When leading your business, you want every aspect to run correctly and efficiently. You want to oversee every detail to ensure it meets your exact specifications. When you do this, it’s very easy to get caught up working in your business, not on your business. I want to discuss with you the very subtle, but extremely crucial, difference between these two things – and how one is holding you back, while the other can help you grow bigger than you ever expected.
The Subtle Differences
When you find yourself working in your business, you’ll be doing tasks that people you hired and supervise should be doing. By controlling day-to-day operational things, you’re not only allocating your time in the wrong way, but you’re also stifling your team’s growth. When you do this, you lose sight of the big picture of your business. You need to be focusing on your company by working on the strategy and scope of the business. This includes a host of bigger considerations, including:
- hiring A-players
- getting rid of C-players
- ensuring people are aligned with the company’s goals
- constantly inspecting what you expect – and realigning your expectations when needed
- looking for missing systems
- helping to mentor and grow your direct reports, and
- ensuring you have systems to grow the people below them as well.
You must delegate to ensure the everyday needs of the business meet your standards so you can focus on the business as a whole. Nobody else in your company is capable of lending that perspective, and you’re handcuffing your own company’s growth if you don’t contribute it yourself. You can’t let yourself major in the minors.
How to Separate from the Front Line
A separation from the front line can prove difficult for you and for your reports. You need to remember: if your employees resent your separation from the front line, then they are clearly the wrong people and they should be replaced if they can’t get behind you. As you learn what your role as a leader is, your employees must know your role as well. They must understand that leaders exist to lead and to support them in their roles. Leaders cannot get wrapped up in doing the jobs of employees, and your employees must understand this in order to give their best performances and help the company succeed. Show team members that while they are working in the business, you are working on the business, improving it to benefit everyone – including them.
The Advantages of Long-Term Strategic Planning
When you concentrate on long-term strategic planning, you gain several benefits. First off, you gain a 360-degree view of your business. Several other benefits include being able to skip unnecessary meetings with teams; doing deep dives to look for missing systems, overlooked waste and opportunities; climbing up the tallest tree to see which forest you should really be cutting down; recruiting more A-players; mentoring and growing the people on your teams, and continually supporting your teams to ensure they have the resources they need to perform at their optimum level.
Besides these benefits, of course, participating in long-term strategic planning ensures that your business doesn’t stagnate. Increasing the size of your business will actually make you more efficient and free up more of your time – and your team’s. This is a win-win, and it’s one you can take advantage of by learning more about managing growth in books like Double Double (http://www.doubledoublethebook.com/).
Key Things You Can’t Forget
The final key reason you must work on your business and not in your business is to ensure that you don’t forget to systematize, outsource and delegate in order to grow the skills of those around you or, more importantly, to guarantee you don’t miss the big picture! When these things are missed or forgotten completely, you can get hit with urgent emergencies you didn’t see coming, and you can count on your stress level to increase. This, in turn, can cause you to make reactionary decisions and lose the employees and fellow leaders you have worked so hard to earn buy-in from.
As the leader of your business, you have to run your business, not be run by your business. You must give up your need to control and delegate the day-to-day activities so you can keep the business moving forward and growing. Work on your business, and let those you liked and trusted enough to hire work in your business.