Isha Knill - Business Coaching
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What are People Management Systems?

Isha Knill - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Recently I wrote a blog giving a brief description of our business journey from start up, to moving into the initial stages of medium business, highlighting that as we step into the next phase of growth, this is often when the wheels start to come off.  

Why this happens is because in the beginning we focus a lot of our time putting business management systems into our business, which makes sense, we are growing our business, it's natural we need to focus on the systems that will support our business to grow.  However, when we get to a place where our business gets past our capacity to manage it on our own, with a small team of people and we need to bring in a small management team, this is when things can start to get a bit wobbly.

Why this happens is because it is at this stage that we need to implement people management systems but this isn't something that is clearly understood and therefore often goes undetected, yet it is a crucial component because if not managed well business owners quickly become overwhelmed by the size and inefficiency of their business, which can eventually lead to the following things:

  • Total overwhelm, the owner starts to feel imprisoned by the life they have created and doesn't know how to move forward, they are on a hamster wheel of frustration and starting to struggle under the strain
  • They just can't grow past a certain size, becoming chained to their business, essentially having created a job for themselves and not a lifestyle
  • Burn out - everything feels like it is in the too hard basket and they either start to research different employment options, try to sell their business, downsize or eventually close.

So what are People Management Systems?

Like a jigsaw puzzle, there are several components to how this comes together to make the whole picture but the simplest way to look at this is to think of a game of netball.  If you think about it, business is essentially like a game (you the owner are the one making the rules) but the basics of the game still apply. Which are as follows:

  • Each person has a position on the court, 
  • Each person needs to understand how to play their position, they need to be taught clearly so they understand what is required of them and what isn't, which means if they have the wrong attitude they need to learn to gain the right attitude, if their ball skills are weak they need to be strengthened, if they don't understand the game they need to be taught the rules and finally if they aren't a team player they need to learn to play in a team.  
  • Each person needs to understand how to play other positions on the court so they are interchangeable should a player go down and is unavailable to play.
  • Each person needs to understand their impact to the game and that they are all co-dependent on each other i.e. each position is as important as the other, take one position out of the game and the whole game is impacted.  
  • Each person needs to learn to stay in their own lane and not poach from other players because when this happens they just annoy the rest of the team, including the Coach.
  • The game needs someone to lead it i.e. your Coach, (in business the Owner) who then relies on key players in the team (team leaders) to help them embed the right attitude (culture) into the group and ensures that the game is played as a cohesive team so you don't break out into silo mentality.

The crucial component of this is leadership.  Again if you think on a game of netball...weak coaching creates weak players...it's no one's fault, people do what they do because they don't know how to do things differently, but if you wish for your business to continue to move forward into the next phase of growth and you want to make sure you have robust people systems to support this, empowered leadership is an essential component of this journey.

Why are People Management Systems Missed?

Having experienced this in my business in Zimbabwe, as it grew past my capacity to manage and now supporting business owners who find themselves in similar situation in the growth cycle, the only thing I can think of is that it just doesn't occur to the business owner.  Most people who start businesses, start them because they are good at their skill, they aren't necessarily good at business, in particularly people management. 

I think too, a lot of people management information is usually delivered in 'HR language' and to a small business owner stepping into the medium business space, they don't necessarily think they need HR support, so it isn't a step they realise they need until they get to a place where they are in so much pain they reach out to business advisers to help them but if this isn't a space that is fully understood by their advisers their problems will continue.

So, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your business, particularly if you have introduced a leadership team that make you feel like they are a big part of your problem and you need help, please click this link so we can set up a call to see if I can assist you.  Otherwise stay tuned for more  I have also included a video below if you want to have a listen 



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