Management: Warning, Don't Read This (Part 2: Monkeys, Management & Money)

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nothing more satisfying than seeing staff creating masterpieces like this one created by Rodrigo Diaz
nothing more satisfying than seeing staff creating masterpieces like this one created by Rodrigo Diaz

nothing more satisfying than seeing staff creating masterpieces like this one created by Rodrigo Diaznothing more satisfying than seeing staff creating masterpieces like this one created by Rodrigo DiazThe first thing that I have to say is: I am sorry for taking so long to write Part 2, and I’m especially sorry to Jorge Perez and Joel Perez (you guys related?) and my friend Chris McElroy, who all commented last time looking forward to this blog’s Part 2.

In case you’re wondering, no, I haven't been texting my guys from the ambulance, (if you don't understand that reference, read “Management: Warning, Don't Read This (Part 1)”) … but by the time you finish reading Part 2, you may understand why I have been “off the air” for a while.

So to quickly recap: In Part 1 I talked about management and what makes an indispensable manager. You may have questioned what you may feel about your own management style/technique. (I hope I have.) A long time ago I managed a carpet shop, and it was unimaginable for me to have a day off (sick or otherwise) … I was indispensable. My boss, the state manager, was “indispensable,” just like me … till he was replaced and I was moved to an inferior position I did not expect (or want)! Lesson: We are all dispensable/replaceable.

I have many friends and colleges in our industry and other industries that are “high up on the food chain” and who have said to me on more than one occasion, “It’s just quicker to do it myself than to show someone how I do it. I have to fix it when they can’t do it like I can.”

Back in my carpet shop days we were put through extensive training, and a single video stands out: “Manager Meets the Monkey.” This training video is a 60-minute training session (you can watch it online), but let me explain the gist of it:

Your installer comes to you with a problem. “Hey boss, I have a problem, I can’t set this floor out so it lands where I want it in the doorways.”

The problem is a “monkey,” and it was on his back. It’s now jumped off and is sitting on the desk (or table saw, laptop or car hood) looking at you, then looking back to the installer, then back to you again. The monkey is looking to see whose back it’s gonna jump onto.

If you say, “Right-o, I’ll set it out for you,” that monkey will jump straight up onto your shoulders (along with all the other monkeys you already have), and your staffer then leaves. The only thing you have just taught your staffer is how to get rid of their monkey.

On the other hand, if you had said, “Have you any ideas on trying something different in setting out the flooring?” and have your staffer come up with alternatives, you would have sent your staffer out with the monkey firmly on his shoulders. Then if he comes back still with the problem, you could try to guide him rather than DOING it for him. What your staff will learn is how to problem-solve. Of course, please check their plans if it’s a “major” or if they are not sure.

Now, the reason it has taken so long for me to write Part 2 of this blog is because I have staff, great staff, but they have grown and are now better and more autonomous. What I have done recently is a few technical jobs that have taken me away from the team, and we have had to work with them to rectify small problems caused by this learning curve. We have been recently spending some time changing boards and going back to fix small things that may be missed. Nowadays, the boys keep their own monkeys and deal with them well. You know what? It’s awesome. [Note from the editor: See one of those technical jobs Greg has been working on, which won a 2018 WFB Design Award for Best Stairs here.]


See more from Greg Ceglarski:

Wood Flooring Salesmanship: How I Make My Customers Money

Sales Tip: Becoming ‘My Friend the Wood Floor Guy’

I’m the Prime Minister of Timber Floors (and So Are You)

One Way We Avoid Trouble: The 10-Board Measurement

An Easy Way to Get More Business While Doing a Job

Another Easy Way to Get More Business

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