Monday, July 21, 2014

The "Work Smarter not Harder" Formula

The work smarter not harder formula is a tough one to figure out. I think it's a balance between a few key areas: team work, responsibility, delegation of the right tasks, and (this is a bonus) passive revenue. The last item (passive revenue) is the entrepreneur's ultimate dream goal: make your product sell itself and bring in constant revenue based on previous work. I am a fan of passive revenue. One of the key things it provides is unexpected income (my kind of bonus).

Breaking down the other areas it works like this:

Team work -- you need a competent team of professionals who know their jobs. They don't need direct supervision that can suck up your management time. The more time you spend managing people resources the less time you have to work as a CEO. The CEO should never be bogged in minutia (what I call small details). The minute you spend too much time on the grains of sands, the less time you have on the beach :) (and that's a semi metaphor), but the beach is the big picture vision. You can't work toward a vision if you don't have one because you're still examining the black grain of sand.

Responsibility -- your team must be solid and responsible individuals. They are self-starters who know how to run their areas without asking permission. Now there are some things where permission is required. You don't want a mutiny either. So a good CEO doesn't disengage (and I've made that mistake). You give just enough responsibility and self-empower your team without taking it too far. Self-empowerment can shift to entitlement, too, and that can be poison to the team and relationship. The minute a staff member feels entitled, trouble lay ahead. Caution to the manager who recognizes entitlement vs. deserving. Entitlement take money from the till and falsely believes, "Why not? I earned it."

Delegation -- know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. This means you keep what is your job title activities and make sure you delegate. I think of it this way, if I can make more money and bring in more money doing what I'm doing I should not get caught in other activities. I am my company's rainmaker so rain make I shall. 

My last tip: when a red flag is hoisted don't ignore it. I had a situation where a series of activities bothered me. At the time of the events I just thought, "Well, I trust this person it will be okay." It wasn't okay and turned out badly. Don't mistake trying to be a "trusting" boss with just plain mismanagement. My trust stops when questions get raised in my mind. I learned that lesson the hard way. I literally had a nonstop series of activities that went (yes, with my knowledge, but ONLY after the fact, which is NEVER okay) that I kept thinking, "Wow! THAT seems wrong." Acting from a place of trust I didn't act at all. Then it came back to bite me. Trust is a good thing, but when something feels wrong don't ignore it -- be proactive. You don't have to be aggressive just assertive, "You know Jane, I am uncomfortable with that activity. I would prefer you not do that anymore. And if you do it again, you will receive X consequences." Consequences should commensurate with the offense even if it means revoking something or even firing. Don't do what I did -- ignore it and then have it blow up in your face or you get to the point where you blow up! Not good management!!!

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