The Two Sides of Micromanaging

On almost every list of Gold stresses are the issues of being told what to do, too much supervision or not enough trust to get the job done. All of these are different ways of expressing their strong dislike of others who micromanage Golds. Yet when they’re asked to put themselves in the roll of a manager, they grudgingly admit this trait is something they’re likely to do to others. Why? Well, often Golds don’t trust others to do the same quality job that they would do. While it’s more complex, Golds generally live in a world of businesses where they seldom feel service is up to par, promises are kept and advertising slogans aren’t ever based on real experiences.

A number of years ago, I contracted with a car dealer to turn-around their almost non-existent finance department. (My pre-Colors life was finance, credit, banking, etc.) While I loved a challenge, I also realized immediately that the high Gold owner and I would clash – hence a contract for only 60 days (I know Colors – he didn’t and still doesn’t). The reason he needed help was obvious. The dealership was unable to get financing approved for over 40% of their written deals!

No financing meant no sale, which meant no profit – simple as that. In my first month, it was down to two non financeable on more than 60 sales. 22 more vehicles were sold at a profit of over $50,000 for the month! Yet meeting after meeting continued to harp on the fact that the dealer insisted on hourly updates, that I still refused to attach his eight hanging folder basket things on my office wall, that the finance offices really shouldn’t be painted, and that an additional file cabinet wasn’t necessary. Needless to say, day 60 couldn’t come soon enough.

Is this an isolated example and too extreme or far-fetched? No way! I get the chance to talk to thousands of people a year and you’d be stunned how often these Gold stresses lead to turnover. In this case, it sure didn’t make much sense to choose “his way” over a proven half-million dollars in profits a year.

Yet I wonder how often we force other Colors to do things exactly the way we want them to? I wonder how much energy we spend training people to do things “our” way instead of just training them on the tools, resources and ways to get it done? Does it matter exactly how they do it, as long as it gets done on-time and accurate? Is it about the journey or the destination?

That question always makes me wonder how many companies have huge and needless turnover that can easily be prevented with a three-hour Colors seminar and a half hour of reading the Colors at Work book. But then – you don’t know what you don’t know – and if we always do what we’ve always done – we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten.