Years ago, I met an entrepreneur who was seeking financial advice. At the time we met, he was literally down to a few weeks of cash to run his business. He told me about some wonderful sales opportunities that were “low hanging fruit” but expressed concern about the ability of his lead sales person to close the deals. I asked him: “What are you doing?” His eyes lit up as he told me about the next generation of product he was developing. My advice to him was to “stop working on the product and to go close those sales.” He replied: “Oh, I don’t like doing that.” I told him it didn’t matter what he liked doing it was about what he needed to do. Without those sales he had no hope of getting to the next generation of product yet he was choosing to do what he liked to do – developing software – as opposed to doing what he should be doing – closing sales.
There is a lesson in this for all of us. While the situation may not be as extreme as in my example (and hopefully it is not) it is a glaringly obvious example to which you may be able to relate. We need to prioritize the limited amount of time we have in our work lives to do what is most important for the betterment of our companies, clients, and individual careers. It is easy to spend time doing things that you can justify as important, and perhaps they actually are important, but are they the most important things you can do? Are they the things that add the most value or are they merely things that we can justify to ourselves and others as being important?
One of the things we all have to do in order to do this effectively is to be able to effectively delegate. And to do that, you need to have some talent around you to whom you can delegate. I am constantly amazed by people who fail to develop the people around them (including their own subordinates). The only way you can raise your game (and that of your company) is to work at a higher level today than you did yesterday. For most of us, this means constantly learning and growing so that you can delegate (or in some cases eliminate) tasks that you have mastered.
If you are a leader, you have to spend more of your time thinking and acting on big picture items that could have significant impact on the business whether or not that is where you want to be spending your time. Ask yourself, what you could do today, this week, this month, this year that will change the trajectory of your business. Not by 5% or 10% but by 100% or 1,000%. It’s only by thinking about ways to have big impact that you are going to start to make significant progress. Even if you fall short of a 100% goal you will certainly have achieved more than if you succeed in hitting a 10% goal. As Les Brown is quoted as saying, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Copyright @ 2013 Homza Consulting, Inc.