I am blessed to coach a group of high-performing, high-achieving, CEOs who lead various businesses that provide great cultures, and support thousands of families and other businesses.
When we sit down (in person or these days, virtually) to talk about what is on their mind, one of the subjects that often comes up is: “I am too far down in the weeds.” In other words, they are working ‘IN the business’ and not ‘ON the business.’
I will ask some questions around why and always followed up with “What would good look like?” (Those that know me, or have read my blogs, know that is my favorite question of all time!).
Bottom line though is that even high performers fall into the trap of working harder and not smarter. Here’s my list for focusing yourself on getting out of the weeds and working more strategically ‘ON the business’:
- Planning. Most often, I see that leaders that get mired in the weeds are not following a structured approach to planning for the business and themselves.
- Planning for the business means that you have a simple strategic plan laid out, like a project that you monitor on a regular (monthly at least) basis and make ongoing corrections.
- Personal planning means that you know what you want to achieve in a number of areas of your life this year, and you have broken it down into baby steps by quarter, month, week and even days of the week.
- Your calendar should be set up with set activities for not only meetings, but for exercise, email, follow up work, personal time, etc.
- Delegate. Most leaders hold onto tasks that they should NEVER be doing. Even if you are a ‘solopreneur’ (an entrepreneur that works on your own), there are solutions for helping you get out of the weeds (like virtual assistants). I always ask, if you’re being paid $400 or $600 an hour, what would you be working on? This is especially true when you are working on projects for clients and then one day you wake up and there is no work because you were not factoring in ‘selling time’ in your days gone by.
- Over-Parenting. Yes, just like there are ‘Helicopter Parents’ constantly hovering over their children, there are helicopter leaders hovering over their staff. You spend a great deal of time hiring the right people (hopefully); so make sure they understand their objectives, role and responsibility and… let them go do their job without you babysitting them. Yes, they will make mistakes from time to time. So do you.
- Super-Hero Syndrome. Some leaders love to be fire fighters – jumping into action to solve problems at the speed of light. These ‘adrenalin-junkie’ leaders are so used to solving everyone else’s problems that team members will rarely take accountability for anything and you end up with a frustrated team of observers that point fingers at everyone else. Stop the insanity and become a ‘super facilitator’ – a leader that asks great questions that they already know the answer to. The trick is to get the team members to come to the same solution that you see.
- Be vulnerable. Tell your team that you want to get out of the weeds and work ‘on the business.’ If you have hired the right people, they will have suggestions and welcome the opportunity to help… get you out of their way.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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