How I learned to trust and empower my staff



Maldwyn de Pano, CEO, DesignDesign Plus Printing

“I used to be all things to my business.I did everything — from making client calls to writing quotations and proposals to lay-outing pages and designing covers. 

“Design Plus used to be 80 per cent me and 20 per cent my staff. 

“Now, the ratio has reversed,

“ Employees used to be afraid of taking initiatives.  One wrong move, one wrong decision and they get hell from me.  I used to tell them to their faces:  Don’t use your brain, just use your hands.  Let me do the thinking.

“I don’t exactly remember when  I began trusting  and empowering people.

”“Gradually it dawned on me that I was doing something wrong.  If I micro-managed and a mistake resulted, I couldn’t correct it by doing the same thing.  I had  to do it differently next time.

“Nowadays, before a major project starts, I call in all my key staff – the account executives, artists, production managers.  We sit together, set goals together, anticipate problems together.

“I have set up autonomous units, each  authorized to make decisions

“Dati ako ang bida, ngayon sila na.

“I now believe everyone,  including  those  at the base of the organizational pyramid has something to contribute.  Bawat isa may alam gawin na hindi ko alam gawin.

“I have  learned to let go and let people make their own mistakes.  I can now rationalize that if something wrong happens, there is a reason for it.  Even If I lose a client,  I’d smply say there is something better in the works.”

Maldwyn (extreme left) hams it up with wife Ruth (seated) and Design Plus employees.