There was a time when management structures generally operated from the top down. You would have a managing director / chief executive officer with the ultimate responsibility for company affairs supported by organisational structures that were, for example, team, hierarchical, functional or division based. Everyone had their place in the chain of command and did what was required of them. Job specifications explained your title, what you did and how your role fits into the company structure. Well, times have changed.
There has been a shift in this dynamic in more recent times through innovative approaches in companies like Google and Tesla. Google encourages their employees to create time to engage in their own interests and proficiencies for roughly 10% of their time, 20% on projects related to the main business but off-budget and 70% focused on the main business, advertising and searching. Tesla promotes the skill acquisition of its employees.
Being in the innovation business means that the company can only benefit from the deliberate utilisation of these additional employee skillsets. Times have changed. Leadership styles must reflect these changes, and management systems will benefit from such adaptation. Let’s take a closer look at the job specification example we referred to earlier.
The traditional way would be to describe what was required then hire the best person who best fit the job specification. Of course, there’s no need to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater by disposing of job specifications altogether, but it will benefit from a slight modification.
The modification is creating the job around the individual’s skillset/experience/qualifications to best support company and personal growth. People bring specific life skills and perspectives that add immense value to their roles, so recruiting such people requires more than a brief conversation about their hobbies. It involves an understanding of how their overall skills can be efficiently utilised and developed. When the employee is empowered and engaged in continuous professional development, their skillsets and expertise facilitate personal and business growth. It’s a win/win.
People still buy from people. Online businesses still require the human touch to resolve complaints, package goods for despatch, develop systems or create algorithms. The style of leadership and approach to management should be in sync with your values and business development in these ever-changing times.
REFLECT – APPRAISE – ASSESS
Reflect on your skillsets and experiences as a small to a medium-sized business owner. Note what you are getting right. Identify areas for improvement, then develop strategies to remedy these areas.
Appraise the functional performances of the person/s you work with. Seek their opinions and respect their feedback regarding everyday matters. One of the popular ways companies shoot themselves in the foot is by ignoring or disregarding the qualified views of the experts on the ground.
Assess your business on a national/international scale to understand the efficiency of your systems/leadership style and management structure.
About the author
Malik Muhammad was raised and educated in Jamaica and read law in London. He created The Empowerment Mastery System to influence, help and inspire businesses to cultivate their visions. Malik enjoys vegan cooking and quad biking. He is an after-dinner speaker, event host and convenes empowerment seminars internationally. His latest book COFFEE & CONTEMPLATION: a taste of empowerment is available on Amazon.