Managing the Very Small Business.
Seth Godin usually has great things to say. Sometimes he seems a bit out there to me, but that may be because he is going over my head.
In this Blog Post he talks about Managing the very small business. I just happen to be doing this so I appreciate the advice.
I tend to get stuck between all three of these models he outlines. A team of equals, Fellow travelers, and Industrialized employees. Usually depending on my mood.
When i feel that I am in the zone or on a roll I want Industrialized Employees. “Do your Job and await further instructions.” This works for a bit. Then i hit the issue he outlines here.
The pitfall: Sometimes the boss is also busy getting new business, inventing new products and generally engaged outside the organization. As a result, he is hoping that he’s the leader of fellow travelers, but of course he never built that organization, so he’s disappointed, over and over.
Ideally I would stay firmly in the Fellow Travelers zone. Where we are all in this together, all fulfilled by what we do, and all take ownership of our work. This one being ideal is also the hardest to achieve as he outlines with the pitfall of this model.
The pitfall: this isn’t fast, easy or cheap. Businesses often fail to spend the time and money to recruit, hire and train fellow travelers, instead, hiring what they can and then being disappointed when they try to lead.
I think it’s best to stay away from the Team of Equals. It’s hard to say “I am the boss in this matter” when that isn’t the precedent that has been set. Sometimes someone needs to be in charge.
I say I need to avoid it because this is the one I tend to find myself in. I hate conflict and I assume that everyone is on the same page as me. Who needs to be a boss when we all have the same goals?
Problem is I am usually mistaken and I am adrift on the sea of my own ideas and goals. This then requires the conflict I was trying to avoid to get back to where we need to be. It also usually involves reminding people they are paid for more than their good looks and ability to consume oxygen.
If people were on the same page and we were Fellow Travelers I think we would need less conflict and less reminding of why we all show up in the morning.
Management sucks, yet with some good advice from geniuses like Seth, I think it could suck less.