Four Myths of Growth, Myth #2: High Growth Companies Need To Be Controlled From the Top

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Mont Phelps is president and CEO at NWN, and Jane Linder is Managing Director at NWN, a CRN Fast Growth IT solution provider.

Last Wednesday, we discussed how no company can be expected to make the right decisions all of the time. What's important is how a bad decision is handled and corrected. Today, we're looking at the myth that top execs need to be involved in every decision, a condition often derisively referred to as micromanagement. Let's look at the following scenario.

The chief executive officer was fuming. He had asked his vice president of sales to fire a particularly annoying sales rep and there the guy was on the first tee in the company's annual golf outing. The CEO buttonholed his VP in the clubhouse afterwards, well within earshot of several other members of the management team, and gave him a humiliating on-the-spot performance review.

What’s wrong with this picture? The CEO may be absolutely right about the sales rep, but his approach tells us more about him than the employee. His need to reach down into the organization and micro manage creates an environment that is absolutely toxic to growth. This executive has made the big mistake: He has failed to realize that succeeding in business is a team sport. Instead of giving his best players the authority, responsibility and support to run with the ball, he has encouraged them to stand still and wait for his direction. In the end, with all decisions and control trickling up to the top, the tyrant will get what he asks for, but he won’t get what he wants…. sustained profitable growth.

NWN executives recognize that empowered employees who are allowed to operate freely will pour their own hearts and souls into the company. Things may not get done exactly as the executives would choose, but the result of working together to make an impact will be far more successful, satisfying and rewarding for everyone.

Next Wednesday: Dealing with myths involving vendor partners

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