Last time, we talked about stage 4 of the evolutionary scale, where we discussed what happens when we are employing teams, and starting to think about putting department managers in place to create a more defined structure to the business. Here, we move on from that, and look at what happens when we head towards 1200 properties. In stage 5 of the evolutionary scale, we are stepping back, and delegating parts of our role to a management team. But how do you start to let go, and what do you have to put in place in order to do that?
As you head towards 1200 properties, what you’re really aiming for is to have a remotely run business. This is the stage in your evolutionary scale where you will really be starting the process of handing over the reins to your management team, and letting go of the day to day running of the business.
Letting go is hard to do
It’s human nature to protect that which belongs to us, and your business is no different. You’ve spent a lot of time conceptualising what you want this business to grow up to become, built it from the ground up, watched as it began to grow wings and fly. And all of that has happened under your careful guidance. You’ve come a long way. But now is about the time your baby is ready to leave home, and make his own way in the world. And that is easier said than done.
At this point, you have probably already involved a manager or two, and now we will be expanding on that a little bit. Because in order for you to be able to step back from the business, you will need to have a team of managers in place who you can trust to move things forward in the way you envisage.
In order to put those managers in place, you need to learn to trust them. You need to be confident that they have the same future goals for the business as you do. That might mean that you look within your existing teams – there’s no-one who will know the business better than someone who already works there. Of course, if you choose to do this, it can require some forward planning – something we will revisit later in this guide.
Your High Level Management Team
If you’re going to be confident in letting go, you will need to put in place a full management team. That will include a manager for every existing department in your business, which means that you will no longer need to be overseeing the teams directly, instead your job will become overseeing at a higher level. In short, your managers are there to look after your staff, you are there to look after your managers and have a broader view over your departments.
With your high level management team in place, you’ll want to start implementing regular senior team meetings. This not only brings the managers of all of the departments together, but it also gives you the opportunity to see how they are working together. You need to be aware of what is happening between the departments, and any potential frictions. Holding regular management meetings is vital in maintaining inter-department relations, and ensuring that as a business, everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
Looking at the numbers
What will you be focusing on in your senior management meetings? The answer to that is, in a way, twofold. You will of course be focusing on the figures, looking at property growth, income streams, fee structures etc. But that will also tie in with taking an overview of how your business and departments are working together as a whole. Every person who works within your business will have a set of objectives to work towards. But like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces need to be there to make up the whole picture. So if someone has failed in their objectives, it can have a knock on effect. And part of your job is to ensure that those objectives are both achievable, and that the right support is available to meet them. Because if your listers don’t take on enough properties for the month, the business begins to go backwards. Where there was growth, there will be a decline in numbers. If that happens, you need to look at why, and take measures to put it right.
We touched on the subject of moving people who already work for your business in to management positions, earlier. Having someone who is part of your team become management can bring its own challenges. Staff will initially feel uncomfortable taking orders from someone they used to work alongside, which can cause friction within the team. You will have to support them through this, as well as defining their new role. It’s normal that they will feel obliged to carry on working ‘with’ the team, rather than over them – you need to make them understand that their job is no longer to carry out the day to day admin, or answer the phones – they are there to manage the team, and ensure that the department is working efficiently and meeting their objectives. In other words, like you, they need to let go!
As Director, part of your role will be to ensure your managers have accountability for their teams. New managers struggle with this – but they will have to take responsibility for their staff’s performance. During your management meetings, you will have discussed goals and objectives, in terms of figures, and it is up to your managers to make sure their staff are fully accountable in meeting those objectives, and to understand that this is where their responsibility lies.
A triangle of meetings & training
There should be regular meetings for everyone in the business at this level in the evolutionary scale. These will be at junior level, senior level, and higher management level. Each person should be meeting on a weekly basis, ensuring that everyone is fully aware of what they need to be doing for that week, and reviewing progress from the past week.
Within this, there is also a need to make sure that training, whether formal or inter-company, is on track, and that staff are getting the support they need to complete their objectives. Take your staff on the journey with you. Give them a reason to want the business to move forward.