Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Part IX: Insanities in Business


When something goes wrong in your business, you probably want to solve it. There is a little-known tendency, though, that you may have fallen prey to at one time or another. It is to over-correct. Over-correction is a very specific action which creates the opposite of the intended effect. It creates more problems.

Imagine how you would feel if you were told to increase your customer base by 5% and you did it. Then, you were told that the way you went about it was incorrect, that you should have tried this method or that method. That you should have called Bob in Accounting. And why didn’t you check with Ingrid in HR before you sent out that email? You achieved the goal but were over-corrected on insignificant details. A manager who does this will end up being labeled a “micromanager” (or worse), not because he was pushing a direct report to get something done, but because he corrected the WAY in which things were done.

Give your employees some freedom to do things as they want to do them. Only ask that they deliver and help them sort through any barriers or stops. Don’t overcorrect. You will both be happier and more productive.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Part IV in the Executive Coaching Series

Insanity: Hiring People and Not Utilizing Them

Did you ever hire a person to do one job and have them do another job? It is very destabilizing to the person and the organization.
It is made worse if the person is trained to do a job and then later plugged in somewhere else. A very bad case of this is called "musical chairs". It's death for an organization. In fact, a very covertly hostile person I knew once kept moving people around in her division. The person hired to do the marketing was working in production. The frustration level in the office was quite palpable, but no one detected the root of it. Moving people around destabilizes them. Hiring them, training them properly and then letting them do their jobs works wonders for competence and stability.

I've mentioned to many of you that production is the basis of morale. Productive people are happier! It goes against some of the modern thinking about work/life balance, but it is true. Many of you have read the study about the life span of executives who retire: 33 months! They stopped being productive. No more "game"! So keep productive, and keep your people productive in the jobs they were trained to do.

You will all be happier!