I don’t know about you but I’ve read my fair share of management books through the years. And after all this reading, you know what I discovered?
They all contradict each other. There are books that tell you that too many meetings are no good, others tell you regularly scheduled meetings that run according to an agenda are ‘the’ solution for business. Some tell you to have an open door policy and others tell you to manage by walking around. You’ll find books that tell you to hire slow and keep the staff slim and others that tell you to hire a few extra staff members so you can have a public termination every now and then to keep the other staff members in line. You can find books that love team interaction and those that believe each person should work autonomously.
If you’re not careful, you’ll end up standing still not managing anything while your office spins around you (No, that was not an attempt to introduce yet another management theory).
Here’s what I’ve learned through the years, hire superstars. What is a superstar you might ask? Well, before I answer that, allow me to tell you what I think is the responsibility of every staff member. Every staff member must do one of two things very well. Either they must make the company money or they must save the company money. It’s vital that with each transaction your staff know to ask the question. Will this decision make the company money or will it save the company money? If the answer is yes, now they need to be able to answer, how? How will it achieve these goals? How long will it take? What will happen if we don’t make this decision? If the answer is no to both, then don’t take action or bring it to you so you can make the final answer.
Let me illustrate this point for you at a very basic yet real example. Let’s look at the person who answers your phone and sets appointments for the practice. Perhaps a prospect calls to ask for an appointment. After some basic questions and answers, your appointment setter realizes that the problem this person is experiencing cannot be helped by your firm. Your appointment setter has a choice to make. He or she can either set the appointment anyway and allow someone else to deal with it. Because they are judged by the number of appointments they set in a day, they feel their decision is warranted. The other choice is they can realize this appointment will be a waste of time for you, your staff and the prospect and offer to refer that person to a firm that can serve their needs.
If the appointment setter doesn’t possess the desire to either make or save the company money they are likely to set the appointment anyway. They'll be wasting valuable time and destroying good will with the prospect. But, if they take the person’s information, and bring the subject to a supervisor for advice on referrals, they’ve built good will with the prospect and avoided wasting time for your firm.
Now, to answer the question of what’s a superstar? A superstar is a person who knows how to both save the company money AND make the company money. They know when to elevate a problem that needs more attention than they can give. They believe they are fairly compensated and that in order for the business to continue to compensate them fairly, it’s their shared personal responsibility to be cognizant of their choices and decision and the affect they have on the business. Yes, these people exist. We hire them every day. The key is to know what you’re looking for. Just like anything in life, the more you do it, the better you’ll be. But, while you learn you might want to have a few extra staff members around for those public terminations, just to keep everyone else in line…
Building a better business, one superstar at a time…