When should the CEO of a startup stop doing all the work and let others do more of the work?
I've trained a few employees to do most of the bulk of the work for our startup really well. However, I still can't seem to let go and trust that they can get it all done. I find that I am still overseeing every task that they do and often critique it to my own liking. I would love to be able to trust in my team and not feel like I have to watch over everything. How do you let go as a CEO?
Before putting your fingerprint on the next task you've assigned, ask yourself if having it done your way will honestly make any difference in the eyes of anyone else. Is it just that you want everything done your way or is it that your magic touch truly turns everything to gold?
Will your customers or clients notice? Is it a quality issue or a process/production issue? Define what the real issues are for the individual situations as you might need to do some training.
If you can't hire and pay people to do the work needed instead of doing it all yourself, you need a business where you just do it all yourself to begin with.
Otherwise, make sure employees know what an end result needs to be and if they can do it as well or better their way, you should just let it go. People don't stay happy in jobs where they are just a robot with no self-assertion.
I once worked for a company where the President wanted me to take initiative, but wouldn't relinquish the power and responsibility to do the work needed. Any idea I had got re-thunk by him until it was HIS idea. Then I was supposed to figure out to do HIS idea (which only existed in his head, not mine) and nothing ever got done.
The mantra was, "It's better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission", which is a total crock. It only took me getting in trouble one time for going out of the office to personally try and save a client from leaving to prove that. I took the initiative because I cared and felt my integrity was at risk and got reprimanded.
If your way is actually better, you need to teach your way with a very clear and logical explanation as to why it's best. You may need to lay it all out so it's very procedural and policy-based so that's it's not YOU or YOUR WAY, but the predefined, established way until we find something better. Then let others contribute to the policies as they might be closer to the realities of some situations and have really valuable input and experience and solutions.
Just don't go back to letting it be YOUR way. It's not bout you or your way. It should be about doing anything needed the best way and how to continually adapt those changes smoothly from the contributions by others.
Mistakes will be made and some attempts to improve won't always work. It's not a perfect world - even your way.
I run a workforce performance consulting firm where we help leaders get the best performance out of their people. Here are my first thoughts...
What are you most worried about?
If you are double checking and 'butting in' its with good intention. You need to identify what you are concerned about and then do two things:
a) very clearly define your standard of expectation around that thing
b) create a mechanism for you to track that things are achieving that standard.
For example : its a lot different to have a conversation about the quality of client service and sit down to review feedback that has been gathered and identify gaps and changes, than to stand over the shoulder of someone doing the work to make sure that the standard is there.
Delegating work is not about losing control. Quite the opposite. Its about ensuring you still have oversight of the important pieces. Define your expectations, track the delivery against them and meet regularly (and frequently) to review and course correct. Then you will likely still feel like you are in control and they will know exactly what you are most concerned about in terms of their delivery.
I also have a challenge for you.. you say 'critique it to my liking'... without knowing more about this, my challenge to you is to ensure that you are critiquing the OUTPUT not the process. You should be setting expectations of what you expect to have as results, and then it totally fair to critique the results. If you start to critique how they deliver those results (all the time) then you are micro managing and you'll lose engagement and productivity fast. So define your worry points. Clarify the expectation, track the results and hold your people accountable to ensuring they are where they should be, but don't get too hung up on how they get there, unless that is counter to your organizational values or ethics.
My two cents.. hope it helps!
Trust is a huge factor that you cannot cultivate at risk levels that rely on the wrong "value" to maintain functioning business. I would start with two ideas: 1) If your employees are not capable of their work, why have you hired and retained them? 2) Scary as it is, consider leaving for two weeks completely hands of the business and return for an evaluation of the two weeks work results (and give an in-depth review to individual performance if you need to assess for your own peace of mind once you return). Cautionary note: take a laptop or computer connection with you that will allow you to communicate by email only for emergencies or level set needs that must elevate to you as CEO.
Richard Stern-When you hire "experienced" staff whom can handle the specific tasks then back off and let them do their jobs.
You job is to "audit" the results of their efforts.
Then if the results require your participation then get involved
The best way I found to make sure the job is getting done with out micro managing is to have a regular time to set up meet with key managers. During those regular meetings there is an understanding that managers will "return and report" on key tasks and projects.
Knowing that they are expected to give regular updates and progress reports will keep them on task and keep you in the loop without having to chase them.
