Following on from last week - Murray explores the next activity from this chapter of Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.

Murray's Key Points

  • Identify what frustrates your employees and take steps to remove (or reduce the burden) of these frustrations.
  • Review your processes and procedures with an open mind for change. I am always challenging myself and my staff to look for better and more efficient ways of running the business and removing obstacles.
  • No-one likes having to work alongside "Bozo's".  Put significant thought into your hiring process (e.g. consider how a candidate's personality will fit in with not only you but also consider the dynamics of your team).  Will the new candidate inspire and motivate others or deflate and bring down team morale?
  • Fixing people issues within your team shouldn't stop at the employee level.  Consider if any clients are at fault of demotivating your team through unreasonable behaviour 

Read the Except

2. Stop demotivating; start "de-hassling"

The best managers are less concerned about motivating their people and more concerned about NOT demotivating them, they consider if their job to prevent the hassles that block their team's performance. Such demotivators are usually related to issues with people or processes.

The #1 demotivator for talented people is having to put up with bozos, as Steve Jobs would call them. Nothing is more frustrating for A Players than having to work with B and C Players who slow them down and suck their energy. In the sense, "The best thing you can do or employees – a perk better than foosball or free sushi – is hire only "A" players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else, explains Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix, in a recent Harvard Business Review article.

Fixing people issues for your team can also mean "firing" a client. Unreasonable clients who mistreat your employees and disrupt your business can become an important energy drain. Firing such clients can gain the manager huge respect internally. The negative financial impact is usually counteracted by the immediate rise in the spirits and productivity of your team.

On the process side, do your people have the appropriate tools and resources they need to get the job accomplished? Are there lame policies and procedures frustrating your team? Do you need to bring a Lean expert to help your people design new processes or streamline existing ones? Where might they be spinning their wheels because of unnecessary delays? Focus on ways to make your team's job(s) easier – a great definition of an effective manager.

To reinforce this servant leadership approach, Fathom, a digital marketing agency from Cleveland and an exemplary Rockefeller Habits practitioner, started using "direct supports" (as in: the manager supports his people) instead of "direct reports" (as in: people report to the manager) when referencing a manager's team. We like this twist and hope it spreads.

 Should you would like to discuss this article or ways to grow your business,

contact Murray Kilpin on  5592 3644


Verne Harnish is an author (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up, and The Greatest Business Decisions of all Time); lecturer in entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-founded Gazelles Growth Institute, a strategic planning and executive education company. 

Reprinted with kind permission: Scaling up: How a Few Companies Make It….and Why the Rest Don't, Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, 2014