What’s my job? You’d think that would be a simple question for a business owner to answer.
And even if you have your 30-second elevator pitch down, what actually happens day-to-day is never so neatly packaged.
I work with business owners every day. One of the most common concerns they share with me is how to focus on the tasks that are most critical to their business success.
It is easy to get caught up in the minutia. Believe me, I know first hand! There are things that need to be done. You know how to do them, so why shouldn’t you take care of that project the client is anxious to have done? Why wouldn’t you connect with that vendor to make sure their piece of the puzzle is on schedule?
Of course you have people to take care of all of that. But getting it done yourself is sometimes easier – at least that’s what you tell yourself.
And then when you’re frazzled from being pulled in every direction, you wonder how things got so out of whack. Does this sound familiar?
One business owner I have tremendous respect for is Pam Wasley, CEO of Cerius Executives and Cerius Advisors. She was my guest on Episode 637 of Onward Nation and we discussed these issues. She talked with me about the formula she’s learned to rely on in leading her business. It’s pretty simple and direct:
- Hire smart
- Get out of the way
Too many leaders are afraid to hire people who are smarter than them. As Pam and I talked, she shared how she’s seen too many CEOs intimidated by smart people. To me, that attitude spells trouble. I’m with Pam on this. Hire smart and figure out how to get over being intimidated. You’re only hurting your business.
The other argument I hear from business owners is that they can’t afford top candidates. But if the person you hire is the wrong fit for the position and the company, that’s just costing you money. They won’t last, and you’ll have to spend money finding and retraining someone else.
Hire smart the first time and you won’t have to worry about a revolving door of bad-fit employees.
A mentor of mine, Darren Hardy, once said to me, “Hire the high performer. Hire the A player. Hire them, because they’re free.”
What did he mean by that? He explained that the high performer, whatever task, excels at it. By doing outstanding work, they free you up to give your abilities to what you need to be.
So smart hiring is not only about hiring literally smart people, but also the person, the A player, who is going to excel at the tasks you’ve hired them for.
Darren Hardy was on to something. Hiring great people may not be free according to your balance sheet, but it frees up money when hiring the wrong person does the opposite, and it frees up your time.
Ok, so you’re on board with that first part. But hiring great people is one thing. Letting them do their job is another.
Delegating is, I believe, the single greatest challenge of leading an organization. You want it to grow and thrive, so you need to let people do their jobs. In order to do your own job to the greatest effect, you’ve got to delegate. Hiring the right people will build the trust you need to delegate and make your business run like it should.
Get Out of the Way
Delegating is not a one-time thing. Getting out of the way of great employees is really getting out of your own way. It’s putting delegation on autopilot.
I think this is why the question “what’s my job?” is such an ongoing challenge for business owners. To do this takes a personal shift and a culture shift within your organization.
You may have started this business from scratch, so you technically know how to deliver on the product or service you provide and get paid for – start to finish. You know the ins and outs of the business, but there are some skills that are much less developed than others. You can do everything, but you’re not great at everything.
You’ve got to shift your mindset beyond what you can do and focus on what you should be doing in order to keep growing the business.
And if you’ve fallen into the “to get things done I’ve got to do it myself” bad habit, the culture around you has come to expect that too. Your team expects you to pick up the slack because that’s what you have demanded and shown with your behavior to this point.
So while they’re leaving the office at a reasonable hour, you’re never off the clock.
If this scenario sounds eerily familiar, it’s time to take stock and take action. It’s up to you.
So hire smart, delegate, and get out of the way. If you have this down pat, kudos to you! But if you need a gentle reminder (or an air horn to remind you when you’re micromanaging), here it is. Growing a business is never a one-person operation. Give yourself a break, empower your team and make your workplace work for all of you.