Good question Gabriel, first I would pick out one task and ask that employee to notify you and keep you up to date on that particular task, hold them accountable then hit them in thier pocket book or days off if it is not correct or you check it and it is not done on a time frame that you choose, document this and have them sign the paper.
Also have them initial the paper work as to it being done - maybe create a ledger or journal, hope this helps.
Scott or skype me scis4money ( phone 405 905 4028
I have worked on several Startups and due to this I can tell you that from my experience each startup is different due to the unique combination of people and conditions.
The first thing starts with the hiring process, not anyone is suitable to work on a Startup, due to challenging nature of the startup, which has no certainties but it builds a new path.
You should better evaluate the new hiring´s in order to have the suitable team in place.
Having this in mind the best way to answer your question is that you as a CEO should work with the HR/ Operations/ Finance head of team´s to build an operations plan (could be a simple plan with the macro steps and functions divided by operation, tactical and strategic functions) that would guarantee the Startup evolution.
And in this plan you should have a way to perform training people on the job and evaluate the progress of each people trained in order to let they do the operational work on the first place, then the tactical and you as a CEO should have more focus on the strategic one´s and have free time to help some people that could have some problem with the new activities.
In combination with this some 101 or team meetings should be good to get peoples feedback and allow you to some quick fix on the way.
Good Luck and Success !!
Making Critical Business Decisions: It doesn’t have to be “all on YOUR shoulders”
It took me a long time but I have learned how to involve others and their expertise into my decision making process so that I am honestly seeing issues and problems, not subjectively seeing them. That’s important and maybe even critical in key decision-making.
Here’s a few points that can help in making good business decisions:
1. Ramifications of the decision
Have you thought through the impact of your decision on internal staff, the implementation issues, its value v its premise ROI? Have you though through its effect on Partners, Channels and their ability to remain Partners and Channels.
In trying to come up with A good idea, see a problem and solve it, in trying to make decisions, you must first deeply understand the departments involved or effected by your scope of problem v solution or decision making.
Let key people who deal with the area your decision will effect into your thought process. Lay out the issues, problems and ask them how your thoughts would effect their ability to deliver.
Let them offer their experienced based insights. Your intended decision may be more upsetting than problem solving and, in this way, you will know it before you go with it.
2. Why Bother to Involve Others:
Sounds almost ridiculous to ask but its how you justify and validate the merit of your path. Again, seek out the folks in sales, marketing, support, tech and manufacturing. Let them into your thinking and let them tell you if it effects them, how and if its even worthwhile. They can quantify the impact better than you because they know their side of the equation better than you.
3. What’s the machinery needed to implement the decision?
Very important because any decision must have the mechanics in place to become a real and implemented policy. Consider if you have the machinery in place for implementation. Identify who or which groups will be effected and get them to help you define and create the machinery so it gets done and it actually works as intended.
Great decisions fail when the mechanics of implementation are not in place and managed for taking the decision and implementing it.
4. After the decision is made…making it work
You made a decision because a “step” or “change” was necessary. Now you must make sure everyone is aware of the decision and how to “go with it”. That means plan its implementation and include it as part of the process. Implementation considerations are critical to its success.
Each department needs to buy in for their reasons and see the decision as great for them. That means that announcements must be framed differently and precisely by department so it shows a correlation between the decision and how it impacts them specifically.
Dept. heads must be involved in this framing and delivery of the decision and having the mechanics in place for implementation ready for instant management of the implementation.
That’s my take on the decision making.
Its not making the decision, its understanding why its needed, if and who it impacts and,if you go with the decision, implemented as seamlessly as possible so the intended results actually materialize.
Neil Licht, Managing Director-Chief Consultant,“HERE WE ARE”
How to Acquire Paying Customers w/o competition via online target audience specific social media groups & discussions
When you are confident that you are in charge. Let go and oversee.
As the CEO, your primary job is to guide the company's growth and insure its sustainability. If you've hired the right people, don't get in their way. Off load as much as you can by giving them good direction and maintaining good follow up practices. They will rise to the performance expectations you set so delegate, monitor and get out of the way.
Most business owners who can't let go usually contribute to unhealthy work environments. And while they are trying to watch everything, they are not watching where the company is going.
Here's an added incentive. If you micro manage people, you drive away the good people. The rest will get use to having you do their jobs for them. Your ultimate goal should be to insure that your business can run effectively without you being there.
So, let go and let your employees run with their roles and responsibilities. They're waiting for you to make the first move.