Getting out of the detail
In business, there are small decisions and big ones. The key is identifying which is which. The small ones often seem like big ones because they are so important to how you or your company are seen. The big ones are the ones that allow you to direct the tone and focus of the company to the next level, and beyond. A common challenge we see is when leaders cannot separate themselves from the smaller decisions to have enough headspace for the big ones.
Leaders need to create more time for themselves so that they can focus on the more important tasks, the things they are energised by. Instead, there are never enough hours in the day to complete the millions of tasks that need doing and any real opportunity for quality time and home life seems to be drifting further out of reach.
Understandably, all the communications need to be checked before they are seen by clients (aren’t they the most important part of the business?), the teams need training by someone who really gets the business (isn’t the best person for training the leader of the company?), and certainly the finances must be reviewed and understood regularly (who else can do that?). Of course, each of these tasks and many others, are paramount to the success of the company. It is hard to imagine that anyone other than the leaders of the business could do these.
The real reason leaders aren’t finding time is fear. Fear of taking their eye off the ball for just one moment too long and allowing the business to slip backwards. The pressure to keep the business at pace is real. It is exhausting. It takes a big leap of faith to place trust in other people to manage the tasks that will allow you, as a leader, to make the decisions that will take a business from growth into leverage.
Easing the pain
Take a deep breath. There are some strategies to help you with this “letting go” process. We understand it is hard. This business is likely your baby, or at least, your reputation, and you really care about it. The growth and success of the baby (business) is often holding your livelihood in its hot little hands and therefore checking all the details regularly feels like the most important thing in the world. And it will get you to a certain point. But then it stops. The business gets faster paced and the workload mounts up and you will only continue to get busier until you can put great people in place to take on some of that load.
Here’s where it becomes increasingly important to open up to your people. What we mean by that is, put some trust in them. Let them know that letting go of the detail is hard and scary and what it means to you. Then let go. Let them take responsibility and do not jump back in. Ask them to tell you when you might be getting back into that detail again and encourage them to push back a bit. This is empowerment. Of course, there will be times that your team make mistakes and you’ll have to bear those moments and repair them with education so they don’t happen again. Mistakes are essential for empowering your team and you need a team who feels they are trusted so they step up to the plate, and do the work that needs doing!
A client recently shared a great analogy with us. It’s like being on a plane. When you look out the windows on the runway, you can see how fast you are moving. Everything is rushing past. You are in the detail. When you are up in the cockpit looking ahead everything slows down. Your decisions are bigger, weightier but you have the time and space to make them. The details are being managed. You are maneuvering the plane.
It is essential for the growth of your business and your own wellbeing that you rise above the noise. It is fundamental that you let go of the finer parts of the business and leave those decisions to others so you can maneuver the plane. Elevate yourself.
Of course, we have to remember that even though we may look like we’re moving slowly, we are covering great distances at pace.