Situation: Two key managers of a company are too busy with day-to-day activities to focus their planned 40% of time on growth. The company has hired personnel to relieve some pressure on them, and a new ASP (Application Service Provider) is improving customer out-reach. How can the CEO take pressure off these managers so that they have time to grow the business? How do you focus managers on growth?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Small companies grow through their early stages with everyone wearing many hats and doing everything. The company is now larger than this and it has to stop. Managers need to focus their responsibilities where you need them to focus and stop doing less important tasks.
- Have you gone over key responsibilities and expectations for the two managers? Do they have clear objectives and deliverables? If not, focus on this.
- Brainstorm with them how they could free-up time to focus on growth.
- Do this in a meeting. Your plan is 10% growth. Ask for their ideas on how to grow the business, and develop a plan to put their ideas into action. What help or resources do they need to meet this plan?
- Three heads better than one to ask core questions – let them come up with the answers.
- Design processes to address needs and responsibilities.
- Rank implementation of options in terms of impact to the company and financial results.
- Given the ranking, implement programs sequentially – most relevant and easiest first.
- Taking orders by phone is clerical. This should not be a manager’s prime focus.
- Have a clerical person answer the phone, and train them over time.
- Limit the manager’s direct involvement in phone orders to critical situations.