You have a dozen chances every day to change something fundamental in your business. It happens every time you delegate work to a member of your staff: do you manage by agreement or by accident?
The phrase “management by agreement” is a rather staid way to describe one quality of a great leader. It’s more about expressing passion and care for something you want, and making and keeping an emotional connection with the heart of your employee, who, out of their own self-interest in being creative and inspired in their work, wants to do something great.
Start by being clear with what you want and why you want it. Clear doesn’t mean harsh and doesn’t necessarily have metrics, it just means clear. If the task at hand is important to you, you’ll take the time to make sure you get that across. If you’re in a hurry, schedule a follow up meeting. Everything starts with your employee having a chance to “take in” the assignment, and ask questions to avoid rework later.
Then you have to track the status of what’s going on. You have to learn how to do this through intuition – not by micromanaging. Trust your judgment and when you feel an opening, a simple “how’s it going on that project?” or “Do you need any help with that?” is all you need. A two minute conversation might course correct the project and save you two weeks.
Sometimes new information arises and you have to make an exception to the agreement you made. A shift in priorities extends the deadline, market research dictates a pricing change, etc., and a new goal needs to be agreed upon. It’s an organic process. This doesn’t mean being wishy-washy, it means feeling when to keep pushing and when to change course.
Management by Agreement can become as natural as breathing. When it does, you get to delegate increasingly more important things and trust that the results will be beyond your expectations.