This is one of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes. When I first read this I asked myself the question, “If management is not full time work, then what is it?”
You might want to ask the following two questions:
1. Do I spend all of my time at work managing?
2. If I don’t, what is it that I do when I’m not managing?
I’m hoping that you’ve come up with a thought that is something like this: I don’t spend all of my time managing. That’s a good thing because I have time to actually do the things that I’m supposed to manage as well.
If you’re a sales manager do you have your own book of business? If you’re a plant manager do you spend time on the floor doing work and observing how your factory runs? Or, are you the type of manager that stays in your office?
It’s all about being where the action happens.
When I owned my vending company I would often wander around our headquarters and ask people why they were in the building. My belief was and still is that nothing of any use ever happened inside our building. Customers were outside and that’s where we should spend our time.
For you, I would suggest that you start thinking about where the action is in your company. That’s where you should spend your time. I know that nothing good happens unless I’m with a customer. What about you, where do you spend your time?
Managing is about systems development.
Managers should (I hate the word should) concentrate on making the output from their area of responsibility better. For me, and I hope for you, this means you’re constantly running experiments.
If you’re not in the field there is no way for you to know if your experiments are working. It’s all about trying and then evaluating whether the try is having a positive or negative effect. If it’s positive then you want to find a way to make the change permanent. If it’s not, then you’ll want to move on to your next idea and move on quickly.
The problem I see with smaller businesses is there is almost no effort put into systems development. The way things are done happens but no one really knows why. We don’t do a good job of documenting when things work. Documenting is about making a service or product you deliver predictable. We really do want to have our customers know what to expect.
When you manage, you don’t want it to be urgent.
If your management activities are urgent, you’re likely to be spending way too much time managing. If your management activities are urgent this means you have a problem on your hands.
Good managers are able to spend time thinking and planning because they’ve developed systems that make their business boring. The more boring, the more time you’ll have to do things that are important, but not urgent. That’s your goal; be a part time manager and spend time making life better for those around you.
We’ve put together a mind map that helps you understand four roles many owners play in their business. This mind map will help you understand that all four roles are important and need to be used in their proper place. To get this mind map, click on the button below.