A Leader's Guide to Getting Out of the Way
Peer-reviewed pointers that prevent corporate leaders from stopping efficiency.
I generated half a million euros in revenue within the first year I started Strategy Sprints.
Whenever I would relentlessly relay this fact to anyone who would listen, those that actually replied did so with something along the lines of: “uh, you must be so happy?”.
I was miserable.
I was always on a plane, all the cities started to look the same and I wasn't seeing my wife enough. I couldn’t see how to do less work without hurting revenue. While fulfilling the work, I had no time to generate leads, my cash flow volatility was too high and sales were volatile enough to keep me awake at night. Then my wife became pregnant.
This was ironic because my company was supposed to help business owners make their jobs feel less like work. In doing so for others, I forgot to do the same for myself. I realized I didn’t know where my business was or what path we were on.
Our FAQs for CEOs
We often turn to models that create cultures in a business that fail the stakeholders. When an issue needs a resolution, you never want to hear, “That’s not in my job description”, or even worse, “I put it in the backlog."
Unfortunately, those kinds of lackadaisical responses are all too common in America's increasingly cushy corporate atmosphere. In fact, the vast majority of business owners that starts to work with a certified Strategy Sprints coach does not even know the answers to the following questions:
- “How many people are interested in buying your product today?”
- “How many of them are 80% ready to buy?”
- “What will be your sales numbers for next week?”
I turned to my company's tried and true method to change my own habits. I wanted to recalibrate my business based on an ethos that you can take any complex issue and bring it down to its simplest parts. Looking at each part on its own, I find the beauty, truth and simplicity about how each cog best works with the rest to create a well-functioning machine. Without the clutter of anything unessential, you’re left with a business that is as efficient as it is admired.
We conduct four steps to grasp how you are really spending your time:
Think back to what happened in the last three days at work. Jot down the specific tasks you did and how much time you put into them.
For each task listed, assign each a Tier number using the categories below:
- Tier 1: admin
- Tier 2: technician is doing the work (fulfillment)
- Tier 3: managing the work (coordination)
- Tier 4: executive level: growth tasks, joint ventures, hiring
(You can download the free template at www.strategysprints.com/tools)
Determine what energy level each task requires, between these choices:
- Gives me energy
- Takes my energy
With the above insight you gain, identify what next action you'll take for each particular task that doesn’t give you energy or isn’t a Tier 4:
- Cut it
- Systemize it
- Delegate it
In the evening, take 3 minutes to reflect:
- Which of today’s activities could have been done better and by somebody else?
- If I lived more intentionally and freely I would…
All of this helped me realize reliable sales were never going to happen if I was spending a lot of time doing client work. With this insight, I fired myself from fulfillment tasks. But I didn’t cut them. I created a system around them in an online certification course and delegated the tasks to people certified in my method. In this way, I multiplied myself and wasn’t the bottleneck anymore.
We started a weekly habit of scheduling a one-hour meeting to get reports on
marketing numbers, sales numbers and operations numbers. This transformed painfully boring, long meetings into shorter conversations. Here are the kinds of information our coaches review with clients for each weekly report:
- How many people were interested in us this week?
- How many people did we get on our calendar this week?
- How many people are warm leads and hot leads?
- How happy are the clients this week?
- What do we need to solve for them?
- Do we have everything, or do we need to build something for them?
- How many people did marketing get on our calendar this week?
- How many of them did we close?
- What’s the conversion rate?
- What do we learn from the gap?
I look at all these lessons like swimming: When you swim long distances, your head is down in your daily habits. Then, you come up for air at regular intervals with weekly habits. But you don’t want to run your business just staying afloat, from time to time you have to ask:
“Am I swimming in the right direction?”
“Do I like where I am now?”
“What can I learn from where I’ve been?”
This third habit our coaches implement with owners is the monthly meeting to enable your focus, freedom and flow to emerge. These are important elements of being that CEO who sets the GPS coordinates for the business and leads in that direction.
The daily habit shows you how important every hour is and how they affect the growth of your business whereas, the weekly and monthly habits reveal that sometimes you need time to pass to best review certain parts of your business and reviewing those elements doesn’t have to waste time. Using these three behavior hacks, I went from struggling, hustling and fighting every month to a calm and organized way of running a business that is agile and resilient.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor