Pocket protectors can be one of two things – those little plastic pieces that keep ink from ruining your
shirt – or people who run their business out of their pocket.
Be they well organized or scattered – pocket protectors have one thing in common, they run their
business by themselves. They may have a small staff of trusted agents; however, EVERYTHING goes
through the pocket protector, making it impossible to go on vacation, retire, grow or sell the business.
The business becomes resource constrained, or bottle-necked when there is a pocket protector involved.
It may be a boss who just is on the run so much he or she doesn’t have time to properly disseminate
information, or a well-meaning staff person who takes on everything and cannot or will not share the
workload. Whatever the reason, when the pocket protector gets sick or overloaded, everything can
grind to a screeching halt.
Personalities aside, there are only a few ways to deal with a pocket protector:
- Have well defined roles and say NO: If a task is outside their boundaries do not allow them to
take it on (unless all other job duties are accomplished).
- Engage in frequent conversations: Every morning and night communicate about the day, who
was met, what was said. Fish for important and critical information, and document it.
- Develop Easy Systems: If your pocket protector is always on the run, be the follow up person to
get things done. For example: Receipts go in this envelope in your car, or this one on your desk.
I will pick them up and put them into the system.
- Create Redundancy: Bring people on board that are trustworthy with overlapping skill sets.
That way if the bottle breaks you have a backup plan. It will take some time to get your pocket
protectors to let go, but you have to have something for them to let go to.
- Find out Why: If you can, find out why this is a pattern, asking the simple questions often leads
to a great solution. One boss of mine had ADD. He kept everything in his pocket, so he
wouldn’t forget things. Unfortunately, those slips of paper went home with him, and once they
went on the dresser, we lost the customer information. After building up trust with him, we
migrated to him leaving the slips of paper with me. I would review them, ask the right questions
and get the clients processed. As we grew, and we developed better systems, the slips changed
into forms and we had much better client retention and order fulfillment.
- Bring in Outside Eyes: Fresh insight in problem-solving can reduce the lack of trust, and help
people to let go of their territorial hold. Often an expert is listened to more than a interior
person – even if they are saying the same things.
In conclusion, let your pocket protectors be for ink – otherwise your business may sink! And if you need
that outside set of eyes, call Ignite Business Planning Services.