In a typical week of business coaching owners, I find myself addressing a multitude of the same issues and questions. As a business coaching team, we do a detailed deep dive into tracking, finances, systems, and marketing. The fundamental backbone of every proper business. However, this week I found myself having a much different conversation with a majority of my business coaching clients. It all boiled down to the same question, “why is managing humans so gosh darn difficult?”. Well, my friends, that is a million-dollar question. One of the most important things I’ve ever learned about managing a team of humans came directly from Clay himself. During one of our weekly management meetings, he said, “Do you know what the hardest part of managing people is? It’s actually managing people. But do you know what the easiest part of managing people is? Managing them through mentorship and follow up.” Seems easy enough right? Well, I’m here to tell you that management most certainly is far less terrifying when you take the Bill Campbell approach.
Clay introduced us to the book Trillion Dollar Coach which tells the tale of the super business coach Bill Campbell and how he successfully coached and mentored some of the world’s biggest companies and CEOs. One of the biggest takeaways I got from this book was that Bill’s Management style wasn’t just the authoritarian “Do what I say or else” mentality. Instead, Campbell approached leadership in business the same way that he approached winning on the football field. Did he still give direction and expect it to be executed? Absolutely. Did he make sure you trained hard and were prepared to carry out his play? One hundred percent yes. Did he also guide you through each and every step while also being an example of what he was trying to teach? Hell yes. And that’s where the secret of his management style resided. Bill was first and foremost a mentor. In setting the example of success and dedicating to a set path, he was able to have his clients achieve success by giving them something to aspire to.
“Do you know what the hardest part of managing people is? It’s actually managing people. But do you know what the easiest part of managing people is? Managing them through mentorship and follow up.”
A few of my business coaching clients this week have expressed that they were currently dealing with insubordinate or slacking employees. They told me how they’ve used every tool in their management belt but were still finding themselves hitting a wall with these employees. Does this sound familiar? If you find yourself managing a team of humans than this absolutely should sound familiar to you. We’ve all been there! So how do we fix these situations? In my time managing the Elephant In The Room salons and their 40 plus employees, with the assistance of Jonathan and Clay, I’ve learned the following recipe for management:
- Checklist based systems and processes
- Merit-based pay
- Group Interview
It is important to document workflow and make a checklist for every aspect of a business. Your employees are more likely to execute your vision to your exact expectations if they actually know what it is that they should be doing. Merit-based pay allows your employees to never feel stuck in their current position. Paying people for the actual work that they do is a great way to inspire diligence and over-delivering, while also highlighting those employees who are simply there for the bare minimum. The final saving grace is the often-overlooked group interview. So many of my clients have asked me, “Jason, J-Money, Jay Jay The Jet Plane, do I REALLY have to hold the group interview this week if my employee roster is already full?”. And my answer is always the same, “Hell yes you do, kemosabe!”. The group interview allows you to continuously find the best fits for your business, as well as have potential employees in the pipeline so that those difficult employees you’re dealing with now cannot hold you hostage!
Now the next part is where management gets both exponentially easier, as well as more difficult. However, it is only as difficult as you want to make it for yourself. This is the act of truly managing a team, putting a management/mentorship system in place and sticking to your guns. The following steps were taught to me by my mentors and have saved my management strategy many times through diligent application:
Step 1: Tell them WHAT To Do
- Do they understand what they are supposed to do?
Step 2: Ask them to repeat it back
Step 3: Have them actually do a sample of the task while they are physically observing the task with you
Step 4: Ask them to walk you through the steps of how to do it
Step 5: (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) Decide When and Where they will do the task
Step 6: Schedule it on their calendar (block out the time)
Step 7: Prepare them for the Obstacles that will get in the way of them doing the task
- What are some normal things that “pop up” that gets in the way of them completing their work?
- What are some expected difficulties surrounding the execution of this action?
- How will they respond to the obstacle when it pops up?
Step 8: Teach your team what is the pain of not completing the action item?
My friends, management boils down to setting expectations, having a proven game plan in place, assigning the proper actions accompanied by clear deadlines, and diligently following up to ensure your plan is being executed and is on the path to completion. I’ve learned from business coaching others that simply following this plan will ensure that your team stays on the right track. And providing them with the necessary mentorship and encouragement will enable your team to grow and better serve you and your business.