about your expectations?
Leveraging your people is a two way street. Ideally, your people are like extensions of your hands and feet – they extend your capabilities to provide goods (such as in manufacturing) and services (such as tax services) to your customer base. They can make you more efficient (administrators) so that you can focus on the things only you can do. They can also provide you with expertise (consultants) so that you can get accurate information and advice on how to grow your company.
With clear expectations for your team, you can determine how well you are leveraging them. This is different then saying that they are always doing something, but rather, be able to answer the question, “are they doing what I hired them to do, and how do I know?” While it seems to be a pain in the butt, so to speak, but by setting goals for and with each member of your team (allow them to set their own; you approve them), you can determine how well your members are performing. If they are not performing, you have a basis from which to determine it. Note: Always inspect what you expect.
You are looking for an exchange of value. Certainly, there will be some mismatches; not everyone that knocks on your door, or starts working for you will be the perfect fit. It does take time and money to find the right one. But once you get them, there needs to be an exchange of value. Once that exchange becomes lopsided, someone will be unhappy – either you or them. You say that this is the buyer’s market, and you can make whatever decisions you want to because the economy is not great and people are desperate? Consider what will happen when people are no longer desperate. Contrast with the productivity of people who are getting an equitable exchange of value (lots of things could go into this bucket – including pay, vacations, sick days, health insurance, etc.).
One more thought – when you lose an employee, you will lose what you have invested in them – their knowledge, experience, training and productivity. Therefore, hiring an employee, team member, outsourced partner or temp worker is a strategic initiative; you are using that individual to get ahead in the marketplace. Hire carefully.
Build and extraordinary company. Leverage your people – whether insourced, outsourced or hired. Think in terms of long-term investment in them and an exchange of value. Hire slowly…don’t hire the first thing that comes along with a pulse and don’t make decisions from the realm of desperation. Think about the overall value to your company.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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