Micromanagement of Pedantic-Perfection
"Don't micromanage!" the books always say. "Micromanagement will strangle your business!"
You'll stifle your team, foster a climate of fear and, to put it bluntly, you'll make everyone miserable.
But it's actually a powerful secret weapon if deployed correctly. The problem is, most people are doing it all wrong!
They also do it for the wrong reasons - because they don't know any better, rather than because they've made a conscious business decision that, yes, in some cases, carefully implemented micromanagement can be very useful indeed.
Does that mean you should start hovering? Advising how to move the mouse in a more efficient way, or asking your people to drop you an email after every phone call? Should you be timing toilet breaks and insisting on reading detailed minutes of every meeting whether you were there or not?
Of course not - your people need to be empowered to do great work. They are almost certainly able to do it way better than you can, and you will just slow them down, and drive them away. Enter "Strategic Micromanagement".
Strategic Micromanagement usually lasts for a very short period of time, in respect of a very specific task or project.
A good example is when you start working with a new supplier or team member working on an important and challenging task. Nobody can magically "get" what you really want first time, every time: so some effort in the beginning, drilling down to the minutiae of each detail may feel painful at first but will help you to a) set a standard and principal for how you would like future projects to be handled, and b) allow you to judge whether you can let go a bit more for the next one.
It helps you gain confidence in the supplier or team member, and it helps them to gain confidence that they understand what you're looking for and can channel their skills, experience and efforts into doing great work rather than guessing what's needed all the time.
Strategic Pedantry is the close friend of Strategic Micromanagement. Once you're confident that micromanagement is no longer necessary, it's still important to be clear about your vision, values and to offer guidance, without being all over everyone. You can't be everywhere at once, and would be a nuisance if you were. You can't answer every question that comes into someone's mind, and you can't be part of every discussion that goes on in your business. So instead, when you are part of a conversation, I think it's important to challenge even the slightest indication that someone isn't thinking about things the way you'd like.
It can seem like you're making a big deal out of a small point, but by being specific and clear, you give your team the best chance to make their own decisions based on a joint vision.
It will make people's lives easier in the long-run.
Conversely, if you just let every little comment slide, these slight misunderstandings gain momentum: "Well, I mentioned it when Simon was here, and he didn't say it was a problem."
It's so difficult to convey your vision, your company ethos. It's a challenge business owners and managers have always had, and probably always will. How do you get across to your staff, suppliers and customers the intrinsic essence of your vision? The way you want things done, the way you think and the way you want to be perceived? One way is to consistently - but positively - make people aware when you notice the tiny things that people say or do which indicate they haven't quite got it yet. It's almost certainly your fault rather than theirs! So be honest and clear, but respectful. Say "Well, that isn't QUITE right... this is the way we should really think about it".
The skill to Strategic Micromanagement and Pedantry is to explain yourself. Make your people aware of what you're going to do, and why you're doing it. Don't just say "That's wrong" say "That's wrong because....". This will help them to not just follow your train of thought, but to understand it and - hopefully - to be able to predict what you need before you even ask for it.
P.S. If your a pedant, leave a comment with you're pet hates - the small nothings that literally make you explode :-)