Absentee Management

This is about how your employees, staff, workers, come in every day, do their jobs, and save your business because you rarely, or don’t show up for work – or if you do, you only hang out in your office and drift in/drift out without so much as a hello or goodbye. (Not to mention you’re barely taking the pulse of your business).

You, business owner, are a complete jerk. Thankfully, you have people around who care more than you.

You. Do. Not. Deserve. Them.

Last night I watched an episode of The Profit, Amazing Grapes, about turning around a wine store/bar.

I could say, well I’m traveling and I watch reality TV when I have nothing else to do in the evening. Actually this reality show is worth watching. This guy looks at the bottom line and listens to the staff. I like that.

Absentee management abounds not only in this episode, but in others I’ve watched. Sad commentary on the state of small business.

But it happens in big companies too. Managers not showing up for work, much less meeting with their direct-reports on a regular basis creates stress (employees need decision-makers sometimes), creates animosity/fear, and is just plain is heinous.

But back to Amazing Grapes. Awesome, experienced and caring staff kept that place going. Marcus Limonis (aka The Profit), came in at the request of the [absentee] owner. He talked to the staff and got an earful. They care, and are treated like crap. Yet they keep working…for the owner.

For an exchange of $300-grand and 51% ownership, Limonis not only put hard cash into the business in the form of a major remodel, but made the staff owners. Twenty-five percent.

The other thing Limonis did was (in exchange for cash), was reduce the absentee owners’ shares to 24 percent. The people doing the work had the leverage to make decisions that made sense – because they understood the business.

In my line of business – working with agencies and marketing departments to work better, smarter – I see it every day. Creatives, Account, Production, Planning, name your department – are the ones making sure work gets done every day.

And every day, there is a CEO, Partner, VP, Director, Manager – who is absent. Then miraculously, one day they show up and f*ck things up.

Why? Because they don’t know what’s going on in their business.

So, when I enter an agency or marketing department, the first thing I do is talk to the people doing the work. If they’re not fearful (that’s for another post), they’ll not only tell me what they do every day, and they'll show pride in their work; but they’ll tell me about all the roadblocks along the way, how they work around them, and about all the wasted time spent (ALL NON-BILLABLE) because their manager is absent.

Not every employee gets the opportunity to own 25 percent of the business. I always tell everyone that they all own the business.

Too bad management doesn’t get that.

Now, Mr./Ms. owner, VP, CEO, Partner, go and thank your employees for keeping you in a Beamer.

And just show up for work regularly and talk to your team. They're awesome.