June 9, 2010

There is one management principle that never fails to deliver. It is - "whenever faced with a critical situation demanding urgent action, think that you are the owner and think of what all you will do if your personal money is involved."

Two instances, in last few days, have demonstrated that managers can solve a problem faster and more effectively if they think of business problems as their personal problems and show the same kind of urgency they would when their own business or money is involved.

One mechanical billboard was malfunctioning since a couple of month for which the company was paying a monthly rental of Rs 4 lacs. Despite efforts from the various company personnel and agency, it was not getting properly rectified. Then a senior colleague told the company personnel entrusted with the job of getting it rectified to think that every month Rs 4 lacs is going from his pocket rather than company's pocket for the faulty billboard and asked him to do all he could if it were his money. The billboard got rectified in 2 days time!!

There was an outstanding recovery problem involving Rs 20 lacs. Somehow it was getting dragged for last 10 months. Nobody was taking as much interest in solving this problem as the gravity of the situation required. Then the same senior colleague gave his evergreen mantra to the sales manager - think that Rs 20 lacs is your money and what all would you do to recover it. Last heard, a chain reaction of actions took place to understand all aspects of the problem and evaluate all possible options to recover money!

The point I want to make is that this approach works. The moment one thinks that it is my money or it is my business, a sense of urgency sets in that helps in quicker decision making and problem solving. Any manager would do well to consider business problems as their own problems and then think of ways to solve them had this problem been their own. It would not be an exaggeration to say that outstanding managers view business problems by putting themselves in owner's shoes and responding like an owner.

Miracle happens when a manager thinks like an owner!