Control Issues

Drawing the Line

All employees want to be considered indispensable, and that mind-set can motivate them to work harder. But when their desire for control spins out of control, you've got a problem.

Chris Dyson, 31, founder and president of Nashua, New Hampshire-based mobile advertising company Ads on Wheels, experienced such a problem. Six months after hiring a few technology consultants to develop the company's Web site and proprietary technology, Dyson realized he didn't know what they were doing, and they weren't telling him.

He forced himself into the loop by talking to his tech employees about what they were up to and reading up on the technology. He also started cross-training employees so no single worker was irreplaceable. "You don't want to lose control of any facet of your company," he says. "You have to react." Today, he has 30 employees and annual sales of about $1 million.

Chris Penttila is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist who covers workplace issues on her blog,

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This article was originally published in the October 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Control Issues.

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