Sign & Digital Graphics

July '16

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76 • July 2016 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S RUNNING THE BUSINESS There's a clearly written procedure for that, and it's proven itself to be successful and effective many times in the past. So, what's the problem, you ask? For some unfathomable reason, the business owner decides to "color outside the lines"—for those "special" customers who deserve extraordinary attention. The boss jumps in and personally attends to her client—bypassing key steps, waiving certain requirements, and walking the order through. If this scenario only hap- pened on occasions as rare as Halley's Comet, it wouldn't be much of a prob- lem. But, lately I've observed owners and high-ranking managers proclaim "Don't worry about the XYZ order. I'll handle it", and then rush it through with the speed of a triage unit at a hospital ER… until they get stuck. Then, the same per- son who said she "would take care of it" dumps it off on the department or trained employee whose daily responsibility it is to take care of it to x the problems that were created when steps were skipped and shortcuts were taken. There are several repercussions that arise from this managerial sin. One, it causes duplication of effort to go back and gure out what was done, what was done wrong, and then x it or start over. Secondly, it causes hesitation on the part of the team for when a similar scenario arises, the staff doesn't know whether to start doing their work or wait to see if this is going to be another one of the owner's pet projects. Additionally, this practice invalidates all of the good work that was done devel- oping the heretofore sound operating policies and procedures. Employees start questioning which steps are mandatory, which can be skipped, and with which customers do the rules apply or don't. A cousin to this transgression is sur- rounding one's self with very skilled and motivated personnel only to dictate how they should perform their jobs. Maybe days have been slow and the owner is bored, so she feels compelled to "pitch in." Perhaps, the accomplished manager wanted to recount the "good ol' days" and roll up his sleeves and show everyone "they still have it." Whatever the reason, owner/managers need to butt out and let their employees do their jobs. Sneaky Pete Lurking The motivation behind the second tactless act confuses me. It's the insis- tence on business owners anonymously eavesdropping on departmental meetings or training sessions. For example, I have a sales manager client who conducts bi- weekly meetings with her sales team via phone conference. At the meeting, each sales person presents the details about the prospective account(s) he or she is working on and hopes to close soon— including the account's background, potential, the selling advantages they have and challenges with which they must contend. What most of the phone call attend- ees don't know is that the business owner—a.k.a. the sales manager's boss— is hearing everything that is being said. I learned of this because the sales manager invited me into one of their meetings— to offer help and insight—and warned me that the owner was also on the call. I asked her why he would do such a thing. The reply I got was astounding. "At rst, he just wanted to be hear rst-hand— rather than wait for my summarized post-meeting debrief—about what was going on in the eld. But soon after the rst few meetings, he started using the comments made to build a case for r- ing an underachieving salesman or two. And, the sad thing about it is, he made me promise I wouldn't tell my sales people that he was listening in."

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