So often I hear business owners tell me that they're 'a control freak'. And they say it almost with a sense of pride, as if their hand in every transaction, decision, phone conversation, email, purchase, delivery, document gives them the daily insight they need to know what's going on. But come on, that's not why they do it. They're a 'control freak' because they believe no one else has skin in the game and no one else will give the level of detail and devotion to perfection that they - the owner - will.
Is this you? Well, let me help you get over this fatal flaw. Here's a scary thought that may have not yet entered your brain and will encourage you to give your team the training, responsibility and authority to get it done right so you don't have to: every time you feel compelled to check and double check the work your team is supposed to do, you're robbing your business - 5 ways:
- by neglecting to nurture the opportunities only you can address while you're otherwise engaged
- by handling lower level activities at your (presumably) higher rate of pay
- by discounting the value you could add to your enterprise by having a capable team
- by losing the more creative contributions an empowered team could make
- by minimizing your own effectiveness due to the stress of over-extending yourself in a roller coaster-like selection of twists, turns and shifted directions
If you add up all those missed opportunities, the mis-use of resources, the reduced level of contribution from others, the reduced performance or value of your enterprise, how much would that be (in real dollars, please)? Still think you're really in control? Still think this is a hallmark of a business owner who's really lavishing loving care on her/his growing enterprise or is this a thief in control freak's clothing?
I guess you can figure out my own take on this behavior: it's bad all around. And I have a sense of where it comes from: once upon a time, most biz owners were employees. And employees typically learn that looking busy with physical behavior - talking on the phone, chatting with colleagues, typing, writing, shuffling, searching - is a good indicator of productivity.
Yet move into the owner's seat and your most valuable contribution to your business is sitting still and often, not moving at all. Yes - thinking, planning, envisioning, dreaming, assessing are the most valuable things a business owner can do to prepare that one product - the enterprise itself - for all its tomorrows. It's a huge shift from what employment probably taught you but you no longer have a job - you have a business to build! The higher and broader your perspective, typically gained from viewing the business from a level that lets you see it all, today and tomorrow, the more valuable and satisfying your work will be.
This won't happen tomorrow; it needs some planning, effective training and delegation to get done. If you'd like to quick wake up to get it going a little faster, read this for 9 breakthrough ideas.