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The Worst Business Advice EVER!

What is the worst business advice ever?

“Hire great people, and set them free to do their work.”


This advice has caused so much harm to so many companies. Not because it is incorrect, but because it is incomplete. This ill-conceived advice literally sets the newbie entrepreneur up for decades of unnecessary stress, frustration, and failure.

Certainly, you need to hire GREAT people. That is a given. Who does not want that?

But, setting them free, and nothing more, sets in motion a cascading series of problems that eventually impacts quality, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, sustainability, and growth. It prevents practically every good thing related to owning a thriving, healthy, profitable and valuable business.

Here’s why…

The only reason you hire an employee is because you cannot do the work yourself. You need help. You need specific skills. You need people to be an extension of yourself.

How many times have you said to yourself with a bit of exasperation and perspiration, “If there were only two of me!”  When you get to the breaking point you hire your first employee. Usually it does not work out, so you try again, and sometimes again and again. Finally, you find the perfect GREAT person. You breath a sigh of relief, and you set them free.

From that moment on you are lulled into a false sense of security, until it is too late.

Your great employee really is GREAT. In fact, they might be so great that they take over the delegated function so completely that they own it. Your company’s knowledge is now theirs.

Beware of Knowledge Silos

What do they say about knowledge? 
That’s right, knowledge is power.

Hiring GREAT people and setting them free creates a dangerous knowledge silo in your organization. Your company becomes overly dependent on that specific person performing that specific work. You start to worry what will happen to the quality of your products, customer satisfaction, and your company’s ability to grow if they leave, or get sick. How will your business continue without them?

It gets worse…

Your GREAT employee begins to realize how dependent you are on them. They understand that their knowledge is their source of power. Many go from being a simple knowledge silo, to being a conscious knowledge hoarder. The worst of them start to hold your company hostage with unreasonable demands. The balance of power shifts. You begin to wonder who works for whom?

It gets even worse…

Your GREAT employee is stuck in a job-trap. It might be a job-trap of their own making, but it is the one that you set, when you set them free. 

You are now so dependent on your employee performing that same (boring) job that they cannot be promoted. You want to promote them. They deserve to be promoted. After all, they are GREAT, but you need them to remain performing that critical work, that only they can perform.

What happens next?  Your great, deserving, and maybe at this point, unhappy employee becomes frustrated, and angry, when you hire others to perform that interesting new job that they wanted. They start looking for opportunities outside your company. Then, the unthinkable happens… they leave.

It takes you months to recover. Not only do you have to find another GREAT person to replace them, but you have to recreate the wheel, and reinvent the knowledge they took with them… maybe to a competitor.

Now, multiply your problem by the number of employees you have in similar job-traps. As your business grows the constant revolving door becomes a constant drag on growth, innovation, and success. The cost of losing employees, finding replacements, and recreating the wheel, hurts your bottom line. The stress of losing employees takes a toll on you and everyone else.

You wonder where did it all go wrong.  Think, think, think….  Auch!  That horrible advice. “Hire GREAT people and set them free. You simply did what everyone advised you to do.

Delegate responsibility, responsibly

The ManageHub Accelerator suggests that you change that age-old and ill-conceived advise to: Hire GREAT people and delegate responsibility, responsibly.

By using this approach you still set your employees free. However, you also set them up for long-term success by establishing the expectation that they:

(1) Document the know-how of performing their work

(2) Manage the continuous improvement of their work. 

(3) Update and share the knowledge of performing their work.

Add in a heavy dose of support, oversight, accountability and transparency, and you are golden.

When you hire GREAT people and delegate responsibility, responsibly you receive a windfall of benefits:

-Increased employee satisfaction.

-Employees who are free to move up and around your organization.

-Reduced number, and severity of bottlenecks.

-A positive company culture.

-Retained control, and a healthy “balance of power.”

-Increased value of your business.

-Ability to hire at the bottom and promote to the top.

-A valuable, organic employee-powered continuous improvement cycle.

If you are a manager or leader interested in learning how you can use the ManageHub method to optimize your department or company, please visit for classes and support. The Accelerator consists of four 90 minute on-demand video seminars. Each class focuses on creating a GREAT team of employees who are fully empowered and engaged helping build a solid, sustainable, scalable, and successful company.

If you are a business coach or professional who wants to learn how to become a ManageHub Process Coach please visit:  You will receive everything you need to get started. ManageHub is a simple, practical, turnkey solution that focuses on achieving results.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly.

Mike Kramer, CPA
Office: 847-675-8211
skype = onthesystem

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