two questions to engage an employee more fully

the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician

There is a Business Development coaching concept that recognises the different roles that must operate in an organisation for it to flourish. We’ve dealt with it elsewhere in this BLOG but, because of a current Business Development frustration we are involved in, it deserves more attention.

too busy inventing new stuff to have time to optimise process

A customer called to say that their top technical guy was spending a lot of time on YouTube watching videos. This was getting the entrepreneurial leader hot under the collar. That he was the best they had at his job didn’t come into the equation, it was just “we pay for his time” and “he abused our trust and uses it for his own entertainment!”

The first point of advice was to make sure that YOUR expectations of that “position” was well known to the person in that position through a “Position Outcomes Agreement.” This is part of documenting the tasks that must to be done by the occupier of that process that fulfils the mantra “Repeatability, Quality and Quantity!” That the system of which he is a part produces outcomes in a repeatable way (that can be forecast), that delivers not more - not less - but just the designed quality of outcome and that, the quantity of outcome is set, measured and met. So, would you say he met these criteria was the question asked of the entrepreneurial leader?

them-n-us the technicians
Yes, “he’s our best developer,” but, he’s using “our” time for his “own” purpose!

This is a the preserve of a Manager, who quantifies the work and orchestrates that the technician in that work is achieving - and through giving immediate and positive feed back - motivates to continue to deliver on the task.The manager also has to define the task and make sure that it is fully documented in the “Position Outcomes Agreement” and is fully part of the “Standard Operating Procedure!” But, will that, or should that, stop the technician watching YouTube? Well, I guess not, because he is fulfilling his tasks and ticking the boxes and could be using the video to enhance his skill and therefore value to the company - or he could be watching just pure entertainment. Should we care?

overwhelmed by you doing everyone else work

The 3rd, task of a manager is to innovate, and we submit that this may be a case for innovation. Our hypothesis of value driven innovation is that it comes after a process is defined and is in use. Then, we can measure the outcome and push the process to produce more (quantity), higher quality (if needed) without breaking repeatability. The process must remain water and bullet proof, no leaks and losses and whatever we throw at it will not break it!

When the entrepreneur dreams of the future it may be that that future contains a new role for this technician, a new project to be delivered or new technology to assimilate. Together with the Manager the role is revised and reworked, submitted to a safe environment (a test lab) and finally the innovation is rolled out. The outcome is met ~ but the value for the enterprise is greater productivity, employee stretch, enlightenment for the technician, who of his own accord (because he has got no downtime) stops watching videos to fill his day.

Which brings me to my second question to the Entrepreneurial Leader.

How much FREE time does this “resource” in this “process” have? In the past, we used a spreadsheet model to accumulate the “roles” that enlivens a process. A bit clunky and well, it relied on the individual to select the role and keep it as near to accurate and representative of the used time as possible.

One could say that this is a negative approach and maybe that is why a lot of time management fails, the person just gets tired! But, this has grave implications, it is a necessary evil to understand what you are using your time on. Especially in our business of advising entrepreneurs on Business Development. I know for a fact, that the outcomes we navigate to, need implementing! The entrepreneur has to command and deploy the resources to do what is required to produce a valuable outcome for the time and money they are employing in the search for valuable Business Development. But the actuality is very obvious, they do a half hearted job (enough to stay out of a challenge from the coach), and they do that in the time just before the next meeting! So, the timing and gap between envisioning what needs to be done and working on the implementation of that - can be anything. Because, they will do it at the 11th hour in a half hearted way - of course we generalise as there are always exceptions to the rule - and they normally get value for their Business Development dollar!

Enter a free web-based solution

TOGGLE a tool to capture the use of your time and display where it is being deployed;

  • To be effective a entrepreneur must do future proofing work and a bit of management work but almost NO technician work,
  • A manager must do a small bit of future proofing (innovation) a lot or quantification and orchestration and maybe a bit of technical work as a mentor/guru - but not necessarily
  • A technician should find a career path, recognition and personal satisfaction in their chosen trade and may “stumble” across innovative ideas that should be keenly seized on by management and evaluated by entrepreneurs for reward & implementation!
visualise the time you have used

Not only does the app report to you via e-mail, it draws nice pictures of where you have spent your time and works across teams, customer projects and personal downtime. BUT . . .

thinking about doing things better through innovation
find peripheral mental vision by taking a break

It has an even greater benefit, Pomodoro is a concept of taking a break (to watch YouTube) to refresh your thinking and stretch your body! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a Pomodoro break and come back with a solution to the “thing” I have being worrying about - that peripheral vision just seems to work in the mind producing valuable insights.

Know were you are spending your time, BUT also, do something about IT!  To fulfil your role as an Entrepreneurial Leader, a Process Manager or a delivery Technician. Do that through delegating and staying our of the way of those that are tasked to deliver. Set yourself tasks to delivery on YOUR Position Outcomes mandate. Strange thing is, when you’re doing what your supposed to do then you’ll not be frustrated by“others” as they fulfil their own rules within the path set by the Standard Operating Procedure!


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Peter French

Business Coaching is not consulting, it's also not therapy. It's a unique profession that lives somewhere in between these two poles - structured to leave lasting life and business value!

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