When you start a business, it is natural to be very hands-on and want to be across everything. But, as the business establishes and grows, if this approach continues you begin to disempower and demotivate your staff. While perhaps not the intent, you start to heavily micromanage your team. While this management style is typically disliked by staff, it is also a style that creates a lot of problems for the manager. If you always need to oversee all the details and sign off on everything with limited delegation, you end up working a lot more than you’d like. More importantly, time that could be spent on the wider picture – company strategy, direction, and vision – must be set aside, to make space for the day-to-day. Never a good plan for a business to succeed.
This was very much the case for a client of ours. A small manufacturing company that initially came to us with issues involving a poor company culture, and succession – the owner was keen to step back from the business. With a turnover of $2.5 million in sales with a 15% Earnings Before Interest and Tax, from a financial standpoint, the company was doing well. But staff morale was low, and the owner saw no possibility where he would be able to reduce his involvement in the business.
As is often the case, we may be called upon to address a particular challenge with a company, but when we take a closer look, other issues become apparent. Certainly, there was a lack of opportunity for succession and company culture issues, but we also found significant micromanagement in place to maintain efficiency, quality, and service levels. Understandably this was not helping the low morale which was prevalent throughout the workplace. There was an extreme reliance on the owner who as a result had a very poor work/life balance. Systems were under-utilised and human resource processes very lacking. Moderate to high levels of supervision were required because of the skill levels within the company.
Over a 2-year period we worked with this company to address the need for human resource processes, structures, and staff development that were required to overturn a poor company culture and too much reliance on the owner. We defined and sourced a General Manager for the organisation. The owner wanted (and needed) to become less hands-on and this would only be achieved with a highly skilled and experienced General Manager to take over a lot of the tasks the owner had acquired. A suitable reporting structure with the General Manager was enabled to ensure that the owner remained appropriately informed.
We established human resource processes and provided training as appropriate to support this. Staff were restructured in line with appropriate skill levels and cultural fit with the organisation. Training processes and procedures were set up to ensure skill fit with role and upskilling as required. Training reviews and retraining were included within this along with processes for non-conformance. To support staff engagement and to improve morale, human resource engagement and recognition tools were determined and initiated.
As a result of our work, there were significant improvements in quality, efficiency, and throughput across the business with less support from the owner required. Staff morale has substantially increased, the company culture is much improved, and the owner is mostly stepped back from the business. Having the support of Gibsons provided the focus and expertise to work through the solutions needed. Often this can be difficult when you are too close to the problem, or do not even see all the issues in place.
The benefit of having a Gibsons Consultant support your business is having an expert with extensive, hands-on business experience. Not an academic or theorist, but a realist who can provide practical advice and assistance that will deliver increased productivity, greater efficiency, and improved profitability to your business. Find out more about the services we offer and how we can help you reach your business goals.
Let us take the following tasks off your list:
- Strategic analysis and business plans.
- Becoming an Employer of Choice.
- Marketing and sales plans.
- Brand development and promotion.
- Business process modelling.
- Improving systems and workflows.
- Optimising organisational structure.
- Pinpointing skills gaps and implementing training.
- Reviewing financial performance.
- Profitability improvement programs.
- Managing organisational change.
- Mentoring to develop executive leadership.
- Business process modelling.
- Mergers and acquisitions.
- Technology strategy and implementation.