Unfortunately, there is the common problem of managers being control-freaks, forcing all processes to run through them – sometimes, this bottlenecks workflow, and causes the company to move sluggishly or break down. Another similar but far more subtle problem is when management limits the emotional excitement of the company and excludes their team.
Today, I’m spending the day setting up our new Brantford office. It’s an exciting time, because it means growth and prosperity for our company. And it would be very typical for me as an employer to speak to clients and potential clients about it. However, all that positive emotional energy is wasted if it isn’t shared with the employees who made it possible to grow, or giving them some input and control over the growth of the company.
I’m happy to say that our new Brantford branch was the unplanned brainchild of our staff – we were growing at a quick clip and had quickly grown to capacity at our Cambridge branch, and our Pointe-Claire office was struggling to accept more assignments – so in one of our team meetings discussing the enviable problem of too much business flowing in, we discussed options. Some suggestions in our meeting included co-opting another 4000 square feet in the office building in Cambridge we occupy, parachuting staff into Pointe-Claire to help with growth, and several other options, before a contingent of our staff who commute from Brantford suggested a local branch in their local town 35 km away. This wasn’t part of our long-term business plan, as we have a projected branch in Sarnia for 2015, but it was a sound suggestion that would deal with our immediate needs -- aside from the cost of commercial office space being low, Brantford has a number of collection and call centre businesses and experienced staff to draw from, and it was close enough to launch quickly.
Members of our team not only suggested the idea, they canvassed real estate agencies, found the office, and set the appointment to view the location that we ultimately acquired. Naturally, they are excited that we are opening this office, and not just for the reduced commute to work, but because they are emotionally invested in the company. One of Receivables Managers making the move is Cheryl Fraser, and she has been with the company since we launched the Cambridge office three years ago. This has a definite sense of déjà vu for her and myself. We haven’t segmented the Brantford office, or parachuted in an arbitrary manager from outside – that would be totally out of the question, because it wouldn’t capture the enthusiasm and commitment of Cheryl and other members of our team.
So, once all the networking is done, the furniture is delivered, and everything is tested, we’ll be moving our Brantford staff to the new location, and giving them the challenge of managing our third branch. It’s an exciting time for us as a company, but it’s especially exciting for the people who brainstormed and launched the idea, and are being given the reigns to make something great in the city of Brantford. Rather than isolate this project to the directors of the company, it’s being handed mostly in total to the team.
While not all managers or business owners reading this blog are having the unique launching new office locations, I’d be happy to talk about team building and emotionally rewarding team members, and allowing positive change and agile management by individuals. Feel free to drop me a line or an email to talk.
KINGSTON Data and Credit