Success with Risk Takers and Mavericks.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Wednesday, 3rd November 2010
Creating the right attitude is paramount to structuring an environment of success, getting your employees to work with you and join in the search for better ideas, new methodology and higher profitability will transform your company from passive individualists to intelligent action takers and change agents.

You need "Risk Takers." You need "Mavericks." Identify every employee in that category and empower him or her to go out and get the job done. So what if they bend the rules sometimes. As long as they don't break the law, violate corporate core values or embarrass the company, "Turn Them Loose." You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

The employees will see this as a demonstration of trust and empowerment. Word will travel fast. Promote that concept. Send a monthly memo to everyone praising individuality that result in improvements. Title your memo, "OFF the CUFF" for it's informal straight talking honest feedback from the top. 

Reward and recognize the risk takers. Commend the change agents. Then align both management and the employees behind the new vision.  Support this new environment by sharing the new vision, departmental goals and strategic initiatives.

Publish the minutes of every executive meeting that is held. Hold nothing back short of personal issues. Be proud and announce the fact that there will no longer be secrets held under close cover behind the doors of the executive staff.


Educate your managers and supervisors for their new role in this new environment. Do not tolerate deception or deviation from attitude or your new structure. Teach them to be coaches, mentors and transmitters of directions.

Educate line employees to make them know they are part of the plan, part of the new way. Teach them new skills for self-management, planning, team building, goal setting, risk taking, conflict resolution and negotiating. Show them you care. That's all part of structuring an environment.

Create a mental picture of what the company is all about; where you want to go and how you are going to get there. This is the vision for the company. It does not reflect the personal idiosyncrasy of the CEO. It has a broad base of support and buy-in from the employees.

Micro Management Demotivates Mavericks and Risk Takers

The easiest way to suppress discretionary energy, the energy given willingly – no matter what it takes, is a style of micro management that scrutinizes every decision an employee makes. It can kill their spirit. It destroys trust.

If any of your employees even joke about you being a micro manager - back off.  Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Micro managing may make you feel in control but in reality you are only hurting yourself and the company. It only limits an employee's ability to be innovative and creative.

This can cost the company thousands of dollars because it is the creativity and innovation of your employees that maximize the profitability of your company.

Micro Management is a Symptom

Micro Management is often just a symptom of ineffective planning, too much compassion and the inability to judge performance and develop bench strength.

Developing a strategic plan for your company is a very effective way to address any or all of these challenges. I often tell my clients that the most valuable part of a strategic plan is the development process itself. Running a company with a shoot from the hip mentality often encourages micro management and does not allow employees to develop their skills and maximize their potential.

One of the many warning signs is a high turnover rate. The reason is simple; good employees just won't tolerate micro management and they will leave to find employment that will challenge them and help them grow. E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com for ten tips to avoid micro management.

It's about Leadership

Simply put, effective leaders don't micro manage. In fact, they cringe at the thought of it. Why? Because they recognize that one of their primary responsibilities is the development of future leaders for the organization. You just can't develop future leaders by micro managing.

Consistency and Fairness

To create the proper attitude and structure an environment conducive to survival, growth and success, you must treat employees the way you would want to be treated. You must be a proponent of openness. You must be sensitive to their needs. You must understand the initial shock and the healing that must take place in the organization as a result of contingency planning/restructuring.

A cosmic truth states that you must give before you receive. Mandating new rules, stipulations, threats and unreasonable demands does not promote unity or trust. It is destructive to the kind of attitude required to succeed. Employee consideration and input is absolutely essential to structuring a new environment. You need employee support, trust and respect. But, you must give before you get.

As a leader, you must know when to lead and when to listen before acting. Empowering employees allows them to use their own initiative, their own creativity and figure out things you'd never imagine they could accomplish.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.  Don't forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.

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