If you’re like most business leaders, you are constantly strapped for time. It seems like everyone relies on you for the final answer and no one else is able to make a decision for themselves. Most days start with an idea of what you need to do and, day after day, that plan is dismantled by the barrage of interruptions and distractions by other people who need your help. Does this sound familiar?
The problem is that we set ourselves up as the cornerstone of our business.
In his book, “Entre-Leadership”, Dave Ramsey gives the example that every time a team member comes to your office with a problem, they are essentially dropping a monkey on your desk. The problem is that they don’t take it with them when they leave—and you have to drop what you were doing to take care of that monkey.
Doing this on a daily basis trains the other people in your company to continue this behavior–and frankly, as much as it kills productivity, many business leaders like the feeling of being “the answer man”.
Operating like this in the long run will kill your business and crush your spirit for a few reasons:
- You will never grow beyond your reach (when you are the one with all of the answers it’s impossible to scale your company)
- You will have a rotating door of employees (if your team members aren’t given the opportunity to think, grow and even fail, they never take your company seriously for a career)
- You’ll convince yourself that ineffectiveness is normal (and resign yourself to live with it)
- Your ideas will never come to fruition (because you are constantly putting out fires instead of working on what’s important)
What we need is to approach our role as business leaders with laser-like focus.
There is no one in your company that has the vision that you do. The ideas and leadership that you bring to the table can’t be quenched by peripheral tasks—they are too important. These are the things will grow your business and make life better for everyone that works in it. Don’t let yourself get distracted from that!
One of the true marks of a leader isn’t being the smartest person in the room, rather, a leader is someone who has laser-like focus on the goal at hand and is constantly shepherding other people towards it. A leader never takes their eye off the prize and that focus is what will grow your business like never before and rally people to you as well. People want to follow a leader who knows where they are going and what steps they are taking to get there.
Here’s what laser-like focus can look like from you on a daily basis:
- Plan your day, every day (take your first 15 minutes in the office to plan your day, mark your tasks with priority levels and stay locked in on your “A” level tasks)
- Push your people think for themselves (don’t let them leave the monkey in your office, make them think for themselves with you as their guide)
- Be ok with failure (if you let people think for themselves, they’ll make mistakes, but over time they’ll get better and better—to the point where they don’t need to come to you)
- Embrace the role of “coach” instead of “answer man” (this will inspire your team like nothing else and remove you as the cornerstone of your business—believe me, that’s a good thing)
Imagine if you didn’t have to be at the office first thing in the morning because your team was self-directed in their goals. What if, rather than coming to you, they came to each other to brainstorm how to overcome objectives? What if your team could grow your business by double digits next year without you being a key contributor?
All of this is possible if you apply laser-like focus to your goals at hand. Forget about the unimportant things that always come up, they won’t move the needle in your business! Keep your eye on the prize and rally everyone in your company towards it—you’ll be amazed at the results.