On Setting Them Free

FreedomYou know the situation – “They’re causing issues and I just want to get rid of them”.

One of our customers was faced with a similar situation which we detailed recently.  I met with this customer yesterday to discuss a number of things going on in their business and we also reviewed how things were progressing after the Trimetrix Analysis we had performed.

When we undertook the Trimetrix review of the people in the business, it was singularly apparent that one of the people we were working with had HUGE potential for management.  Due to the management peceptions of this staff member in the business at that time, this wasn’t ever considered.  In effect, the people in the business has let their own “glasses” distort the real picture that was there.

Subsequent to the review we did and the various debriefings that were part of the process, we recommended to the MD of the business that they seriously consider moving this person into a management role.  To their credit, an opportunity arose and the staff member was offered a senior role in a “Special Projects” area. 

In discussions yesterday, I could not believe how highly the MD spoke of the progress and contribution this team member was now making.  As he said –

“they have gone from being last in and first out to now being first in and last out.”

The level of engagement that this team member now has is exceptional.  BUT, the sad thing here is that they were always wanting to do this, it’s just that the culture and approach in the business had not previously enabled them to engage to the level they now have.

Reflecting on our discussion last night, I thought about the number of people that aren’t being fully engaged with their work or with the business with which they work.  In most cases I believe this is due to the fact that the environment is one where preconceived biases are acting to (in effect) “pigeon-hole” people.  These biases can serve to restrict engagement or to protect people who might appear to be doing a good job but who aren’t.

Imagine, if you will, what would happen if you took a really gutsy, positive and proactive step with your people and found out the following:

  • what are their strengths?
  • where do their real abilities lie?
  • how do they approach lots of things (challenges, people, systems, tasks, themselves)?
  • which is the best way to communicate with them?
  • what are you doing that is holding them back?

Once you had found this out, you will be able to truly engage them with their role and they will then be able to make an incredibly positive contribution to their fellow team mates which then flows on to your business.

One of the other things that came up in our discussion was the fact that the customers of this business were providing incredibly positive feedback to the MD about this person’s job performance.  In effect, the level of trust they have in the business has increased significantly since they had taken on their role.  Wouldn’t you love your customers to say that about your people?

I applaud our customer for having the trust in themselves to trust the person they have promoted – this was so far outside the realms of possibility before we did the Trimetrix that it would have been laughed at.

The results are there to see – improved performance, singificantly higher engagement, better results, happier team (the whole team) and a less-stressed MD. 

If you’re prepared to engage people in your business, why not have the guts to invest in them to find out where and how they can make a seriously positive contribution to your efforts?  You might just be amazed at the results you do get.

I have long been a firm believer in recruiting great people, providing them with the tools, support and environment to let them excel and then getting the hell out of their way.  If you’re interested in some of the thinking behind this approach, have a look at Marcus Buckingham’s video here or the Employee Engagement video here.

As I say to all of my crew – if you’re good enough to employ, you’re good enough to trust. 

Many business owners and managers feel that they aren’t doing their jobs unless they are micro-managing their team.  This is bullshit.  Our job is as detailed above then to set them free.

Do you have the guts to do this?  If you’re willing to challenge some of your own thinking and help get your people on a  track that delivers outstanding results, give me a call.  What have you got to lose (apart from stress, unhappy and dis-engaged staff, un-satisfied customers and a whole pile of issues)?

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  • Reply

    Neat post!

    I am reminded of this – The task of leadership is to confront people with their freedom to choose.

  • Clare Linane

    HI Matt I’d like to learn some more about Trimetrix…

    • Reply

      Hi Clare,

      Give the office a call and tee up a time – I can run you through the structure, how it works and explain the validation processes that have been undertaken on Trimetrix (it is amazing!).

      It is a tool that we’re using more and more internally and with our customers to really get to the issues that managers and staff confront and steer a way through them to deliver exceptional results.


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