So many of we business owners really hate the idea of the summer, because of the holiday season.
Staff want to take holidays, which reduces the workforce across the company. Lack of staff disrupts production and puts more pressure on the remaining staff to get the work done. You as the business owner can’t go away yourself because if you do everything will stop dead while you’re away.
And if you take the risk and go away, you dread coming back to whatever disaster has befallen you while you’ve been absent. No wonder we hate the idea of leaving the business for a break. Instead of it being a relaxing time to help recharge your batteries it becomes more stressful because you’re not there seeing what is going on, and not there to overcome the problems when they do occur.
So it is that many business owners take the path of least resistance and stay at home, while their workforce go away and come back tanned and relaxed two weeks later.
But what if things were different; what would it be like if the staff knew what to do in any circumstance and were able to handle the things that you normally have to do? If you were able to delegate the jobs needed to run the business to those trusted people in the business, everyone wins:
But there are added bonuses to the business being able to run without you, which go far beyond holidays; if the business doesn’t rely on you day to day, and you don’t have to be there day to day, then it is a much better business, and, when the time comes, a lot more saleable.
So, the art of enjoying holidays is the art of delegation to your staff. And the art of delegation can be learned.
Delegation isn’t just about asking someone to do something and then forgetting about it. It’s about creating a culture of trust in your organisation. It’s about having someone take the responsibility for a specific deliverable which is clearly defined and having them report back on how well it’s going. When it’s managed like that, most people are happy to rise to the challenge and be proud of what they have achieved.
There are a couple of interesting words in that last paragraph:
Culture – the company culture is all pervading and the people in the business learn what the culture is from the top. So if nobody is given any responsibility “because the boss decides”, then nobody will take any responsibility, so the boss ends up deciding on everything! However, if people are encouraged to think for themselves, allowed to show some initiative and are recognised for their efforts then they will normally take up the challenge.
Deliverable - just because someone does something different from the way you would doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Provided the outcome is the same then let them do it their way. It’s the deliverable that matters; they have either achieved the required result, or they haven’t. How they got there is their affair (provided it’s legal!).
Clearly defined – it is important that the staff know what is important and how they determine if they have achieved it or not. So some clearly defined measures are important. Set some targets “Your target is to manufacture 90 pairs of wellingtons a day with a reject rate of no worse than 5%”
Trust – just because you trusted someone to do a job doesn’t mean you can’t ask them to prove they’ve done it. Make it part of their job to report back to you on whether the agreed deliverable has been achieved and make that reporting cycle a regular part of the role.
Manage – “if it’s not measured, it’s not managed” so your role is to manage the staff so they can achieve the deliverables the business needs and report back regularly on how well things are happening, by putting measures in place. “This week I manufactured an average of 94 pairs of wellingtons per day against a target of 90, which is more than last week at only 82, but the reject rate went from 4.7% to 5.1% against a target rate of 5%”.
So holidays are a good thing for your business, because they can be used to test the effectiveness of the business processes to work without you needing to be there. First time is hard, and you might want to leave a contact number , but if you have delegated effectively and you go on holiday, everything will still be there when you get back. That demonstrates that the business is self sufficient and that in turn means that the business is more valuable to a purchaser when the time comes. And of course, the more holidays you take in the meantime, for longer periods, the more you test the resilience of the business. Tough life…..
If you want to know more about how to make holidays a good thing in your business then get in touch and we’ll talk through how you can change your business so that you own it, not the other way around!