Are you ready to play doubles match?
As an entrepreneur, you start the business and over a period of time grow it. There comes a time in this journey that growing further becomes a challenge and you need to take on board an expert who will manage a particular business function for you; as the business grows beyond your personal capacity to manage.
Naturally, you start searching for a senior person to staff this emerging need. Since the position is at senior level; you need person with requisite qualifications as well as with years of relevant experience; which will make you comfortable to handover the responsibilities in a particular area to him and take the business ahead.
You generally succeed in getting the desired person in your immediate personal or professional network. The person comes on board and starts working and there starts discomfort.
You suddenly start comparing the new person’s managing style with your working style, and you start finding differences there. Some are useful while some are not matching with your working style.
This creates a turbulence. You start feeling that the new person is not managing the work the way you would have managed, in your own way you try to correct the new person’s working style by giving decisions in the new person’s area of responsibility.
This creates friction, and you suddenly realise that you are not only doing your work; but also are taking over lot of work which the new person is supposed to do. While the new person feels that he is not getting freedom to work due to your involvement in his area of working. This is a typical phenomenon.
If you have seen the game of badminton, lawn tennis or table tennis; you will see that there are two formats of the game – one is singles and the other is doubles. You will seldom find the same person winning titles in both formats of the game. This is because the temperament required to play single or doubles match is different.
In a singles match; you are playing on your personal skill. You have the complete freedom to occupy the entire court area to play. Your strategy involves your strengths, your personal skills and your understanding of the opposition. You are responsible for your actions as well as rewards.
What happens in doubles match?
Suddenly there are two players playing from the same team. Now you are supposed to contribute as a team member; which means apart from your strength, you also need to know the strengths of the other person.
Now you no longer have the liberty to use the court area as you wish, you need to consult and decide on the area from where you and your teammate will operate, which will be based on the teams combined strengths and skills.
In spite of this, sometimes you need to take situational calls to enter into your team mates territory and play the shot, if that does not happen, then as a team you may lose a point against the competition. With a partner getting added in the game the responsibility is shared, but the rules changes and so is the operating styles.
It’s no longer your game, it becomes our game, you no longer have the liberty to take independent decisions, you need to change the approach to consultative decisions.. It calls for more co-ordinated efforts, resisting the individual urges to take impromptu decisions as well as utilising the partner’s strengths to play for win.
Is it not the same happening – when you are taking a senior person on board to manage a business function which is handled by you as an owner?
The change is similar to playing a singles match to doubles match. If this is the case:
- How many times we make an effort to understand the strengths and working style of each other?
- How many times we restrain ourselves from taking impromptu decisions?
- How many times we feel the need to consult each other and share each other’s point view on the situation at hand?
- How many times we agree to disagree, yet continue to play together without bias?
At the end, if we have to win doubles match then team work and the collective strength matters. One important aspect to understand is strengths should be complimenting, so players can contribute individually to build on the collective strength.
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Even after very careful planning, and defining the area of responsibility among each other – there will always be an area (just like the area in doubles match) which will be a “no man’s land”. The team’s success will depend on:
- How we will manage the challenges in this area?
- How we will keep the other person updated on the same.
- How you will review the working for better understanding of each other’s capabilities and for getting better results.
If you fail to do this there will be frustration at both ends.
When hiring an incumbent for a senior positions and taking them on board is an important event for any organisation. At this point the rules of the game change and you need to move from a position of an individual champion to a team performer; which is a new challenge to face. You need to prepare well to win the game.
Hence the question, “Are you ready to play the doubles match?”