Research shows that as many as 60 percent of businesses in existence today are struggling. This research is not about the companies that are failing, yet. These companies are struggling with growth. They are doing well, they are profitable, they are servicing their customers but they just can’t break through that ceiling. The old saying applies here, “if you’re not growing, your doing.” If the company does not figure out how to break through that ceiling, it will start dying.
I’m preparing to lead my company through a major growth phase and whether you are a company or a 14-year-old, growth gives you pain. I decided to get ahead of the curve and start reading books on growing. As is often the case for me, I always seem to find the right book at the right time.
One of the first nuggets that I have taken away from “Traction” is the best way to build a world-caliber management team. Wickman explains that one of the more important parts of scaling a business is building an elite level senior management team. Picking this team is not easy. Each member of the team must be more skilled than the principal at the area of the business that they are being elected to oversee. Often, you will not have those people in your organization already, so you will have to look outside your company. You have to start with forming a cohesive management team, as you will need these top-dogs to help you to implement the rest of Wickman’s EOS strategy.
Here are five core skills that your managers MUST possess. If they don’t then they are not the right people to run your business.
Your core managers must have a natural ability to make even the most complex issues sound simple. They will be responsible for guiding hundreds of managers and employees. These folks will need simple processes to succeed. The manager must be able to make the complicated seem simple.
This is a harder skill to master then most think. Have you ever felt that there is not one that can do the job better then you? This is, most often, because you have not learned how to develop subordinates and then delegate to them. There is always someone who can do better then you. It’s your job to find them, develop them and then empower them.
Managers need to have enough experience that they can see where the business is going before it gets there. The management team should regularly be meeting to discuss their predictions.
Do you remember the early days in your business where you felt like achicken with your head cut off? Constantly running around trying to fulfill commitments to clients and customers? Are you still there? Systems will calm the chaos. In the book publishing division of our business, over three years we developed an end-to-end system that starts with the new author's first query, to the book being sold in stores. In a good system, every part makes sense, is logical and is built to take the best advantage of people’s times and talents. The right managers will know how to create and grow their divisions using systems.
The managers need to understand how to build their areas of responsibility around structure. Providing feedback to subordinates, setting goals and milestones (or “Rocks” as Wickman likes to call them), and making sure their organizations are running smoothly.
If you have people working as managers in your business now, make sure that they have all five of these skills. If they don’t then you have two options: help them to develop them quickly or replace them. Anything else will hurt your company.