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Allow your staff to be entrepreneurial

Friday, 30 August 2013 | By Taskmaster

As your humble correspondent has mentioned in the past, you should aim for a diverse workforce and never be afraid to hire the best person for the job.


It’s also generally better to get your staff to buy into projects by setting out the key boundaries and expectations of a task while allowing them to find their own solution, rather than being a micromanaging dictatorial douche.


Of course, if you have independent thinkers in your office, some will come to you suggesting new projects or business opportunities. It might be more regular Twitter updates, a redesign of your website design or a new PR strategy.


How should you deal with such a suggestion? How do you figure out if their idea is any good?


In general, such entrepreneurial thinking should be encouraged, as it helps staff buy-in.


However, how you respond should come down to the resources the extra task will take. Here are the three questions you need to ask:


  • Will this task take up extra resources?
  • Will this task require the assistance of other staff?
  • Will this task interrupt them carrying out their regular duties?


If the answer to these questions is no, by all means tell them to go for it.


First, tell them you’re playing devil’s advocate. Throw up any counter-arguments and questions you can think of, including possible concerns, criticisms, and things that could go wrong.


Based on their answers, consider the financial and strategic implications of their suggestion. If their new project is not affordable or runs counter to your overall strategy, kill it off.


Finally, if it doesn’t, agree on a “pilot program” involving minimal additional resources and extra staff, with quantifiable outcomes and a clear deadline. If the pilot program succeeds, take it from there. If it fails, that’s the end of the discussion.


Get it done – today!