Daily details

You might think that Mory
Ejabat has too many jobs to pay attention to all the details.

After all, Ejabat is co-founder,
chairman, president and CEO of
Zhone Technologies Inc. And
while those titles imply a lot of
responsibilities, Ejabat still makes
it his top priority to always know
what’s going on at Zhone, a global provider of advanced telecommunications equipment.

But keeping on top of the
details doesn’t mean that Ejabat
is constantly breathing down
the neck of his 450 employees.
Instead, he makes it a point to
let managers handle their own
departments and day-to-day
activities, and then checks in
regularly on the goals that he
has set with them. As a result,
Zhone — which posted 2007
revenue of $174.5 million — is
a place where people feel
empowered while the leadership team has been able to
instill a strong sense of

Smart Business spoke with
Ejabat about how you can pay
attention without micromanaging and why you need to listen
to employee ideas to empower

Pay attention to the details without
Something that
has worked for me is really
paying attention to details,
because the details sometimes come back and bite you
if you don’t pay attention. You
have to be fully organized,
and you have to know exactly
what’s going on and what’s

But paying attention to the
details and micromanagement
are two different views. You
should pay attention to the
details so you can ask the right
questions, but if you want to
micromanage, then your
organization won’t work. You
should let the day-to-day management happen through the
managers of the people. But
you have to know enough
details about everything to ask
the right questions.

(Our managers) focus on
the market that we are in,
how we are doing, how we
are paying attention to every
detail of our day-to-day job
and what opportunities come
across our table. Then, you do
the work to understand the
project well and establish
checkpoints for yourself on
where you want to be.

You need to understand the
project or the scope of work,
and then ask the questions
that are related to your plans
for the long-term outcome of
the job rather than what is
going on today.

Create clear goals before giving
You must establish the goal with them, ensure
they understand it and buy in
to it before you make them
accountable. You have to
make sure everybody understands what the goal line is,
and based on what the goal
line is, you’ve got to start giving them tools and the capability to make that goal line.

It depends [on] what organizations (you are) looking at,
but some have to have weekly
metrics that they have to meet,
some organizations have
schedules that they meet and
they are quarterly, so it’s a mix
of the two based on how regularly you can get the data. It’s
either based on your financial
performance or the quality of
the job you’re doing, so based
on those two, you can set the
goal line.

It is something that you
should set with your direct
reports so they understand it
and know what line they have
to hit and when. And then you
come in with accountability of
what they have to do. Then
you have to make sure you
give people the responsibility
and the tools they need to get
to their goals and achieve
what the company wants them
to achieve.