Get Out Of Your Office Now! - Part 1
Furniture World Magazine
By Cathy Finney
Guide your company to the next level of sales and profitability.
Yes, I know, you probably started squirming the minute you read the headline -- "get out of your office now!"
You may be thinking, "What about my office... domain... command center... paperwork and balance sheets. How will numbers get crunched and executive decisions formulated? How can I possibly leave my computer, e-mail and comfort zone?
Well my friends, it's time to get in the trenches with your troops! The action is on your selling floor, not in your office on your computer screen!
I know what you're thinking, I thought the same thing when I was in management.
"I don't have time to spend out on the selling floor. I have to put out all the fires, handle the irate customers, place newspaper ads, do budgets, coordinate whatever needs coordinating. I'm too busy. I just don't have the time. In other words, I have too many other things to do."
There is nothing of greater importance to your business success then the people who represent your company. What are they saying? What are they doing? How are they treating the customers who visit your store? Remember, that you invested thousands of dollars to convince these customers to give your store a chance to win their business. What could be more important than that?
Still, there's that four-letter word... time! Nobody has enough of it. We are all time poor! I used to call it "the currency of the 90's." I was so wrong! It's the only commodity that you can't buy, beg, borrow, or steal. Once it's gone -- it's gone.
Today it's everyone's most valued treasure. How can you get more time in your busy schedule so that you can even think about leaving your office?
First, you must get all of those "monkeys" that you've adopted out of your domain!
Here is an example of how you might adopt a monkey:
Example: "Sally" comes to your office door to discuss a problem (monkey). Your parting words to her as she exits, "don't worry I'll take care of it."
The monkey that was sitting on "Sally's" shoulder waving "hello" to you is now nestled on your desk waving "good-bye" to her!
Before lunch you've collected all the monkey's brothers & sisters from "Sam," "Mary," "Louise," and "Bob!" at this point you can't even move in your office, and "Sam" and "Louise" are sticking their heads in to check on the progress you're making with their monkeys!!!
Excuse me, who is managing whom here? Each "monkey" must be adopted! In his book, "The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey," Ken Blanchard emphasizes that " dialogue between you and your team member must not end until each monkey is assigned an owner!"
People take better care of things they own. If ownership is not assigned, nobody assumes ownership... so guess who ends up owning the aforementioned monkey!
SANDBOX MANAGING #101!: Most of us don't mind "adopting" monkeys. All you need to do is make a couple of phone calls. Quickly and easily you have solved the problem. You are the hero and your staff can see "a true genius at work!" Maybe now they will follow your lead and handle their own monkeys in a more efficient way.
I was extremely bad at this when I first got into management. Nobody could pick up a phone and dial it the way that I could. Then I learned that if I wanted to accomplish my real job, my real objectives, I had to empower my people.
When they come to you with a "concern." Ask them the best course of action they should take. Have them make suggestions for the most expedient way to get the answers they need for their client!
You have professionals out there. That's why you hired them. Let them handle their own monkeys.
- They are closer to the problem.
- They know the situation.
- They know the client.
- It shows them you have confidence in them.
- It keeps the monkeys from moving in with you!
My former boss was great at this. She made it clear to me that I should never go to her with a "problem" unless I had a solution.
This caused me to really dissect every problem and consider my options and available solutions. I could not and did not just expect her to handle my problems. Sometimes, (quite a few times, actually) I needed some help in working this out. Your people may need some assistance, too, because...
- They're not sure which course of action to take.
- Their authority may not reach high enough.
- They need your ideas, and your suggestions on how to handle the situation.
Sometimes to coach effectively, it may be necessary for you to delegate the next step. Be careful to delegate don't dump!
- Listen to "their" ideas. What are "their" thoughts.
- Assist them in strategizing.
- Work with them to formulate the actions that should be taken.
- Follow-up with them so that the "monkey" gets cured.
By following these steps, strategies get analyzed and action plans get implemented. They have learned from you, and you are not the dumpee or the dumper! Now they are able to handle this "fellow" in the future, and you won't have to meet his twin at a later date!
Now you're doing the managing, instead of being managed. You can shoot monkeys, or adopt them or give them a good home... but make sure it is not your home. This is the only way you can empower your people.
If you want them to act like it's their business then you must make it their business. It's time to get out of the old leadership paradigms; to "color outside the lines;" go "outside the box."
A "coach" doesn't stay in the locker room while his team's on the field! He can't help them and coach them "long distance." He has to know what's going on...
And so do you. So get out of your office now!
Management techniques to apply outside your office.
Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T." She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer, and management consultant. Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathy Finney, effervescent sales educator, motivator and management consultant was a longtime contributing editor to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine. Cathy helped retail furniture store sales and design associates to turn customers (she called them Fred and Ethel) into clients. An enthusiastic mentor and friend to up-and-coming salespeople, she told them to remember that they are skilled professionals and that “Ethel” needs them to get the best possible result for her room or project.
Finney got her start in the furniture business with Ethan Allen where she worked closely with Furniture Hall of Fame member Nathan Ancell. Her company, Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T" resulted from that close relationship. She passed away at 59 years of age after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. For more information about Cathy and here work email email@example.com.
Read other articles by Cathy Finney