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Liberate The How

Date - 15 November 2016/ Category - Be A Conductor
be a conductor

When trying to conduct your employees (see my earlier chapter on conducting vs managing) one of the best things you can do to promote growth in your organisation is to detail where you’re going and why but to leave the “how” up to the employee.

If the employee isn’t capable of figuring out the how, then ultimately they aren’t good enough to do the job. Of course at times you will have to step in to help with the how but in general your employees should be able to engage in battle, face a problem and solve it without your help.

Your job then is to facilitate the how, to equip your staff with the tools and resources to have multiple options on how to solve a problem and ultimately pick the right one.

This concept of liberating the how isn’t something new. In fact it’s the premise that the whole German army in WW2 was run on. You could of course argue that the German war machine lost the war, but actually it was due to the removal of the how from commanders on the ground that partly led to that loss.

For example Hitler’s obsession with control meant that Germany’s response to D-Day was delayed because Hitler personally demanded that the movement of troops was run by him and he was asleep when it kicked off!

Obviously then the liberation of the how means you need to be able to recruit the best, and that means paying a fair price.

But what is a fair price? An extra £10,000 might seem like a lot to a business, but in reality that £10,000 can pay dividends. Firstly an additional £10,000 in salary can transform a workers life, leading to their love of the job increasing exponentially, secondly it prevents the chances of them going elsewhere but overall and more importantly in a world where your new employee is responsible for making you £100,000 a year of profit, it’s a small price to pay when the alternative is to take on someone that needs you to do their job and you are probably worth more than that £10,000.

I fully appreciate here that paying higher wages than the competition is a struggle when you’re starting out, but that’s why you need to have a good idea in the first place. If your idea can’t run itself then you’re business is never going to take off.

It’s a sad truth that most people who want to be millionaires are destined never to make it, not because they don’t put in the effort but simply because the idea alone isn’t good enough.

I’ve seen 100’s of businesses which carry heavy staff wage bills on their backs unnecessarily. That’s why it’s important to understand my £10,000 extra analogy. This isn’t about finding a good person and paying them a bit more than average. It’s about finding the best person and paying them what they are worth. If they are great at what they do and take the how off you then you will make the money back tenfold.

Finding that person though is the hard part. You can’t just go to an agency and pick a CV. As discussed previously the right person for your how might be the person who on paper doesn’t look the best. They are the person who did the work and didn’t get the credit. The person who probably wouldn’t get a look in because they are too young.

Right now you’re thinking about why I used the word young, so here’s why. In any organisation, financial or otherwise, the work is always done by the trainee. You never see a business where the boss does the work and the underling checks it.

That means there is a rich vein of highly skilled people to pick from, often under paid already that could do your how. The trick is finding them in the first place and weeding them out from the underlings who aren’t ready to be leaders.
Chapter Summary:

• Great conductors liberate the how
• That means it’s your job to pick the right people and equip them with the right tools to do the job
• Tell someone where to go and why, but let them figure out how to get there
• Recruitment is absolutely critical

Read our next blog post “Don’t be fooled by long hours & qualifications”.