Whilst the word ‘us’ belongs nowhere near the word ‘business’, in terms of how the actual word is pronounced, it’s quite serendipitous that it nestles in there all the same, not least because it fits the purpose of this blog ever so neatly...
We want to talk about putting the ‘us’ in Business Management, because as a new business owner, we can tend to get caught up in the habit of using an even shorter word, the word ‘I.’
You know what we mean…
“I am so busy…”
“I will do this, and then I will do that…”
“I will handle everything…”
This isn’t down to business owners being especially selfish, unusually introverted or downright lonely, it just seems to come with the territory of trying to make your living in the world of business.
Well, not wanting to labour the point too much, but we know, from experience, that businesses who put a greater emphasis on the word ‘us’ rather than the word ‘I’ tend to make for more successful and sustainable businesses, and there are a few reasons for that.
Forget business management for a minute, and concentrate on human beings, after all, that’s what we are…
Humans are, by nature, nurture and design, sociable animals.
We thrive on relationships and live or die by the strengths and weaknesses of these relationships.
You don’t need a business degree to know that the stronger the relationships of the people working within and around a business, the stronger the business is likely to be.
So, because of our biology, our culture, our nature – fighting against the tide in trying to ‘go it alone’ can be a bit of a mistake.
You might like everything done ‘just how you like it’ and even be a firm believer that if you want something doing right, you have to do it yourself, but think of the bigger picture, and this is where we come back to business management, think of how much we can achieve, how much you can achieve, if we work together.
It all starts with relinquishing a little bit of control, and that requires trust. You don’t need to ‘outsource’ as such, for certain tasks, when you know without doubt that a particular section of your business is being looked after by one member of the team, whether they’re internal or external.
This doesn’t happen overnight, and there may be bumps along the road as you find the right people for the right roles, but once you manage to establish that trust in the right people, you’re on the road to effective and efficient business management.
Responsibility is something that we either crave or avoid. Fortunately, many people who are drawn to the world of business, in whatever guise that may be, seem to be driven by responsibility. They’re not interested in being micromanaged, as they would be if they were working as, let’s say, a public servant. Instead, they want autonomy, control, responsibility.
Part of your role when you find yourself managing a business, is to create those opportunities for people to accept responsibility, take control, and ultimately, achieve autonomy.
It’s very much an idealistic way of viewing your business management strategy, but why shouldn’t you aim for a model and methods that will fuel your success?
It is absolutely achievable to manage a business with an ‘us’ focus, rather than an ‘I’ focus, but how do you get started on that road, after all, we’ve already suggested it won’t be easy.
Well, let’s leave the road behind and take to the high seas…
Firstly, you have to make sure everyone knows where your ship is headed.
A shared destination is a great motivator, especially when there are incentives for everyone invested in the journey.
Secondly, you need to let everyone know about any turbulence ahead, about anything that could rock the boat.
This might look like shorter term targets, appraisals, individual deadlines. Don’t apologise for this, as remember, a lot of people love the responsibility that comes with assuming control over one facet of business management.
The risk? It all goes pear shaped and you have to ultimately step in and do it all again.
The potential benefits? Saved time, increased efficiency, boosted staff morale.
In a game where risk taking is an inevitability, an absolute must, giving a team member control of their little part of the project is a risk worth taking. If they let you down, you could always throw them overboard…
…whilst following all relevant terms and conditions involved with walking the plank or being ejected from the Good Ship Business Management, of course.
Third of all, each crew member needs to know exactly what they’re doing before they start. It’s all very well handing out responsibilities left, right and centre, but without the proper training, where you lay the foundations in the first place, your ship is going nowhere fast.
It’s a real team effort, business management, because it needs to be.
There are far too many things for one person to manage all on their own.
We see it all the time with companies who say they’ve got it all covered themselves, or who are reluctant to work with external partners or freelancers. The very thing they claim to be in control of, that they claim to be managing efficiently, is the very same thing that’s holding them back.
To stick with the ship analogy just a little while longer, you don’t have to give up your role as Captain to manage the business effectively, but if you’re going to put the ‘us’ back into business management, as we think you should, you might have to give a few more responsibilities to your ship mates.
If they’re scrubbing the decks, let them scrub the decks. If they’re on accounts, let them handle the accounts. If they’re in the crow’s nest, leave them to it, and if their job is advertising and networking, you guessed it, leave them to that as well.