I’m a disciple of the adage “you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” I was called cynical because I didn’t trust my employees to follow our uniform moving standards unless I went behind them on an irregular but consistent basis. They never knew when I would show up to see what they were doing. If I caught them not following our procedures, I made the pain of doing it right much less painful than the pain of not following them (by humiliating them).

Instead of giving you lots of examples of this successful management style, I’d like to share just one that occurred in sales. A few months after we hired and trained a new commercial salesman, I popped into his office one Friday morning and asked him if we were providing him with enough prospects to keep him busy. He replied, “Oh yes, Mr. Katz, I’m very busy. In fact, I have two estimates today, and I’m making a presentation later this afternoon.” I told him that was great and preceded to walk out of his office. As I reached his doorway, I turned towards him and said, “Gerrard, I’m going to go with you today.” His reply was, “Oh, that’s wonderful.”

Five minutes later, Gerrard sheepishly walked into my office with a tear running down his cheek and ask me if we could talk. He apologized to me, and said he had told me a little “white lie” about his schedule for the day. He did have one estimate in the morning but had planned to get a haircut at noon and play golf at 1 pm that day. That’s when Gerrard “got baptized” by my management style—never knowing when I would go behind him to ensure he was doing the right thing.

I didn’t go with him on his morning estimate, and he worked in his office the rest of that day instead of playing golf. Unannounced, I shadowed him the following Tuesday and Wednesday and then again three weeks later. In all my subsequent surprise audits, I never caught him again “gaming the system.” In time Gerrard became one of our top O & I producers making lots of money for himself and my moving company.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of owners who bragged to me they never went behind their employees. According to them, “they refuse to babysit grown men.” They “empowered” their employees to do the right thing, and if they didn’t, fired them and found someone else who did. I suggested that being an owner, manager, or supervisor meant they were personally responsible for the performance and behavior of their employees. I added another adage that is “they couldn’t manage what they didn’t measure.” What do you think about my management style?

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By | 2017-10-19T20:05:45+00:00 October 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|