Human Resources: Train, Delegate, Micromanage

Human Resources: Train, Delegate, Micromanage

For a business leader who follows the aggressive strategies outlined here, letting go of partial control of the company will probably be difficult. In reality, however, a company where only one person handles the difficult details cannot grow to be very profitable. The profit margin may be high, but with a low revenue base, it won’t spin off enough cash to meet your needs. A leader has to practice delegating on a daily basis, as difficult as that may be.

One of your main business strategies, irrespective of the industry in which you compete, should be to test many relatively inexpensive business ideas quickly. The ones that pass your tests can be reinforced and taken to the next level. Herein is a great opportunity to begin scaling your operation by hiring and training associates to oversee every unique business unit or project, as you should have studied and standardized many of your processes, and prepared training programs in advance.

After the training process, you need to supervise and review your managers and their progress. Over time, they should become mini-profit centers unto themselves and train others below them, as you have trained them.

In this way, you are developing scale to your organization and being paid for more work than you could ever possibly do on your own, as you are personally earning a portion of the profits that are generated from the hard labor of all your associate employees and those they hire. And since they, too, should get paid well, they will be happy to keep producing for themselves and you while further propagating your company’s strategy.

Delegating tasks to well-trained subordinates and holding them accountable is your best bet in gaining the scale required to dominate each market niche, but that doesn’t mean there is no micromanagement going on from above.

First of all, employees find it convenient to label almost any managerial intervention in a derogatory way as “micromanaging.” But don’t get sucked into the negativity that this term may imply.

The job of subordinates is to pursue corporate goals by participating in their development at the direction of their supervisors, not negatively questioning or criticizing their “superiors.” This mandate includes the necessity for employees to be nimble and to be prepared to shift directions whenever current market data and momentum suggests it’s time. While you may be on the same team as your boss, he is held accountable to shareholders, and therefore, has to make the final decisions.

So if your boss wants to review the fine points of your corporate initiatives, it is his right—more importantly, his duty— to understand the details of the business and re-direct efforts whenever, and however, he deems appropriate.

If this is labeled micromanaging, so be it. Successful companies delegate and depend on as many employees as necessary to manage and evolve every business segment independently, and to the best of their abilities. But at the same time, they have leaders who elicit information from their ecosystem that form the basis to make fast, educated decisions which can’t always be perfect.

It may sound like a paradox to have a business that both delegates and micromanages, but it is a matter of the areas to which each is applied and the degree to which it is done.

Before you hire new staff, do the math: if you are trying to decide whether you can hire five new people or not, consider how much extra revenue they could bring in to your operation and if it will be profitable.

So if you have five new people who each bring in $300,000 per year, you will then have an additional $1.5 million in revenue, which is almost certainly profitable overall, and therefore, worth their cost in salaries.

As much as we love employees, the real goal is for you to create as many automated processes as possible to mix in with your hyper-efficient, super-hard workers. Therefore, you would require fewer employees to manage the more automated systems, and everyone would benefit from splitting a bigger profit pie.

(Again, nobody said this was going to be easy.)

While we may try to break this process down piece by piece, the overriding point is to work hard, have confidence, and test lots of ideas—try to get scale, leverage, and efficiency in order to raise your revenues and profit margins.

With enough financial growth year after year, and the beating down of your competitors, you will have millions of dollars and be ready for charity work in no time.

There is a well-known saying that goes “Hire the best, develop the rest.” It’s important to hire the smartest people so they are in fact trainable. Some of the most effective managers only hire a tiny percentage of job applicants to ensure that they get the cream of the crop.

Once you have hired the best people, make sure that you are supportive and mature when reprimanding, not angry. On average, punishment is counterproductive, so be careful when you are forced to reprimand those who aren’t following your best plans and practices.

It is also important to provide clear job descriptions at the beginning of the process as a means to reduce turnover. Starting with a higher quality employee base will go a long way when you begin the continuous process of delegating responsibilities.

If a person doesn’t really like their job or their pay, it’s pointless to waste time training them unless it’s already clear that they are moving in the right direction. The person who is being delegated the responsibilities really needs to “take ownership” of his tasks in order to make the delegation process worthwhile.

When you are training new employees, try to use real-life case studies and scenarios that they will deal with on a day-to-day basis. Also, consider sending the employees who interact with the public to a Dale Carnegie sales training course or even Toastmasters. To train is to learn; that is why it must be a daily process among your employees and for you, especially if you hope to train others.

Next Section >