There are thousands of books written about management, I’ve read more than I’ll ever be willing to admit, but I will sum them all up for you in one line:
The only thing separating a good manager from a bad manager is the amount of information they have to make good business decisions.
There. I’ve just saved you years worth of studying. You’re welcome.
The problem with getting the good information about your business is that the people that have the best information are the ones that spend the most time with the clients: they know all the challenges, they spot all the opportunities and they have the rapport and trust of the client that is absolutely priceless. They also happen to be terrible at documenting all this because there is no incentive for them to pass on the knowledge, they are there to do the job. When your management process interferes with their ability to do their job… well, there is a term for that: Corporate Bureaucracy. Or slightly less offensive terms like CRM & ERP.
Things are a little bit different in SMB. Which is why the big boys can never enter the SMB space: They try to solve the problems that managers have instead of helping the people that actually do the job. I am not knocking that in the slightest, in fact, I am jealous and hateful: those solutions cost a ton of money because they sell to the people with money. There is only one problem:
…running a business based on those solutions is kind of like trying to lay tile on sand, it looks great from the top but the second you step on it you sink.
In order to manage everything sensibly.. everyone needs to have input. Not just top down but bottom up too.
Here is stuff that we’re adding to Shockey Monkey in February: Goals, Achievements and Reprimands.
Key here is that the system is managed by everyone. It’s not just about the managers uploading goals and reprimands into an arcane HR software that will only be looked at the day you need to print out a reason to fire someone. It’s about transparency.
Managers will enter the goals and employees will enter accomplishments.
This way the career management becomes an arcade game of who is more obsessive. If employees are shown how they will be compensated and are given the power to visualize how they go from $ to $$ to $$$ in their career, there is a clear incentive of what needs to happen.
Compensate good behavior. Terminate bad behavior. The end.
Shockey Monkey Beyond IT
While Shockey Monkey may have had it’s humble beginnings as my side project to help thousands of my partners without an effective way to organize and bill for services, no what those same partners are selling Shockey Monkey to their clients.. there is a need to adapt to the reality that most businesses do not have a single workspace.
So in February we’re adding the ability to create multiple service boards. Each has it’s own tickets, it’s own rules, it’s own SLA, it’s own management and soon it’s own ACL (access control levels)… but initially the choice is simple: Is this a board we will use to correspond with our clients or is this the board we will use to manage internal company stuff like projects, case work, research, etc?
Looks pretty simple, right?
The Beef With Vendors
Small business is also different from the Fortune 500 in the level of dependence on third party vendors. Most of us don’t have entire departments built for the sole purpose of not paying people on time: purchasing, procurement, etc. If you’ve ever worked with Fortune 500 or Government you know that getting paid by those organizations is harder than landing on the moon. The problem in small business is that so much time goes to focus on the clients that pay the bill that too little is left to work with vendors efficiently:
Quick, how do you get the credentials for your vendors shopping cart? How about a password reset link when your admin tries to make a change for you? Where do you retrieve invoices? Who is your sales rep at the company you haven’t ordered anything from in the past 6 months? Where is their LinkedIn account? How about our contract – you know, the one signed 3 years ago – wanna guess which filing cabinet that thing is in? The answer to all these questions is obtained the same way: Search Outlook. Timeout. Timeout. Crash. Restart. Repair. Timeout. Whitescreen. Reboot. Repeat.
This vendor section is pretty much the most ambitious piece of our Spring update and I really cannot wait to get my hands on it. If I’m right, this will virtualize me to the point where I will just be able to leave a FatHead in my office smiling at the door while I ride around all day and let the others do the work that I would otherwise have to be involved in.
Every business.. and every employee at every business.. looks at their useless pointy haired boss as a scatterbrained bowl of insanity making random business decisions while genius employees have their genius ideas discounted.
Shockey Monkey is fixing that for businesses worldwide. And people love us for it.