Tough Advice for Small to Medium Sized Business. Do you agree?

Tough Advice for Small to Medium Sized Business. Do you agree? - Avatar Posted by ShawnHessinger under Management
From 4558 days ago
Made Hot by: tuckerleroy on February 17, 2010 7:52 pm
George Cloutier, founder of American Management Services, offers some advice for management of small to medium sized business you may or may not agree with in this conversation from The New York Times small business section. Is micromanagement a virtue? Are family employees really a bad idea? Should fear really be a management tool? (Your main one?) Are businesses that have failed due to the economic downturn really responsible for their own predicament? I would love to get a lively discussion going on this one in the comment section. Any takers?


Written by robertbrady
4554 days ago

Fear is the lowest form of motivation. You can use it and it can work, but not as well as other forms of motivation (such as rewards or love).

Written by billrice
4556 days ago

I'm not sure I agree with all of his advice, but the bottom line is clear and important. The economy has changed and therefore businesses and employees have to adjust to the new market. It simply doesn't support high salaries, plush benefits, and extravagance. It will only bare scrappy entrepreneurs willing to hustle, even for those who thought we were out of that phase.

Written by TonyJohnston_CNi
4557 days ago

There is more than a grain of truth in much of the advice offered by George Cloutier, founder of American Management Services. Certainly, I agree with his view that too many small and mid sized companies don't do as good a job as they need to do managing the economic side of their businesses (maybe that's why most are just life-style supporting endeavors rather than profit maximization-oriented enterprises). However, taken as a whole, I see the Cloutier approach as quite cynical and short sighted. Using it, a business owner is most likely to get marginal short term gain both in terms of a boost to their ego and performance while in the mid and longer term sacrificing sustained growth and compounded shareholder value appreciation. I say this because I can't imagine a future for those adopting his approach other than one of increasing isolation, increasing ownership burden due to having to shoulder more and more of the business burden all on their own and increasing frustration on seeing employees become ever more like cowering sheep too afraid to make any decision or take any action on their own. Heck, didn't the failure of the USSR prove that dictatorship doesn't work in the long run? Maybe this nothing more that Cloutier pursuing his own goal of profit maximization for his company American Management Services by encouraging business owners to be dependence not on the management team they have created in their company but on him and his consultants. I believe it is better to follow a more balanced, progressive, disciplinary approach, one where the carrot-like positive, we-are-all-on-a-vital-mission message is used predominantly, but where there is also a stick at hand that occasionally gets used when the need for it becomes clear and unequivocal.

Written by m4bmarketing
4558 days ago

I can't say I agree with micro management, partly because I always disliked it as an employee and I have found that it can slow you and the business down. I agree with you Anita that you must "inspect what you expect", however there are ways to help the person feel you are not looking over their shoulder all the time.

One way is to have what Key Priorities which the employee actually works up and needs to deliver on. This way to get to know what is happening, how things are progressing and your employee gets to feel some ownership.

I also think it depends on who you hire and whether they fit your business's values and whether they have the behaviors you want.

Written by smallbiztrends
4558 days ago

Fear is actually paralyzing, not motivating. And paying vendors late is an ignorant thing to do when they're small businesses.

On the other hand, I did agree in part with a few things he said. (1) I liked the part where he said he'd die laughing about The Four Hour Workweek. That was a book with some good points in it, but it did a terrible disservice to an entire generation of budding entrepreneurs by misleading them into thinking the path to success is working half a day a week - something that will be untrue for 99.99% of people. (2) I think a little micromanagement is crucial if you want to be successful. But not because employees are mediocre. It's because it takes time and repetition to convey all your values, your knowledge, etc to people. If you want to be a successful leader you must "inspect what you expect."

Written by yoni67
4558 days ago


Fear as a motivating tool. Not so important being liked. Micromanaging and controlling all aspects of the business. At this point of my business life, I am a one-person operation. If in the future, however, I take on an employee or two, I'm pretty sure this is not the way I would go. Saying profit is everything is a pretty scary concept to me. I'm sure there are plenty of bosses out there who take a much less firm attitude and are just as profitable. This is one man I would not want to work for!


Thanks for the great read. all the best,


Log in to comment or register here.

Share your small business tips with the community!
Share your small business tips with the community!
Share your small business tips with the community!
Share your small business tips with the community!