Friday, March 27, 2009

Micromanaging or are you burning yourself out?

2008 and 2009 so far have taught me two very important lessons. I will cover both in two separate installments.

Lesson 1: Micromanagement

First, let’s define what micromanagement is, according to

   /ˈmaɪkroʊˌmænɪdʒ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [mahy-kroh-man-ij] Show IPA
–verb (used with object), -aged, -ag⋅ing.
to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.

I like planning. In fact, I love planning. An old boss of mine used to say that the Japanese spend 70% of the time planning. True? I’ve no idea, but I have seen better and more effective results when I plan whatever I’m going to do.

Planning then starts to become addictive and soon you find yourself trying to plan not only your work, but the work of the people you work with.

You want to cover all the bases. You hide your “control-thirst” behind an attitude of “I want to help, I want to teach, to lead”. And in the end you realize there just isn’t enough time to control every variable and more importantly, there isn’t enough time, energy or patience to “control” people.

You are going crazy trying to take care of all the details, people start to hate you because you want them to do things your way, the results are not good and the stress levels rise rapidly.

A crisis is reached.
You reach a crisis.
The smell of smoke coming from your brain.
The realization of the time spent away from family, friends and hobbies.
The thought: Was it worth it?

No, it’s not. It doesn’t matter If you made a lot of money.

My advice?

Chill. Forget about control. Make peace with the fact that it’s not realistic to control everything. In fact, it’s not necessary. Trust in the people you work with (See the podcasts about delegation at

Prioritize. How? One really good way is using Pareto’s Law (also known as the 80-20 rule), which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So choose the 20% of activities that have the 80% of impact in your operation, and focus on that.

Pareto’s Law is just one way, but research more.

Even if your team don’t deliver, it’s not the end of the world. Re-focus on that 20%. Avoid anger and regroup.

Meet me here next time to review lesson 2!
All the best!