Managing Remote Teams: Why clone yourself? Delegation is cheaper.
Science is getting ever farther along the path to cloning, but we are still a long way from being able to create a second version of ourselves to help us be all, do all, and keep up with the demands of our crazy, busy lives. So how do we free ourselves up to focus on the important work at hand, i.e. the stuff that is going to move the bottom line? If you or someone who could think/act just like you, could fix the bottlenecks to maximize the flow, would that make a critical impact? (Have we used enough corporate buzzwords yet?)
We know we can’t realistically clone ourselves (the cost is prohibitive, I checked… and that’s not to mention any ethical implications), but there are things we can do to, in effect, create something entirely less creepy and confusing. That would be to set up a team of people who feel accountable and empowered to make appropriate decisions regarding your company’s success and how to achieve it.
There are 5 simple (and significantly more cost-effective) ways to “clone” yourself:
Don’t micromanage. If you have to ask, “Am I a micromanager?”, then chances are you are a micromanager. You hired these people for a reason. Let them show you why. Which leads to our next point…
Trust. Not much can build up an employee’s confidence more than feeling that you trust them. It’s not enough just to say, “I trust you to do the right thing.” You have to show your team you DO trust them through your actions. Including not hovering, and how you respond when they make a decision on their own or follow through on something.
Document a process for the decision matrix. Outline any necessary considerations your team would need to make a solid decision on your behalf. How far can they go to solve a problem for a customer? What limit do they have in ordering new supplies? What parameters should they follow so they can make the decision alone, without you? Providing a few guardrails helps give your team the confidence to work on solving problems and gives them room to think out fo the box. Ultimately, when I documented a process like this for a sales team I managed, the final rule was, “If you can sit down with me to rationalize why you made that particular decision to my boss, then I trust you to make the right decision.” You know, I never had to sit down with my boss and an employee to review any of their decisions. The team maneuvered their responsibilities smoothly and they had the confidence that I trusted them.
Understand that failure is OK. If your team’s environment is one of trust and the decision process is documented, it should follow, failure is OK. Of course, no one wants to fail at meeting a goal -but if you team is afraid of failure, they will never feel completely comfortable with taking the initiative to fix a bottleneck or create a solution. You have to look at failures as chance to teach your team. Ask what we could do differently next time? It’s like they say, there are no problems, only opportunities in work clothes. I know, cue the eye rolls.
Provide resources and support. While you can’t be there all the time, you can make yourself ever-available to your team, as well as set them up for success when you’re not there to guide them. There are tons of way to do this. Whether it’s providing the team with the latest competitive analysis, insight on trends, plans for upcoming rollouts, new sales tools, etc. There are apps available now to track or automate just about everything you need to help boost your productivity - from administrative tasks to logging every business receipt, mileage driven, tracking GPS, there are even reminders to stop and breathe. Namaste. There are complete solution tools available, too, like the ONE by Movista platform (insert shameless plug here), but whichever method you choose, you should invest in an interface where your team can get more done – faster, better and cheaper.
Once you get a trained, trusted team in place, I think you’ll find that cloning can wait.