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Matuson Consulting // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results

The Biggest Mistake CEOs Make

The biggest mistake CEOs make is waiting too long to make changes with their executive team. They'll use all sorts of excuses; "I need more time to see what this guy can really do." Or, "She's probably having a hard time getting used to working for a new leader." All the while, they know deep inside these people need to go.

Not making a decision is in itself making a decision. You run the risk of having these non-decisions come back to haunt you. You also gain the reputation of not being all that different than the CEO you replaced. Your followers begin to lose respect and before long, you're operating from a point of weakness rather than strength.

So, here’s what you can do if this describes you.

Set a deadline. Pick a date. Any date. Commit to making a decision by that date. No excuses. If the date arrives and you’re still waffling, then remove that individual.

Establish firm objectives and metrics. What exactly are you looking for people on your team to achieve, and how will you measure success? Set firm objectives and metrics for each member of your team. By doing this, you’ll have a much more clear sense if improvement is occurring or if you’re just kidding yourself.

Find a trusted advisor. It's true. It’s lonely at the top and the people who surround you are too concerned about their own jobs to really say what they think. Reach out to a peer or find yourself a trusted advisor who can help you work through issues like the one I just described. Not sure what a trusted advisor can do for you? Check out some of the ongoing discussions I have with my advisory clients.

Is Micromanagement Killing Your Company?

If you’re the kind of boss who focuses in on details, prefers to be copied on emails, and is rarely satisfied with your team’s work, then—there’s no nice way to say this—you’re a micromanager.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Micromanagement is about lack of trust. You don’t believe that anyone can do things as well as you can. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on everything that is going on with your subordinates. 
The impact micromanagers have on teams is significant. You are preventing your employees from learning and developing. You are also taking away any opportunities they may have to be creative. In a nutshell, you’re sucking the life out of your people.

To make matters worse, you are damaging your own career as well. You are spending way too much time on the details, when instead you should be focusing on the big picture. This means you no longer have time to devote to higher profile projects or work that may be more interesting.
There is no magic pill for micromanagers. If there were, pharmaceutical companies around the globe would be working day and night to keep up with demand.

The only effective treatment I know for micromanagement requires acknowledgement, restraint, and plenty of practice. In my experience, micromanagers can be reformed, but only if they want to be.

I had an executive coaching client we’ll call Jeff. When I first met Jeff, he had a revolt on his hands. His entire team went to the CEO and told her that if Jeff didn’t go, they would. She asked for time to try to work things out, which they agreed to.

When I met Jeff, he was fairly certain that his workers were the problem. I quickly pointed out several situations which indicated there might be the possibility of shared responsibility here. By doing so, I got Jeff to see that he had an opportunity to create something special—a team that respected him. Here’s what we worked on.

Letting go. Jeff had to learn that sometimes you are better off letting things go. In the end, if you’ve trained them well, your people will do the right things.

Communicating the what—not the how.
There are probably a dozen ways to get to the same end result. I’ll admit, this one was a toughie for Jeff, but eventually he gave out assignments without telling people how to complete each task. And you know what? They got the work done on time and in most cases exactly how he would have instructed them to do it.

Acknowledging success. The more Jeff acknowledged people’s successes, the more he realized how much he enjoyed seeing his people grow. Any time he was tempted to revert back to his old ways, I reminded him of this.
Just like no one likes to be micromanaged, no one wants to be the detested micromanager. Commit to focusing on the big picture and leave the micro details to someone else, and it won’t be long before others are coming to you for advice on how to effortlessly lead.

Where to Look for Invisible Talent

It may seem like an oxymoron to search for invisible talent, since by the description, it’s something you can’t see. But the truth is, invisible talent is all around you—that is if you know where to look. Here are three places to begin your search.

Your temp pool. People take temp jobs for a variety of reasons and many are more qualified than your current workforce. Take the time to get to know your temp workers and don’t be afraid to ask them their backstory. Who knows, you may already have the perfect candidate in your line of vision.

Your local Starbucks. No one says, “When I grow up I want to be a barista!” Yet thousands of educated people hold the job title of barista. Some are working in these jobs to pay student loans while waiting for their dream job to come along. You can be their fairy godmother. The next time you pick up coffee from your regular barista, hand them your card and tell them to call you if they’re interested in exploring job opportunities.

Industry association meetings. The majority of people who attend these meetings are there to network (code for finding a new job) and to expand their knowledge. You are looking for people who are seeking a new opportunity and are always investing in their growth. Seems like the ideal place to hunt for invisible talent.

Rules of Attraction: Your Monthly Tip on Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Stop trying to hire people who don’t want to be hired. Instead, put your efforts into those who are pursuing you.

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For more tips on attracting and retaining top talent, download a copy of Talent Magnetism. Call us today at 617-608-3633 if you’d like to discuss applying these concepts to your organization.

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Meet Roberta Matuson

For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, Best Buy, and, The Boston Beer Company, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent.

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Ronald P. Bryant
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24 Seven Inc.

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