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March 1, 2009
If you’re spending up to 80 percent of your time solving problems and putting out fires, you’re not doing your business, your employees or yourself any favors, says Roger High at Corporate Dynamics. Better to be the leader a few hours a month and do some employee development.
High asked attendees at his Business Development session called, The Business Development Tool Belt, to re-examine how much time they spend on day to day operations and problem solving versus how much they spent coaching employees, leading the organization or mentoring.
Through his work as a consultant he has found that many spend 75 to 80 percent of their time on the former. “People lose track of where they’re spending their time and forget the importance of developing employees and taking the time on a monthly basis to give them some undivided attention, set expectations and make sure they understand what it is you are trying to accomplish,” High said.
High offered a half-dozen tools managers could use to be more leadership focused and develop employees, establish processes, driving sales and develop better proactive customer interactions.
High said if they take the time to look up form the day-to-day and develop employees, fewer fire will pop up for them to be distracted by. Simple fires that result from employees not understanding a product thus over-selling while under delivering or not having clear process resulting in sloppy paperwork and inaccuracies between what the customer ordered and what they ultimately get can be reduced significantly by taking those few hours to lead the people.
“Some of that is from running leaner, but if you’re going to run leaner you have to run meaner and running meaner means knowing what you’re doing and having good processes across the business,” High said.
With an eastern territory that somehow stretches clear to Colorado, High said the problem of losing track of time spent on development is wide spread. “People think they don’t have time for this, but if you’re putting in 60 hours a week or 240 hours a month, you can pull out an hour or two for each employee,” he said.
If you’re entrenched in the day-to-day, High said, you don’t have time to be forward thinking. If you take the time to understand your employees’ career objectives, their financial goals and where they need coaching, you can help them get where they want to be and have a better chance of keeping them on board. And happy, motivated, long-term employees help make the process run smooth so you don’t have to.
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