The Puppy Paradigm

Ahhhh, puppies…adorable, cuddly little bundles. You’ve been imaging all the joy that sweet little thing will bring into your life. Puppy breath, a playful bouncing ball of energy, innocent curiosity, stumbles and tumbles. And then reality sets in. Accidents in the house. Sleepless nights of lonely whining. Your favorite shoes destroyed. Permanent scars from razor sharp teeth.

The work begins. A good dog is a trained dog!

To get rid of the puppy chaos there must be structure. Structure requires preparation, planning, and consistency. The whole family must buy into the plan and commit to do their part. If just one person isn’t paying attention, inevitably there will be a mess to clean up and a lesson to be retaught. However, in time, that training pays off. The pup soon looks to you as his fair, dependable, and beloved leader; you end up with a mature, self-regulated, well-behaved pet.

The same is true in business. As your business grows and changes there is constant chaos. The micromanagement necessary in the beginning too often becomes the long-term solution and inevitably leads to poor performance of the team, overworked leaders, dissatisfied customers/clients, and loss in revenue and profitability. To calm the chaos, there are three changes that must be implemented:

  1. Clarify expectations. Set aside time with each of your employees to create a written job description. It is amazing to see the ownership and empowerment this simple process brings!
  2. Proper training. If you ever want to let go, this is crucial. Training takes time, but it is money in your pocket. A well-trained employee frees up your time to be able to focus on the bigger picture and take the next steps to stabilize and grow your company. It also builds respect and trust.
  3. Accountability—staying focused on agreed-to goals. Hold weekly meetings for brief updates, then monthly and quarterly performance reviews for more comprehensive reviews, clarification and refining goals. This keeps you in the loop on the important things happening in your company without having to stand over people’s shoulders every minute of every day.

Did you know that the reason a great majority of dogs are surrendered to shelters is that they have become an uncontrollable nuisance? It isn’t their fault—their owners simply wouldn’t put in the necessary time and energy. In the same way, a company in chaos will never be successful in the long run. The larger it grows, the more unstable it becomes until sooner or later, it implodes.

Carve out some consistent time to clarify expectations, train adequately and consistently, and keep everyone focused on the end goal. You will see amazing changes in your employees, in your company, and even in yourself.

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