“As a man I can be ignored . . . ; but as a symbol I can be everlasting”
In the movie Batman Begins, we see the moment when Bruce Wayne reveals to his loving and ever-faithful butler, Alfred, his intention to become a symbol. Bruce has discovered that his legacy must become more than just his individual efforts. Your business must become your symbol that is everlasting. Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and even Donald Trump have become more than themselves. They can’t do everything themselves. Richard Branson, when asked how he managed so many companies, responded that his key is to do as little in managing the day-to-day as possible.
Your legacy is more than just working like a mad-person. It also means working smart. Leveraging sales, delegation of less important tasks, efficient production systems, proper controls and key measurements are all things we need to get the most of our efforts. Take some time evaluate how you can better utilize your energy and talent to grow your revenue, streamline your resources and ultimately improve your profits.
Your team wants to follow you. They need you to be their hero. The challenge of being a hero is knowing how to slay the dragons, teaching them to slay their own dragons, and not sacrificing the damsel in distress. Following through with your promise, providing a clear path to complete the quest, and holding values above convenience make someone a hero. The same is true whether you are talking about your employees, your clients or your family.
Stare down that dragon. Don’t compromise on values and principles. Lead the people around you using virtue, honesty and fairness. They want to follow.
David Bryant Mitchell is the author of the upcoming book Building Your Booming Business. He is also business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.
I was recently interviewed on a podcast (online radio show) and wanted to share this with you on my website. You can listen to the podcast below or read the transcript.
When you run a business there is never a shortage of things that need to get done. But if you have systems and processes in place for how you do things, then you can automate and delegate large portions of your business responsibilities so you can focus on work that will truly have an impact.
Today we’re speaking with Dave Mitchell about how to build systems and processes that you can use to grow your business. Dave works with business leaders to create momentum in their business by focusing on the 5 Foundations of Business, which he’ll share more about in the interview below.
When I first started managing and supervising others, I thought it was about giving the person the tools, telling them what I needed done and letting them loose to carry it out.
You’re probably chuckling to yourself because you thought the same thing in the beginning.
You and I have both realized that there’s a lot more to it than expecting them to “just do their job.” There has to be accountability and frequent check-ins to make sure the project is on time, on task, and exceeds the quality your customer expects.
Every employee needs to be provided the tools to succeed and the accountability that motivates them forward. Great training does both.
I’ll bet you teach them how, let them do it a few times and then walk away. How many times have you done that and then come back to a disaster after they found an “easier way?” You didn’t hold them accountable and instill that they did it your way.
So let’s put together a training program that gives them the tools and accountability they need to be succesful.
Here is how:
- Using your interview question, create a list of core skills that the worker must have to be successful.
- Now map out how quickly you want them to show expertise in these skills. Using time frames like 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months and a year work pretty well.
- For each skill, create a measurement that the person must meet to show their expertise. Usually this includes quality and timeliness parameters.
Just making the checklist won’t work. You have to use it for every new hire – regardless of their credentials or experience. When the journeyman with 25 years of experience rolls his eyes at it, you continue to press him to sign off the expertise. It communicates very clearly that you have areas you will not compromise on. It also tells the old-timers that it does not matter how it was done someplace else – it’s done your way and to your standards. If they want to improve the process, then they need to first do it your way. They can propose their way after they have signed off on yours.
I use this competency punch-list in the interviews. Revisit it occasionally with the guys who have been with you for a while. You would be surprised at how quality and timeliness improve by using training this way.
David Bryant Mitchell is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.
Few things in life are equal to the joy of a job well done.
But for most business leaders, we feel the job is never “done”.
One day I was sitting at the table with my family. Sarah (my lovely and patient wife) was telling me about her day. Suddenly she says:
“Care to join us?”
I had drifted away from my family to think about the concerns I had at the office. I was steeling time from my family. This was not a one-time occurrence.
It was then that I decided I had to change a few things.
I started re-evaluating what I was doing and decided that I needed to train my staff better. It was relieving to discover how effective I could be – and I wasn’t overwhelmed.
Many of us as business leaders assume too much accountability. I’m not saying responsibility because we are always responsible for what occurs under our leadership. I’m saying that we do not share accountability with our team – or we fail to make a team that we hold accountable. By delegating and holding our team accountable, we can move the business forward without getting bogged down.
I often talk about the business leader who is still “swinging the hammer.” Instead of running a business, he has positioned himself to be the business. He has not developed a team that will allow him to delegate and leave him with the most important tasks – developing the business.
Even if you are a “one-man-army” there are ways to delegate and develop a team. There are great resources of bookkeeping/accounting, webdesign, setting appointments and even answering your phone. You can out-source these locally or use services like odesk.com, elance.com and Fiverr.com.
Remember you don’t have to go it alone. Do it, delegate it, or dump it.
