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The Eight Rules of Management
by Gregory Blencoe

 
   
 
   

Rule #1: Surround Yourself With High Quality Employees

Business is a team sport.  Even though one person usually gets the credit or the blame, the quality of the supporting cast usually determines who wins the game.

The vision of entrepreneurship involves creating a product that customers will demand.  However, implementing that vision comes with just one catch: you can’t do it alone.  Therefore, if you want to swim in the seas of profit, you are going to need the help of other people.  Tasks and responsibilities must be delegated.  The question is: to whom will you be delegating?  Will you be delegating to someone who is punctual or constantly tardy?  Hardworking or lazy?  Polite or rude?  The answers to these questions will go a long way in determining the fate of your business.

As a manager, the bottom line is that you had better surround yourself with talented people or you are not going to accomplish much.  After all, how good would the greatest choreographer be if his dancers had two left feet?  How good would the greatest football coach be if his quarterback couldn’t throw, his receivers couldn’t catch, and his offensive line couldn’t block?  How good would the greatest movie director be if his lead man couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag?

Some managers might say “Well, hiring high quality employees costs money and I just can’t afford to hire those people.”  The truth is, you can’t afford not to.  For a product to succeed, customers demand that it be consistently excellent.  At the end of the day, the quality of your product is what is going to bring home the bacon.  The key is that employees have a tremendous influence in determining whether your customers receive the product you envisioned or just a watered-down version.  Therefore, it is not acceptable to have an “OK” or “decent” or “so-so” group of employees unless you find it acceptable to give your customers an “OK” or “decent” or “so-so” product. As a result of their employees’ value, managers would be well-advised to look at them as investments instead of expenses.  Unfortunately, a lot of managers don’t fully appreciate the fact that mediocre employees can totally bankrupt a potentially good business and send it to an early grave faster than the entrepreneur grim reaper can say “What do you want on your tombstone?”

In addition, surrounding yourself with high quality employees is absolutely essential if you have an eye on expansion.  One person can only carry so much weight before the load gets too heavy.  To illustrate this concept, imagine it is your goal to start from scratch and build an empire of one hundred fast-food franchises.  Since you are a fabulous manager and bring in equally fabulous cooks, cashiers, and dishwashers to the operation, the first store you open is an overwhelming success which allows you to open another one.  However, in order to concentrate your efforts on the second store, you must have another highly-qualified employee to properly manage the first one.  If not, you will be spending all of your time at the first store putting out fires and the second store will fail as a result.  On the other hand, if you promote a good assistant manager to run the first store, you can concentrate on building the second store with very few worries.  After the second store is a success, you can promote your best assistant manager to take over that store so you can go after another one.  After you open five or six stores, you can promote your best store manager to be district manager with this person having full responsibility over that district.  This process goes on and on until you meet your goal of one hundred stores.  The key point to remember is that your goal would have never been accomplished if you had not continually surrounded yourself with quality employees. 

There is also a synergy that is created when a group of high quality employees works together.  The standard of what is expected from each other is raised due to a subtle peer pressure.  As a result, a culture of excellence is created and sustained.  The problem is that the same thing happens on the flip side of the coin.  High performing employees caught in a mediocre organization will adapt to their environment and become much less productive.  So what is it going to be: esprit de corps or esprit de bore?

Just as a chef needs high quality ingredients to make a great meal, a manager needs high quality employees to give customers a great product.  Who do you have around you?

Rule #2


       
   
 
       
   

The Author

The Art of Management

Gregory J. Blencoe is a management consultant and author of The Art of Management.  He has written articles for numerous magazines including Success, Human Resources Executive, Business Credit, and Canadian Business Franchise.  Please feel free to contact him with any questions at gblencoe@aol.com.

 
       
   
 
       
   
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Copyright 2001 by Gregory J. Blencoe. All rights reserved.

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