[Management] Get the Basics Right When Employees Don’t Give a Damn (Part 2)

This 3-part series of articles was inspired by a query from one of my mentees, who works in a highly competitive environment with high levels of self-interest and staff turnover.

Stresses and demoralized, he asked: What does it take to get the right team together?

I already covered the importance of hiring based on shared values. Now it’s time for the nitty gritty: how do you organize a team so that leadership can flourish and responsibilities are truly shared?


#2 Let your team manage each other – and you!

Here’s what I mean…

When we were doing fundraising for large investment projects, we needed a team of 3–4 consultants, covering different skills:

  1. Developing the strategy and the plan of the project (a more senior role)
  2. Drafting the feasibility study or business plan (the descriptive part)
  3. Developing financial projections (requires both advanced Excel and financial skills)
  4. Doing market research (can be done by a junior consultant)
  5. Coordinating everyone involved in the project (or putting the entire file together)

We also needed technical consultants we could subcontract for each project, because different technical expertise is required for each project.

Given the number of people involved – our own staff, outside consultants, bank representatives and client representatives – someone had to coordinate. This project manager could be any of my team members covering the first three tasks mentioned above.

So the financials person might act as project manager on one project; the others are then “resources” in the project; i.e. working under her coordination. Conversely, she would be a resource for another project, being coordinated by, say, whoever drafts the business plan.

Although there is a clear person responsible for each project, it is a team effort. Everyone helps each other and they all work towards meeting the objectives of the team.

The project manager doesn’t have to be more senior than the members of the team! The most senior consultant can work as a “resource” under a more junior consultant who manages the project. In fact, this is the case most often in my business right now, where I am a “resource” for most projects.

So for each task (such as managing the blog or our YouTube channel, Email Marketing, running events), we have one person in charge. That person is less senior than me, yet they tell me what to do. They ask me, for example, to draft an email for a new campaign within 24 hours – because they need my specific expertise and input to complete that task.

In other words, my team manages me.

How are you coordinating your projects? Could you try this technique? Share your thoughts and ideas below.

Next up… Tip #3: Be on top of things without needing to be in the office every day