Before Christmas, I started giving ownership to my team, instead of waiting for them to take it.
The idea seems so simple to me now, but it took reading Kristen Hadeed’s book, Permission To Screw Up, for the penny to drop.
Kristen has been on my radar for a couple of years now; she’s a phenomenal woman, with a hell of a story.
The Personal Touch
It was Simon Sinek’s team, who pointed me in her direction. I reached out to her for some help with a team member I couldn’t quite motivate.
Expecting to get some generic advice from her entourage, I was blown away when she replied personally. She may or may not realise it, but she coached me through quite a difficult situation.
That team member is no longer with us now, but he’s settled in a new company and doing what he loves. A completely different role to the one we took him on for, but the right one for him.
As soon as she announced she was writing a book, I wanted it.
That was the code word she’s set up with her team when something had gone horribly wrong.
Kristen’s problem? She received it via text message as she was putting her carry on luggage away ahead of a flight!
You can imagine the panic, can’t you? All hell is breaking out and you’re not there to fix it.
That, however, was the best thing that could have happened. By the time Kristen was able to power up her phone again, several other messages had come through.
“Everything is OK… We figured it out”.
Micromanaging Stifles Problem Solving
If Kirsten had been there, she would have solved the issue herself and her team would not be any better for it.
If the situation arose again, they’d still need her help.
It was this part of the book, not even 60 pages in, that I vowed to change how I did things.
Instead of waiting, giving my team time to grow into a role, I asked each of them one question.
“If you could take control of any part of the business, what would it be?”
Their answers varied, but the result didn’t. I gave them that the responsibility.
Even the extremely shy, Jack, a 15-year-old work experience student we have with us, answered within a few seconds.
He embraced it and took it on.
It’s us, the leaders that have the hardest time adjusting.
You should have seen my Dad’s face when I told Jack’s mentor, Dylan, to let Jack deal with all of the orders on the day that he comes in.
It’s too early to tell what impact this will have on the company. Dad obviously felt/feels his legacy is going to go up in smoke, but we have to look at this logically.
We’re not nuclear physicists, brain surgeons or astronauts. Nothing my team members do are going to sink the company overnight.
Yes, they may make mistakes and they probably will. If they do, I can help them get through to the other side.
At worse, one of our customers will receive the wrong item or have a bad experience. Something that I’d like to avoid, but something I’m confident we could turn around if required.
At best… well at best we cultivate a team of empowered decision makers that love what they do and give our customers the best possible experience.