It’s Called Delegation for a Reason – Give up Control to Get Control

Do you hire stupid people or do they just get stupid after working for you? Your job is to teach people what they need to know to accomplish the goal and then get out of their way. You must ‘Give up Control To Get Control”

Enhancing Lives & Transforming Leadership

Do you know me? I’m the one who is constantly looking over your shoulder. I lurk in the shadows, waiting for you to slip up so that I can pounce. Still don’t recognize me? My way is always the only way. I need to be in charge and I go out of my way to make sure everyone knows it. If this sounds like you, then perhaps you and I are one and the same: the typical “A” personality? (I’ll let you decide what the “A” stands for). If you haven’t guessed all ready – we’re the micro-manager; the classic control-freak. Trust me – I speak from experience. There’s no question that the control freak style of managing others does get results. But the question you need to ask yourself is “Will this style of managing – which was born out of the 1940’s and 50’s – be the same…

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Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Delegation 101: Assume Nothing

DelegationRule number one when working with others is to assume nothing because it may make an ass out of u and me. But mostly me because I took you at your word, that you understood what needed to be done and how I wanted you to go about doing it. People aren’t born knowing what they need to know. Always keep in mind that if you haven’t taught someone the way you want it done – don’t assume they will know how.

Worth Remembering … In the digital age you need to make knowledge workers out of every employee possible. – Bill Gates 

You may not be able to delegate all the tasks that you do, but you should be able to delegate most of them. I know you can come up with a 1001 excuses why you shouldn’t delegate, but think of it this way. If you don’t delegate some of your tasks you are robbing someone of their opportunity to grow. Do you hire stupid people or do they just get stupid after working for you? Your role as a manager or business leader is to teach others what you know. Your role is not to create followers but to create other leaders. And you can’t do that if you aren’t delegating some of your tasks.

Worth Remembering ... You establish some objectives for them, provide some incentive, and try not to direct the detailed way in which they do their work. – David Packard

Here are 8 easy steps to delegating more effectively:

1 – Decide what you want to delegate: You need to be very clear on what task they are going to do and make sure you give them all the tools they’ll need to be able to perform that task.

2 – Decide who you are going to delegate to: Who is capable, and more importantly, who is willing to take on more responsibility?

3 – Create a “Teachable Moment”: Demonstrate the task – then have them perform the task while you observe – and once you think they can do the task satisfactorily – have them do it one more time for good measure.

4 – Ask questions to ensure that learning has taken place: You need to ask some good open-ended and closed questions to make sure they know what needs to be done. Be sure to give them the opportunity to ask questions too.

5 – Monitor their performance: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Make it a point to check-in on the person shortly after leaving them on their own, just to make sure they are performing the task satisfactorily.

6 – Keep the lines of communication open: Let them know you are there to help – if and when – they want it. Resist the urge to micro-manage.

7 – Hold the person accountable for the results: Standards, like quality, are not open for debate. You must hold people accountable for the results and not accept anything that doesn’t meet your standard. If they think they can get away with less than satisfactory work – then they will.

8 – Praise performance: Recognize what has been accomplished and be quick to offer praise for a job done well.

It’s important that you show trust and confidence in your people. The best way to do that is to get out of their way and let them do it. Results are what’s important, not how they go about doing it. Allow them to put their own personal stamp on it.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Pushing Through The Glass Ceiling

shattered glassSuccess and being successful has nothing to do with gender, colour or social status. Success and being successful has everything to do with committment, hard work and a can-do-it-attitude. It’s nice to see that women all over the world are starting to push through the glass ceiling to take their rightful place managing and leading Fortune 500 Companies. Women are now out pacing men in starting small businesses. According to research  conducted by The Centre for Women’s Business – well over 10.1 Million firms in the USA are owned by women – employing more than 13 Million people.

“It may be the Cock that crows, but make no mistake that it’s the Hen who decides when and where to lay the egg” – Margaret Thatcher

Dee Dee Myers – author of “Why Women Should Rule The World” believes that women are more successful at running small businesses because women can make people accountable for their actions but, they can also be there to support them. “Females have that trait, where maybe most men do not”. What women seem to come by naturally is empathy – the ability to see things from another person’s point of view. An important 21st Century skill. Unfortunately most men still have to learn it. Mary Matalin, former counselor to President George W. Bush was quoted as saying – “Women around the World are rewriting history at a ferocious pace with or without mans permission”. It’s easy to argue that men haven’t been doing such a great job of managing things lately.

“Be selfish with your time. Learn to say no to things you do not have an interest in. You are not serving anyone when you spread yourself too thin. Your first obligation should be to yourself. You cannot be any good for someone else unless you are first good to yourself.” – Larry Winget

A very dear and close personal friend of mine likes to remind me now and again that she doesn’t need a man in her life to “complete” her. She’s capable enough to do that all on her own. After all – she’s be operating her own very successful small business now for over 30 years. She knows who she is and she’s not afraid to speak up and ask for what she wants. That’s one of the many qualities I love and admire about her. Men who feel threatened by that are neanderthals, still living in the past. They need to get over themselves and wake up to the realities of a new order of things where women have a seat at the table. It’s great to see that more and more women feel the same way. We are all going to be better for it.

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for workshops or keynote speeches on a variety of soft-skills topics. He’ll work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find our more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com