First Things First!

Feb. 15, 2014
Having focus and understanding what is relevant for the business is not always easy. But it is certainly worth striving for it.

I once had a pleasure to work in a management team of a European SME.  We had our monthly “executive committee meeting.” Taking the whole day!

During these meetings more than once our CEO took up the issue how we should handle our emails. All of us had (required by our CEO) our own personal assistants (yes, go ahead read it again, if you didn’t believe what you just read).

The CEO insisted that each personal assistant should categorize our emails for each of us. And he was convinced there was only one way to do the task!

By the way, this “executive committee” had 10 members, I think a bit oversized for a company that made about 200mio in sales!

I have learned to know CFOs of sizeable SMEs, who have never attended to any annual sales meetings, despite the fact that their company had some challenges in their balance sheet directly stemming from the sales.

In another case the SME management team, comprising of several members, including the human resources manager. The CEO of the company insisted that in production related machine investments the human resources manager should also give her consent. If she was against it, there was no investment!

The question I raised, with all due respect, why on earth a person who has no education, no experience whatsoever in production related issues has to give her opinion. She also thought it was an over kill. Nevertheless she had to use her time to read the related documents and assess the reasonability of fixed asset investment.

Putting first things first and making issues just as important as they should be, not more, is a good skill to learn. Bothering your employees with completely irrelevant tasks undermines leaders delegation capabilities.

There is certainly for all of us something to learn in daily life, however in an SME wasting time equals loosing money.

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