Recently, global sentiment towards entrepreneurs and businessmen/women has become jealous and antagonistic. This antagonism towards business owners is not as strong towards the struggling business owner, but more towards those individuals who build successful businesses.
One target of this growing sentiment is Sir Richard Branson.
While he lives on his own island, hangs out with supermodels and actors, and gives billions to charities, he wasn’t born into such wealth and fame.
You probably wouldn’t have guessed that he would become the 4th richest citizen of the United Kingdom when he started his first business at 16 – a newsletter called “The Student.” About four years later, he started mail-order album sales in two years opened a record store.
Since starting the simple newsletter at 16, Richard Branson has created an international empire with successful businesses in music, airlines, mobile phones, banking, alternative fuels, space tourism, and hundreds of other investments.
So what is it about Richard Branson that separates him from every other person who starts a business?
Find a Need and Fill It – “There is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration.” His newsletter hit a segment of the market that no one was providing. His success in music was selling records (first by mail-order and then in his own chain of stores) was being able to sell records at a deeply discounted price and still bring a profit. He signed talented bands that no one else wanted to take a chance on.
Start Small – “A business can be started with very little money.” Sir Richard’s business seed-money came from the proceeds from an unclaimed necklace that his mother found. His record stores had very little “upper management” as he gave low-level employees responsibility and created a culture of competition for success.
Dream Big – “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them … from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.” Who would think that a 21yr old could start a record label? Or an airline that would compete with some of the biggest airlines in the world? How about starting a space tourism company?
Leverage Yourself – “Find somebody else to run your business on a day-to-day basis.” Mr. Branson runs his entire empire from his personal island in the Caribbean. He has been recruiting others to run the business from the very beginning.
Be prepared – “Protect against the worst eventualities. Make sure you know what they are.” What is the absolute worst-case scenario? Do you have the resources to survive it?
Ever delegate something only to discover it never gets done? How long did it take to discover that the task was not completed? Was it because the person failed or because you did not create a way to follow-up and make sure it was done?
As a leader you have a tendency to delegate it and forget it, without responsibility or follow-up. Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth, calls this abdication. It’s a roll of the dice if it gets completed.
Some of the first things you’ll want to delegate as a leader are the things you don’t like to do or that you don’t do well. Because you don’t like the task or don’t know how to complete it ourselves, you hope that the task gets completed without your involvement.
This is why a system of follow-up and accountability becomes essential to leading your team. You’ve heard “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – if you are not measuring the progress of your delegated tasks, you are sure to be blind-sided by the fact that it was never completed.
If you are ready to start delegating and having the task done right and on time? Get on the call here.
If you were to watch my 10-year-old son eat, you would think we only fed him a few times a week. He often acts like he is starving to death. He will sometimes shove so much food in his mouth, he can’t completely close it. He is in such a hurry to eat he makes a mess of his clothes and the table, chokes, and actually takes longer to eat.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to do the same thing with our to-do lists and the commitments that we make to customers, suppliers, our families and to ourselves. We take on so much, we end up making a huge mess, burn ourselves out and take longer to get the list done.
However, much of this “over-stuffed to-do list” is born out of necessity. In order to stay competitive and fulfill expectations, we commit to early mornings, late nights, skipped meals and then neglect our personal well-being and relationships.
Eventually we have to get it done, and getting it done requires time. I see many of my clients suffer from the over-commitment dilemma. There is one solution, however, that is the most over-looked: Delegation.
The problem that most entrepreneurs have with delegation is that they wait too long before they begin thinking about it – and when they do, they do not have the right people or systems in place to ensure that the job is done as well or better than the leader herself would have done. The result is that it just seems easier for you to do it yourself – creating the vicious cycle of overwhelm to start again.
Break the cycle:
The first step is to create a list of everything you are currently doing yourself. Next, sort this list into three categories: outsource, hire, and keep.
The question now becomes what can you afford, both emotionally and financially, to remove from your list and forever place them on the “outsource” and “hire” lists?
Ask yourself this question: What will allow you to increase your cash flow the most?
Is it someone to do the technical work that will allow you to do more bids? Is it sales that will allow you to do more of the technical work that can only be done with a license or specialized training? Or is it the office work like bookkeeping, data entry or answering the phone that will allow you to generate more sales?
Get off the overwhelm cycle here:
Today, you’re getting this email – however, I wrote it Monday night.
You see, I took advantage of Spring Break this week and disappeared into the back woods with my kids for several days. I would like to report that it was great and that we got back late Thursday, but it hasn’t happened yet. I took advantage of the scheduling aspect of the iContact email system I prefer to use.
One aspect of leverage that we often overlook, is that of technology.
Technology cannot take the place of intelligent design or good people. But with the proper application, it can take care of menial and repetitive tasks and give you freedom to pursue other avenues.
However, there are those who will spend all their time trying to find an easier way to do it through technology – when it would be faster to simply do it.
Which camp are you in?