ASK ALAN How Micromanaging Hurts the Value of YOUR Business
There are a lot of things going on today, outside our control, that are negatively impacting businesses. One component creating workplace tension, that can be controlled, is micromanaging. In my previous column, “Is Tension In The Workplace Hurting Business?”, I explained why tension among employees is detrimental to businesses. Several readers wrote to me, suggesting that micromanaging is also a major cause of tension among employees.
Micromanaging hurts your business
Micromanaging can hurt your business without you even realizing it. If your business is one of the more than 90% of mid-sized to small businesses in the U.S. that has not increased in value during the past ten years, then micromanaging could be the reason why!
“Micromanaging is controlling with excessive attention to minor details”
There is (almost) never a healthy reason for micromanaging except with newly hired employees and selective medical and military situations. Otherwise, micromanaging negatively impacts a business at every level!
“Micromanaging by senior managers is particularly harmful,” says Rob Slee, author of five books about business valuation. Through research conducted at Pepperdine University, Slee says that, “more than 90% of all middle-market and small businesses in the US have not grown in value during the past ten years.”
Slee acknowledged that “the number one cause of this dismal statistic is the way businesses are managed. When excessive attention is paid to minor details, like getting involved in personal issues between employees, gate-keeping office supplies, or monitoring the office temperature to save money … it is impossible for that business to increase in value.”
For a business to increase in value, senior management must create and oversee strategies that add value. For example, identifying and attracting “market makers” for their business’ products and services. “This requires managers to operate consistent with $500/hour strategic thinkers rather than $30/hour clerks. Operating strategically takes both time and intellectual capital,” Slee says.
Operating strategically and building value is imperative
The reality is that many senior managers prefer to remain in their comfort zones, operating in crisis management mode — putting out the same fires, repeatedly. Some business owners do not want their business to increase in value because they fear it would create additional work. The irony is that when managers focus on providing outstanding customer experiences — there is noticeably less work for management, rather than more. Operating strategically and building value is imperative.
Replace managers who cannot manage effectively
Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling book, Good to Great, says that “great people don’t need to be micromanaged.” Collins goes on to say, “low- level managers who cannot, will not, or do not know how to manage effectively, need to be replaced.”
Less need for micromanaging when employees get along with others
I have found that recruiters and HR professionals can help by attracting and hiring people with talent and skills, rather than skillsets, alone. Dewey Jenkins, the owner of Morris-Jenkins Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, once told me that, “I can train a chimpanzee to measure the coolant level in an air conditioning unit. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot train an employee to get along with others.”
Lastly, I believe that business leaders who seek personal and professional growth can change the course and increase the value of their business over time!