‘Recent research found that a huge 71% of businesses don’t train their new managers effectively, if at all…’
One of the biggest challenges you face as a successful small business owner is managing your growing team.
So, to make your life easier, what do you do? You pluck your very best person from the comfort of a job they excel at, and promote them to the lofty heights of management.
Fabulous! Reward for their great performance, and a signal to the rest of the team that there is potential for progression within your business.
But then what happens?
Reality sinks in, and without any training or coaching your highly-motivated new manager begins to flounder. The team begin to lose confidence and the mutterings start around the coffee jar. Your new manager goes from loving their job to dreading coming to work.
It’s a sad truth that managers are less likely to receive training than any other type of employee.
Recent research found that a huge 71% of businesses don’t train their new managers effectively, if at all; managers who have responsibility for developing team members, measuring performance, maybe controlling a budget and other resources to deliver results for the business. Scarily that means that a hefty percentage of businesses are being run by managers simply flying by the seat of their pants.
I’m sure the natural leaders and gifted organisers will thrive on the challenge, but what about the rest?
Those who are ‘consciously incompetent’ have a chance of improving – they’ll recognise their shortcomings and do what they need to, to develop the skills they lack.
The dangerous ones are the ‘unconsciously incompetent’ – those who think they know what they’re doing and plough on regardless: a downward spiral of the ignorant leading the ignorant. The damage they can do to your team, and your business is immeasurable.
Give your managers a chance to be the second line you need them to be. Focus on their training and continuous development, and they will do the same for your team.
(If you want help with this, check out our Manager’s Development Programme – created to develop the second line managers of people just like you).
One final word on management training. Some highly productive and talented people are not suited to management, or simply don’t want to be managers, so be prepared to build a development plan for them that isn’t a management ladder.
Training is an investment, and a big one at that, no question. But the return it delivers both to your bottom line and to your time freedom, makes it worth every penny and every minute it takes.
Do one thing: have a look at your training plan; how much of it involves management development?
Good luck and thanks for reading :)
"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.” - Stephen Covey
I was attacked by a wasp the other day. My lovely walk in the country was suddenly interrupted by a severe burning pain in my arm - the little beggar having sunk his stinger into me with no provocation whatsoever.
On my way home, accompanied by what felt like a hundred pixies stabbing my arm with tiny sharp daggers, I pondered on the purpose of a wasp. Wondering if their role in life was simply to cause pain, annoyance and allergic reactions. Why do they exist?
So next day, faced with some serious work to do… I googled, ‘What purpose do wasps serve?’ and was amazed to discover that they actually do serve some purpose as pollinators, though not as efficient as their bee cousins.
To be honest, it kind of ruined the blog I was going to write about the wasps in your business that serve no purpose:
But now I know that the pesky wasp actually does some good, it got me thinking that perhaps we shouldn’t rush to judgement, or take things, particularly people, at face value.
Maybe that person serving at the till had the headache from hell and wasn’t up to smiling.
Maybe that colleague who didn’t return your good morning was too preoccupied with her bulging to do list that she didn’t even hear you. So often we can take things personally when more often than not, people's behaviour is nothing at all to do with us.
Maybe that person you think has struggled since day one, just hasn’t been trained properly, or maybe they would blossom in a different role, or maybe they’ve been doing something quietly, behind the scenes, adding value to your business and just not making a song and dance about it.
Perhaps this person will never be a bee but they make a very effective wasp!
Have you ever employed or worked with anyone like this; someone who you doubted initially who turned out to be a revelation for all the right reasons? (Think of Richard Branson at school and where he is now).
Do one thing: Think about your people and for each of them write down what you believe their main strength to be, then ask them what they think. Finally ask yourself, “Am I playing to and challenging their strengths?” (Okay, that's three things!)
Good luck and thanks for reading :)
P.S. Did you see both the old and young woman in the picture?
Photo Credit: NY Public Library
Did you know that around 95% of everything you think, feel, do and achieve is the result of habit?
So the habits that are making you productive or unproductive, keeping you stuck or making you successful, right now, have almost certainly been with you since your youth.
Unsuccessful people have a number of common habits, habits that revolve around the words ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘have to’; habits that feed their inner procrastinator; habits that keep them stuck. Successful people have habits in common too, habits that keep them focused, keep them prosperous, keep them making great decisions and enjoying life.
And the great news? New habits can be learned. You can develop new patterns of behaviour by modelling the habits of successful people and making them part of your personal management system. Success habits like:
Even better news – there’s a proven seven-step formula for embedding a new habit into your psyche:
Step 1: Decide what habit you want to install
Step 2: Tell people what you’re doing – make it public
Step 3: For at least twenty-one days, stick religiously to the habit – no exceptions, no excuses
Step 4: ‘Act as if’ - visualise yourself doing it - use the power of muscle memory
Step 5: Develop an affirmation you repeat over and over. ‘I get up and get going immediately at 6:00am’, ‘I arrive five minutes early for everything’
Step 6: Show resolve and commitment – persist until it’s second nature – a hard habit to break
Step 7: Reward yourself to reinforce and reaffirm.
