A debut guide offers management advice from a successful small-business owner.
This short yet substantive book presents a compelling case for focusing on company culture rather than monetary compensation. Botma, who built and runs a financial brokerage firm, writes passionately about his belief that employee motivation is based not on the size of the paycheck but on three fundamentals: freedom, affirmation, and purpose. He begins by discussing the “mindset shift” he went through when a valued employee resigned. By evaluating the loss, he realized “I hadn’t formally created a purpose, defined it, and woven it into my business.” The remainder of the manual dissects the three fundamentals; each is covered in a chapter with relevant examples and a few select references to other sources. At the end of each chapter, the author includes “Rebuttal,” in which he anticipates and addresses objections (a nice technique to quell uncertainty about adopting his ideas); “Key Takeaways,” a bulleted summary of the section’s content; and “My Intentional Actions,” blank lines to be filled in by readers. The text is largely based on Botma’s experience managing his own business, but he also uses the lessons he learned to counsel others. For example, he demonstrates ways in which he enabled employee freedom, such as taking his staff to a spring training major league baseball game on a workday. (The author’s company is located in Arizona, where some teams hold spring training.) Botma was confident his employees would get their work done despite the outing. He concludes: “When you don’t trust your employees, you are stuck either doing everything yourself or micromanaging everyone around you.” In writing about affirmations, the author wisely distinguishes between positive and negative messages conveyed by management, offering a useful nine-step implementation process. He writes that using affirmations correctly can change an employee’s attitude “from confidence killer to killer confidence.” Perhaps most important, Botma asserts, is providing employees with a “unified purpose” for their efforts. (Purpose is an important theme in the powerful book.) The final chapter neatly ties the three fundamentals together.
Well-crafted and heartfelt management tips; a dose of humanity particularly appropriate for driven entrepreneurs.