* you’re not a warden.
* your employees aren’t inmates.
* your business isn’t a prison.
If you paused for even a nano-second in answering no to all three of those questions, you may want to ask your employees for their impressions.
However, let’s say no one would mistake your company’s environs for a prison. Would you let your employees set their own schedule, assign their own titles, choose their salaries, and forget about growth plans?
If this management approach is on one end of the spectrum, where would yours rest on this spectrum?
- Just north of Genghis Kahn.
- A nudge, a smidge, more ‘democratic’ than a military command?
- Allowing your employees to sit together and listen to you present your decisions
And, what are your results?
Of course, I’m writing with a dash of hyperbole but...if you knew you could grow your company 7 fold in 6 years, from $30 million in revenues to $200+ million in revenues, and all you had to do was allow your employees to:
- Choose their bosses (including you, or maybe not)
- Set their own schedules,
- Decide their salaries
- Forgo the tedious task of presenting growth plans (an extrapolation added to wishful thinking)...
Would you present this idea to your board of directors?
How do you think that conversation would work?
That conversation may appear to be unpleasant, borderline frightening as a leap off a cliff with no parachute and the landing zone in clouds below. With no wings and only a prayer you hope not for a soft landing but to merely survive...the meeting where you offer this idea.
However, consider SEMCO, SA, a Brazilian manufacturer who does just that. This company allows their employees to:
- Set their own schedule
- Assign their own titles (if they need a title)
- Choose their salaries
- Choose their bosses
- Forget about growth plans.
Chaos? Empty offices? No one there to produce? I don’t think so judging from their results.
In 6 years they grew from $35 million to $212 million. And, there’s no sign that this growth will change. Why should it, even in a recession?
They have no employee turnover (of course not). The best recruits, the most talented solutions-providers, are clamoring to join. These are new employees. Employees are a company’s greatest assets. And, SEMCO attracts the best and makes them even better.
Now, I’m not suggesting a radical change in your management leadership style or resources is the key here. Too much change can be too disruptive.
But, consider, the what-ifs. What-if you:
- found one more way to empower your employees?
- invested in one more resource that enabled them to achieve more of their goals
- listened to one more idea, one more opinion, one more innovation from your employees?
- found one more strength this year in each employee?
Could you double your current growth rate?
Would your best talent stay? Would all your employees be considered ‘best’? Would they recruit better talent?
Pretty soon, the employees could be running the place and maybe, your company becomes the SEMCO, SA, for your industry. And, you're able to be a guest professor at MIT while remaining CEO.