As a business consultant focused on streamlining processes and reducing waste for small companies, I see it all. Here's the Top 5 things you can do to eliminate having to bring me in to resolve your problems for you.
Understand where your problems and successes are coming from
Paretos principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Understanding that those 20% of troublesome things cause 80% of your stress. 20% of your salesforce probably produces 80% of your sales revenue in that same light. Using metrics to understand where these things come from (measuring who is doing what and what is causing what) is essential.
Finding ways to look at the positive side of things and improve upon why your 20% are doing great and use
Eliminate non-revenue generating
Ask yourself why anyone on your team is doing things. As far as keeping metrics, it promotes the ability to create revenue and should be kept as a process. If the metrics are meaningless get rid of them. If we're placing TPS coversheets on all of the reports and then if someone doesn't do it we have three managers visit their cubicle to remind them... it's probably a wasted process step. When the manager has to ask Debbie what the progress is on a certain project when technology exists to allow her to see it on the cloud, put it on the cloud... duh.
Evaluate what is valuable and what is not and just plain out get rid of it if it doesn't make you money.
Autonomous employees are essential. You can't do everything and you can't physically answer all the questions of the world in a day. That's what google is for after all. Your employees need to value your time as you should theirs. They should have the tools to do what they do best and you should allow them to make adult decisions about how to do that job. I find more often than not the boss is inundated with questions that prohibit productivity or at least slow it down to a slow tortoise style crawl. Employees ask questions they don't need to for many reasons. One such reason is to deflect responsibility. "Well I don't want to be wrong". They're afraid of making mistakes because it's detrimental to make mistakes. A manager should use mistakes as learning opportunities instead of opportunities to reprimand (There is a limit...). Second is that the employee is not confident in their own ability (yeah almost the same as afraid of making mistakes) but they have no clue as to their ability to make decisions.
When employees can't make decisions without you, they're failing, you're failing, help them out. Train them. Another simple way to remedy some of this is to ask them "Well, what do you think the answer is?". If it's a great answer, support it and say "I knew you had it in you!" almost sarcastically. If it's a poor answer, use the opportunity to truly train them and correct their thought process through discussion. Eventually they'll learn that they have the answer and you will most likely ask them how they would do it anyway.
Kill the toxic people
You don't need that crap, kill them. Not in murder style but either with leadership mentoring or by literally firing them. Get the bad attitude or toxic personalities out of here, the sooner the better. Just because he's your childhood friend that you used to ride bicycles over ramps that you built with your bare hands, doesn't give him the excuse to make everyone else's life miserable. Of course the opposite of this is praise and motivate your all-stars and super-stars, but you certainly can't keep that bad apple around your good apples.
I'm going to charge you money to make you money here, OR you can do it yourself. Good employees aren't going to put up with it, they'll leave. That just cost you money in productivity loss, physically finding and training a new person, and possibly a lawsuit for harassment from the former employee. Then when all is said and done that new employee isn't going to put up with it either... and they'll leave.
Some of the most hated people in the workplace are lazy because they don't do work so don't be THAT person. Rather, be the person that's so damn lazy that you need to find an easier way to do things. The lazier you are, the more innovative and productive you'll actually become. Some things take time to set up, but once a program or protocol is set up, it's set up. Make a tweak here or there and don't get caught up in the process (That's my job) but get your work done easier.
If you need to gather data, don't stand on the corner with a clipboard, email a google survey out to tons of people. If you need a couch in your office (yeah I'm picking on you if you're reading this) don't go on the internet and around town looking for couches, OUTSOURCE that to an interior designer. Say "come to my office, look at it, pick out a couch, deliver it, send me a bill". The lazier you are determines how much automation you need, the more automated and outsourced and streamlined processes are, guess what, you'll be more liked in the office because it's easier for everyone.
This list is extremely simplified but it will help. If you still need my help, feel free to contact me.
Cory Myres is a Process Consultant and Leadership Advisor from Lubbock, TX