Monthly Archives February 2012


Smart Parents

You’re a leader. You know what needs to get done. You either tell people to go do it, or you do it yourself. That’s how you roll. Simple.

So let me ask you: How often do you, or someone who works for you, take an hour or two to really think about how work is organized and executed in your company? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? As often as Carrot Top is funny? Continually improving your people, processes, and products will drive successful delivery of innovation, quality, and value.

Quick story:

Bob P is an incredible thinker with a beautiful soul. He’s a former boss; co-founder at Eidetics. I ate lunch with him just about every week for 13 years.

Bob and I would tussle from time to time (I was only slightly more predisposed to such behavior back then). One of our favorite disputes was over the role of management. Bob wanted less, I wanted more.

“We hire well,” Bob would intone. “Smart people do the right things.”

“I agree that’s a great start,” I’d counter, “but smart kids need parents, too.”

Smart Managers

Hiring well is a fundamental and critically important task for a leader. Step one involves defining clearly both the job you want to hire for and why hiring will benefit the company. You then search for that someone you sincerely believe will do great work and you’ll enjoy working with. Finding the right person – and with patience you will get it right – is an investment that pays huge dividends.

But it can’t stop there. For roughly every five to seven workers, you need to hire someone whose job is to look after the group and how the work is getting done. “But they’re overhead,” you whine. “Where’s the economic benefit? How are they going to deliver revenue?”

It’s a simple answer: A good manager makes all the other really good employees even better. Better as in more productive, cost-effective, quality conscious, creative, and maybe even nice to their colleagues. It’s just like the new “overhead” person is generating revenue, except that their revenue is coming through the employees.

Oh, one more thing. How badly do you want to be the one dealing with people issues? You’re the leader and/or owner, what work do you want to be doing? That manager’s starting to look a bit more useful, eh? Hey, even the best pilots benefit from a sidekick, a copilot.

Building a successful and scalable company does involve hiring well, and good hiring is the output of a considered, goal-oriented focus. Having hired well, you can’t then simply leave the rest to fate. Companies do better when the work is organized and executed thoughtfully. Smart kids do need parents. Bring that thinking and soul to work and you’ll see happy results. Bob P did.

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