The Henry Habit
Take Henry, for example. Henry was tasked by his school to read more, and challenged by his dad Peter, to read for thirty minutes every day. Both Henry and his dad told friends about the challenge (Step 2) and then for one month, every single day, Henry would announce both when his half hour started, when it had finished, and how many pages he’d read (Step 3).
With this habit, Henry had to act as if he was enjoying it, to talk about it as something he looked forward to every day (Steps 4 and 5). He stayed the course, completed his month, and was suitably rewarded for his perseverance (Steps 6 and 7).
Did the habit stick?
Of course not – he’s a thirteen-year-old boy! But, as a result of supporting Henry in his habit-forming activity, his dad has developed The Henry Habit, and now reads one business book a month, for thirty minutes every day!
This formula really does work. Give it a try!
Good luck and thanks for reading :)
Any business that wants to anticipate changing circumstances and act with agility needs high-performing, multi-skilled teams. If you consider that, ‘the only constant is change’ then seamless adaptability is key if you’re going to meet challenges head on and continue to give customers the consistency they crave.
Any training that takes place in an organisation has one purpose and that is to take the business forward. Training will mainly be needed:
The question then is ‘how should this training be delivered?’ Should it be focussed on individual team members or on the team as a whole? In my view the nature of the training need will determine the choice of training vehicle. It will usually be a blend of both.
Training the individual
If you have ‘one right way’ to do every task in your business and that one right way is written down (or videoed) as a step by step guide, it provides a solid platform where people can be trained on a variety of tasks. This ability to quickly change between tasks means the business continues without hitch when hit by the unexpected. It runs in a spirit of co-operation to get the job done.
This sort of training will usually be carried out in the workplace on a one-to one-basis and has several benefits:
Training the whole team including their manager has many benefits. As well as the direct benefit of the subject matter (which should be relevant to all and business focussed) there are many indirect benefits:
This is equally important if not more-so for the management team. Training the management team as one unit:
Cross team training is not always used by those larger organisations who like healthy competition between their teams. Keeping small teams in tight units and training them together can build really strong bonds which can have advantages. But personally I prefer co-operation. The downside of the tight knit team comes if it loses sight of being first and foremost part of the business.
If everyone wants what’s best for the business and everyone’s job is customer service then working together in a spirit of co-operation is the way forward. If you want flexible teams with people switching to where they’re needed then you cannot have people protecting their kingdoms. Training as a team, as one business can benefit that culture of learning and co-operation and lead to success.
Do one thing: re-visit your training plan and check:
(Don’t have a training plan? Then take a look at your team and routine tasks; do you have enough people with the skills for an agile business?)
Thanks for reading :)
I read an article this week on linked-in where the writer had challenged herself to take a whole week off and totally switch off from work. And she reinforced the ‘totally’ bit. She wanted to spend quality time with her children for an uninterrupted week and was asking readers if they thought she could do it. My response was, “Yes! Otherwise, what’s the point?!”
And that’s the question I’d like to pose in this blog:
“Why are you really in business?”
With my clients over the years I’ve gleaned there are often three main reasons:
You could almost combine 2 and 3 into the time and financial freedom to provide a great life for me and my family. And of course ‘be my own boss’ ‘get rid of the 9 to 5,’ ‘work at something I believe in’ are all in the mix.
But for many business owners I meet, the ‘making a difference’ is happening and often the ‘making money' (for financial freedom) is happening but what’s got lost is the pursuit of time freedom. That has often become a vague ideal that will happen somewhere down the line.
And of course when you’re younger you take your health for granted, you’re loving the buzz of your business. You’re energised and focussed and you’re driving your business forward. And that’s great…to a point.
So I would ask you to just pause, take a breath and think about what’s really important to you. Most often people will respond to this with one word - ‘family.’ And you may say that you’re out there working all the hours for your family but given a choice would your children want more money or more of your time? Okay, maybe not teenagers! But younger children; are they going to remember summers of great games on the beach, pony rides and ice creams, and bedtime stories with mum or dad, or a parent who was always too busy?
If you want great relationships with your children you can’t say, “Right I’ve got time now” and find they’re eighteen and about to leave home. And it’s not just about those wonderful memories you want for your children but for yourself too. You’ll never have this time again. Same for your spouse or partner.
Think about what’s stopping you from taking time off:
Small business owners are clearly passionate about what they do, so it’s no surprise that they find it hard to leave work behind on holiday. It can be a challenge also to totally switch off from work as technology has made it so much easier to stay in touch. I believe it’s crucial to take proper breaks to achieve an enriched life and avoid business burn out.
This is why we at MPL exist. Our vision is to make business easier. To enable people to achieve financial and time freedom.
The right team, recruited to your Big Vision and Values, simple logical and repeatable systems to follow, and a strong second line manager to whom you can delegate are the portals to freedom.
If you want any help unlocking those door please take a look at our website:
www.mariannepage.co.uk or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do one thing: Think about what’s really important to you and what may be preventing you from achieving it. Then act.
Good luck and thanks for reading :)
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)