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Ask Dave

Control Freak Fix

Steve isn't comfortable with handing off duties to his subordinates. Is this a control freak issue, or can Dave tell him something?

QUESTION: Steve has a sole proprietorship, and he’s trying to move away from him doing everything to having some help. He has trouble, though, finding people who will do things the way he wants them done. How can he fix this? Dave has two ideas.

ANSWER: There are a couple of things that cause that. One is that, if you don’t pay enough, you don’t get good people to whom you can delegate. You can fix that by possibly giving them the opportunity to earn more based on production. You can bring fellow entrepreneurs in to be team members if they don’t feel like they have a glass ceiling in terms of compensation.

The other thing involves hiring the right people. That involves having a discussion and getting to know them. I try not to hire anyone who can’t be incentivized. If someone just wants to park their butt in a seat and collect a check, I don’t want them on my team. There are too many people out there who need financial peace for me to hire some halfway person. We are very careful in our hiring; it’s very tough to come and work for us. It takes a certain kind of person to fit in with our entrepreneurial spirit.

The last thing is lots of clear communication about what is expected. You have to have very clear guidelines of what is expected of them on their performance and the principles behind their performance. I want them to have the spirit of treating this activity as if it’s their business. If that happens, it changes the level of excellence with which they view the activity. If you bring in a person like that and still don’t like the way they do things, you’re too tight and you need to loosen up a little bit.

It’s easy to delegate to people when you have quality people that you can come to trust as far as their integrity and their competency. Once you have that, delegation is easy even for a control freak.