By Warren J. Rutherford

As a young professional you started your business with a great idea for a product, received the funding necessary to bring your business through the startup phase, and received sound advice from your banker, accountant, and business attorney. You’ve grown your business with the acquisition of several key accounts, and brought on staff to help you develop your business.

You have a basic business plan – it was required by your banker so you could access funding, you have your company organized properly – thanks to the recommendation of your business attorney, and your financial structure seems to work well, as you followed the advice of your accountant. But you need something more.

You want to develop a sales and marketing plan, you want to understand better how to manage your employees, and you want to manage your cash flow better. But you need something more. You need professional assistance from someone who can regularly guide you through the challenges you begin to face as customers and employees need more attention. But you can’t afford a full time person to help you do all this.young professional.

Let’s look at the young business owner who was becoming concerned that his employees were not following instructions well. Additionally, they often came in late without giving a reason, sometimes were absent without explanation, and, complained to several customers about the owner’s expectations. Most of the employees, there were only 5 in total, were college educated, and seemed interested in helping the owner grow his new business. And like him, they were young. He too had a degree, and intuitively knew he had a great business concept – but he had not taken any college courses in the “how to” of managing and motivating employees. He figured everyone would be self-motivated.

As his senior business consultant, he talked to me about his management frustrations. Nothing seemed to work. When I asked him what he did to manage their activities he explained: “I manage them the same way I was managed at some of the jobs I had when I first started to work – I tell them what to do, tell them how I want it done, and tell them when I want it finished. When they don’t do what they are told, I yell and scream at them!”

Since that approach was not working well, I asked him if he’d consider an alternative. He quickly agreed and we developed a management approach that would work for him that encouraged him to “ask and task, not tell and yell.” I explained that he may know a lot, his employees most likely knew a lot, and, like him, they wanted to be able to be successful – but they wanted to accomplish their tasks with guidance from the owner, but not be told what, how, and when. In short, they wanted to be treated like adults, and use their talents to help the business and themselves grow.

I worked with him weekly for several months to help him develop effective management habits. After a four months he told me he had no complaints. Employee production increased, they had no complaints, came to work on time, and ceased their absences.

Developing a management training program that fits the business, its owner, its employees, and its culture is not hard. Sometimes the pressures of the day get in the way. Senior business consultants, men and women who have spent their careers learning how to manage and motivate employees’ well, can often help a young professional owner uncover his or her own “power within.”

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