Growth, and the success that causes it, can be great fun and create great profit. But there is a dark side to growth. A big pile of money can hide a multitude of sins.
It can be hard to believe you’re in trouble when your bank statement looks so good. But just because it looks like you’re doing well, doesn’t mean you actually are.
The problem is not growth, but unsupported growth. When you add people and customers and managers and maybe even locations without the right infrastructure to support it, there are sneaky places where a lot of money can just dissappear, without you even knowing it's gone.
Man Hours—This is the time your front-line people spend getting the work done. Showing is not the same as training. In many organizations, training looks like experienced people or managers showing new team members how to do it. What people see, and what they remember, can vary greatly.
If you’ve never established even simple processes for how to do work, or formalized your training enough to make sure the important stuff gets covered, you’re basically asking your front-line people to make up how the work should get done. When you don’t have formal processes and systems in place you often miss out on both quality and efficiency during each man-hour. The more people you have, the more you stand to lose.
You also waste man hours when managers don’t have clear plans and good systems for delegation and leave front-line people waiting for instructions, re-doing work, or overloaded playing catch up.
Additionally, unless you’re consciously creating a strong culture where people are both held accountable and recognizably appreciated, you’re unconsciously creating a culture that let’s bad employees get away with too much and takes good employees for granted.
This creates additional problems with hiring, retention, morale and productivity which all eat up additional man-hours and dollars.
Management Hours—These are some of the most expensive hours in your entire organization and one of the biggest hidden sources of waste. Managers that don’t prioritize their own work well, or who spend a lot of time on low-value work are wasting expensive time.
If they’re doing those things, it means they also have less time available for high value work like solving high level problems, building systems, or providing training and oversight for their teams.
A lot of organizations burn piles of money because their managers spend time doing or redoing the work that should belong to the people they manage. You end up paying for the same work twice, in part with high-priced management dollars.
Managers, like front-line people, also need structure, formally defined roles, training and accountability. When they don’t have it, you’re hoping they’re doing the work that makes the biggest difference. And often you’ll be wrong.
MANAGEMENT TEAMS--Teams that aren’t able to operate efficiently as a group are a huge waste of resources. Management teams that are so dysfunctional that they openly fight are fairly rare. The bigger danger is when they’re dysfunctional but polite. It’s harder to know you have a big problem.
Management teams need to be able to collaborate on decisions, coordinate and share resources, and plan and trouble shoot efficiently. It is critical they be able to have honest conversations and healthy disagreements. Most people don’t get the training or tools they need to do this. And most organizations pay for the dysfunction again and again in dollars wasted and opportunities lost.
Training is a tricky thing. It can be hard to justify taking the time when there is so much that needs to be done right NOW. It’s tough to know what really good training looks like. It takes a lot of time and energy to build good training programs internally. Good external resources can be hard to find.
But when your people aren’t set up to do their jobs, do them right and do them well, you’re paying for a lot of work that isn’t getting done.
Good training is worth all the hassle. And more.
About the Author: Alecia Huck is a hard person to find and a good person to know. She specializes in working with fast-growth companies who need to learn the block & tackle skills of leadership; how to hold people accountable, run great meetings, keep track of people and work--the kind of tactical support that it is really hard to win without. Find out more HERE.