The Right Kind of Time to Spend on Your Growing Business
As a business scales, the role of its leadership needs to evolve and scale along with it. There are two key dimensions in which this evolution takes place:
- The shift from a hands-on problem solver to ultimately a coach and mentor to others;
- The move from tactical execution to a strategic thinking.
It takes time and effort to successfully make these transitions.
Doer to Coach
Sure, it may be faster to solve all the problems that come across your desk. But that’s short-term thinking. As your company gets bigger, the number of problems that need to be solved dramatically increases, but there’s only one of you. If you don’t take the time to coach others to address these issues without your direct involvement, you’re going to find that all you do is solve day-to-day challenges. That’s not a formula for success in a growing organization.
It takes much more time to coach others than it does to simply tell them what to do. You have to be willing to make the investment in the development of your people – understand their capabilities, motivations, and shortcomings – and get them to where they can solve their own challenges. In turn, this prepares them to coach and mentor their own teams. But this will never happen without carving out time to work with the people who will benefit the most.
Tactical Execution to Strategic Thinking
This is also true of the shift from tactical execution to strategic thinking. There is always going to be something that needs to be done on your never-ending list. But as your business gets bigger and the scale and scope of your initiatives increase, it will be more and more important to simply think. Think about what the organization will look like next year and five years from now; think about what will be needed to take the business to the next level; think about how you can strengthen your competitive advantage or overtake a competitor, and so on.
Thinking at this level demands focus, it means questioning long-held assumptions, soliciting the opinions of people you trust, distilling vast amounts of information – connecting dots, and working through options. The time it takes to do this properly will only be available if you make it. If you don’t devote the time to thinking strategically, you will find yourself frequently reacting to situations that you should have been prepared for.
Envision the Future
Leaders of rapidly growing businesses are shooting at a swiftly moving target. The only way to hit the target is to anticipate where it will be. Successful senior leaders have the ability to envision what it will mean to be a $100 million business in two years even though it is only a $20 million business today.
Only if the larger business is envisioned can there be any hope of preparing the business for that state. It’s critical to make the time to regularly step back and prepare yourself and everyone else for a very different business.
Are you spending time on the most important things?