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Managing Your People
By Paul Fileman

The ideal manager devotes their attention to three essential items:

  • Planning - Developing and owning the operating plan for their business element;
  • People Development - Establishing the resources needed to successfully execute the operating plan by hiring, coaching, and developing people;
  • Proactive Review - Managing the leading indicators by monitoring, controlling, and reviewing.

Why are you so busy doing “stuff”? Why are you not in control of your numbers?

The reasons most business owners fall into the trap of spending all their time doing and insufficient time managing are:

  • Failure to place a value on their own time;
  • Unwilling to delegate;
  • Failure to recruit in the long term best interests of the business (weak team).

To overcome these obstacles to management, it is imperative that you step back from the business for long enough to make the transition from:

One of the team mucking in with everything.


Director(s) and Owner(s) – in Control of the business.

Management and review do not have to be stuffy, office based activities. Any place close to where the work is happening is a good place for review. The bonnet of a vehicle, a road-side café, the work-bench - anywhere that you can easily gather the right people and conduct a speedy review of progress. Your role is to establish all the obstacles to progress and then, over time, to eliminate those obstacles. Think in terms of:

  • Resources
  • Skills / training
  • Logistics
  • Motivation

Make time for effective review

Twice a Day

Fast moving projects

People trying something for the first time


Junior teams

Activities where daily progress is measurable


Experienced teams

Activities where you expect slower progress


Senior teams

Activities being run by people who you expect to self-manage

Question progress

  • Ask for facts
  • Use facts not perceptions to feed your comments
  • Encourage others to make these sessions fact based

Praise the good stuff

Deal positively with the bad stuff

  • Ensure that this is a learning experience
  • You must be confident that future problems will be raised early

Check progress against last times “next step” list - this was their list

  • Find the good things to praise
  • What do they think could have gone better?

Request “next steps” lists

  • Get the team to tell you what happens next
  • Make gentle suggestions for anything you feel is missing
  • Bite your lip

Identify road-blocks

  • Find out what is slowing or hampering progress
  • Get them to be specific
  • Your role is to remove these
  • You take away the road blocks – and that takes away any excuses

Ask why

  • Then ask why again
    “You told me that the problem is x, why is that?”
    “You told me that the reason the problem is x is to do with z, why do you think that is?”

Take notes

  • Be consistent

Added: 10th December 2010

Paul Fileman is a business results improvement professional, marketer & mentor. He works with businesses to improve their profitability and performance. Find out more about Paul's company Results Zone.


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