When the president of Raven Machine & Tool quit, I suddenly found myself responsible for activities that I had never managed.
My role at the company had been business development – sales. I hadn’t been involved in the day to day operations of the company. Suddenly that all changed.
There’s an old saying; the further you are from a job, the easier it looks. It didn’t take me long to figure that out!
- I didn’t know how to run a machine, so I couldn’t produce parts,
- I wasn’t an expert in quality assurance or ISO processes so I couldn’t contribute in that area.
- I wasn’t a bookkeeper. I knew how to read financial statements, but understanding the numbers and inputting the data properly are not the same thing.
It was obvious if the business was going to survive, I’d have to keep doing what I did best –sales.
What was needed was a team with similar values, expertise in key areas and people who felt comfortable making decisions when I was out of the office – which would be most of the time.
I looked long and hard and went through more than a few bad hires before I found a team of three individuals I trusted to run the company when I was away.
Finding the right people wasn’t easy. I learned to:
Ask the right questions
- Questions that related specifically to the duties of the job they’d be performing.
- Questions that demonstrated how they would make decisions
- Questions that ferreted out a concern for others.
- Most candidates don’t think you will and it blows me away what people will share on a reference check. I ran across some unpleasant surprises concerning people I thought were pretty good.
Trust my instincts
- The moment I thought I had hired the wrong person, was the time to take action. Hire slow and fire fast is a good rule of thumb.
Matching expectations promotes engagement
- I expected the management team to work together, communicate regularly and to keep each other in the loop. It took time, but eventually they ran the company like a well-oiled machine.
We had a few rough spots during the first few months and we miscommunicated once in a while but we worked through it.
Did we respect and like each other? Absolutely.
When it was time to sell, one of the biggest advantages my company had was a strong management team that could perform without me.
Check out what Ken Wright says about the high cost of engagement in this short video.