An owner’s dispatches from the front lines.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is struggling to find a production manager to run his small factory. The conversation brought back painful memories of my own struggles, many years ago, to find someone to oversee my factory.
At the time, I was trying to delegate so I could move on to working on the business instead of in the business. These were not the good, old days. I was in my early 30s, and the company was growing quickly, perhaps too quickly. Things were out of control. I worked long hours, had constant problems, was stressed out all day — and I was going through production managers the way Elizabeth Taylor went through husbands.
In one four-year period, I went through eight. Their tenures lasted anywhere from three weeks to a year. Believe me, as I write this, it sounds as nuts to me as I’m sure it does to you. But I learned three very important lessons that turned the situation around completely — and I do mean completely. My current production manager has been with me for more than 15 years, and his predecessor was here for five years. My factory is a well-oiled machine, and I do very little of the oiling.
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