I’ve recently reread a fantastic book that has helped me tremendously over the years by helping me reduce my workload while building the morale of my team. It is a great follow up to the acclaimed “E-Myth Revisited” that I reviewed earlier. “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey” by Ken Blanchard and others, is a fast and memorable read. Given the subject matter, the time you spend reading it should be paid back numerous times over if you put it into action in your business.
The monkey in the book is simply a task or project, with the underlying lesson being that all tasks and projects require ownership and supervision.
From the Amazon.com summary:
“When a person goes to the boss with a problem and the boss agrees to do something about it, the monkey is off his back and onto the boss’s. How can managers avoid these leaping monkeys? Here is priceless advice from three famous experts: how managers can meet their own priorities, give back other people’s monkeys, and let them solve their own problems.”
As an example an employee of a small company identifies a problem and immediately passes it to the business owner who takes on the problem and offers a solution. Instead of this, when the owner properly manages monkeys it happens this way: The employee identifies a problem and offers a solution and the small business owner approves the solution or recommends an alternative.
By following some very simple processes I can easily optimize my time and also give staff more responsibility and motivation. Below are the main points I got from the book:
The rules for monkey management are pretty straightforward
There are four rules you should follow in full when managing a monkey.
- Rule #1 – Assign the monkey to the person who is at the minimum level but also qualified to handle it.
- Rule #2 – Make sure that expected risks are identified and covered. Based on the level of risk Blanchard identified two “Monkey Insurance Policies”
Recommend, and then act. If there is high risk the employee should recommend, get approval from the business owner or manager and then act.
Act, and then advise If there is little risk, the employee can act and then advise the business owner or manager of the results. As employees get more proficient in their tasks these opportunities will happen more; however, the responsibility has to be delegated from the appropriate level of authority to ensure safety.
- Rule #3 – The next steps need to be communicated and agreed to.
- Rule #4 – Follow up regularly as appropriate given the urgency and risk
Managers should only delegate when they are confident that:
- The project is on the right track and staff know what has to be done. Don’t pass off a ticking bomb.
- Their people can successfully handle the project on their own. Don’t set anyone up for failure.
- That costs, timing, quantity and quality are acceptable. Don’t delegate unless it makes sense to do so.
- That there is commitment from staff. They must believe in what they are being asked to do.
There are three types of organization time
- It’s important that your team understand the three types of organizational time, so they can better prioritize and manage their time.
- Boss-imposed time: Examples of boss imposed time include doing chargeable work, preparing a brief report, or planning a job.
- System-imposed time: Administrative imposed time such as replying to emails, taking calls, meetings, etc. This is probably the most important because it is the time that you actually choose your own monkeys, even if the monkeys are other people’s monkeys that you accepted.
“The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey”, is a must read for any small business owner especially when paired with “E-Myth Revisited” and when implemented can free up significant amounts of time to spend doing the things that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time to do.
The Shared Finance Center provides outsourced accounting, bookkeeping and fractional CFO support to small business owners and in doing so we heavily focus on maximizing cash flow. We are headquartered in Roswell, Georgia and work with clients across the United States. If you think that this post would be helpful to anyone you know, please pass it along. Also please follow our blog for regular tips to grow your business.