Over Controlling

Controlling is one of the duties of a leader, but controls can go too far.  The excellent leader guards against the tendency of controls to accumulate with negative consequences.

Businesses are plagued by cause-and-effect fallacies—because we do certain things, certain things happen.  Sales contests are one example. Does it produce an increase in sales or just move revenues from one period to another? Controls are another.

Systems, policies, and procedures tend to accumulate, stifling performance. The excellent leader systematically subjects the organization’s activities to “so what” and “if what” questioning. They are diligent about eliminating and simplifying. They understand that activity, “work,” creates work. They first place priority on effectiveness, “doing the right thing,” but second they look for efficiency, “doing things right,” and in most cases that means simplifying and eliminating. Steve Jobs was relentless. His focus on simplifying and eliminating was notorious to the point that he eliminated the "on" and "off" button from devices. It is unnecessary he said; the device knows when it is not being used, and it knows when you start to use it. So why bother?

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It is Nashville, a history-making flood, a beautiful attorney, a deadly secret, and wine to kill for--The Claret Murders, the latest Mark Rollins mystery adventure by author Tom Collins



The controlling aspect of management is represented by the generally upward movement of the business chart. Controlling implies that the business achieves successive expectations, the Encore.
The Encore is a reality of business. Those who judge us expect successively higher results. Planners and managers must consider this expectation and generally manage to achieve it. It means keeping your powder dry. It means not operating on the razor's edge. It means building elasticity into the business. It means early warning systems and gap planning to make up shortfalls. The ENCORE expectation includes product innovation, customer satisfactions, etc. Thus, the manager must always think, "what do we do for an ENCORE?"

Controlling implies systems that avoid doing the wrong thing and that moves the business toward predetermined objectives through meeting successive expectations—encore after encore. It does the right things and generally does them in the right way.

Control means problem avoidance—putting systems, policies, and procedures in place that minimize problem occurrences. Problem avoidance can be further fostered through delegation. Managers should insist that a good measure of all problems be dealt with as close to the action as possible. A control system starts by setting a standard, then measuring the actual result, and adjusting the standard or actual as required. Excellent managers know the key factors that make their business successful and the key performance indications that tell them when the business is on or off course. They are unabashed believers in the power of goals. Higher goals result in successively higher achievements. They are always out to break records. They understand that every single member of the team impacts customer service and they look for ways to measure and reward individual performance in serving the organization’s customers. I have been blown away by the quality of white glove delivery service from companies like Macy’s department store. Not only do they exercise extraordinary care in delivery and setup, they talk to you as a customer—explain what they are doing. When they leave, they ask you to report to the company. “If you think we did a good job, let our company know.” Why?—because they are being measured and rewarded. They want to do a good job and to be recognized for it.

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Mysteries by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.