At a recent client board meeting I raised the topic of decision making.
I attended a client’s board meeting and asked the following question:
“How can we create time for the Managing Director to (1) focus on strategic issues and (2) spend one day each week outside of the business?”
Why did I ask the question?
The MD has built his management team with a view to succession of the business. Unfortunately he can’t escape the daily barrage of requests for decisions on operational issues. He can’t find time and a clear head to think about the strategic direction of the business. He is working longer and longer hours and he wants to spend more time with his family. A typical scenario for MDs of owner managed businesses.
How did the management team respond?
“I can’t make decisions when it’s his business?” “But he knows all the answers.” “He’s a control freak – he’s the problem!” A few of the responses I received. Honest and open – a good place to start from. We spent time exploring some of the underlying issues.
Immediate actions agreed
MD to decide and communicate how much risk he is prepared to take if there is an undesirable outcome as a result of a decision. Management team to agree and document clearly decision-making limits. MD to trust judgement of his management team and feedback when he has concerns so that they learn, there will be decisions he doesn’t agree with. MD to review each member of the team – what development support do they need? Should they be part of the team?
Let’s see if the MD has more thinking time next time we meet.