4 min

How to transition from working in, to working on the business

It’s a wonderful idea, to work on the business, rather than in it. Idealistic maybe. However, it can be the difference between you heading home and getting time with the kids or you still powering on through at 11pm.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of firefighting, needing to be the hero and stepping into everything that throws a slight wobble. However, every time you do this you reinforce the dependency on you. Your clients see it, your staff feel it and your partner hears about it.

We only get so many hours per day and how we choose to invest them is up to us. Some of us love our craft and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, that’s wonderful – keep nailing it. But for the rest, there is a fight that happens each day. How do we make, not find, the time to work on the business rather than in the business?

Some of our clients have absolutely nailed this, some are in the fight and others are looking to step into the ring.

Here are some of the best insights that I can share to make the transition as easy as it can be…

Ask the question: Am I the only person in the organisation who can do this?

If you are, great – get it done. If not, why are you doing it? The opportunity cost for you to do this is that this time is not being spent on other things. Namely, working on the business. Imagine if you delegated all the things that someone else could do and you invested that time working on tasks that only you can do. On that point of delegation…

Give permission

You have some brilliant people around you but often they’re not being as effective as they could be. Sometimes the most impactful thing you could do is to give them permission. This may be to do, own, create, manage, delegate or a raft of other things. If someone hasn’t explicitly been given permission to act in a different way it may well be a reason they’re not. Empowering you best may give you back more time than you think.

Identity crisis

Shifting out of a role you’ve been in for so long isn’t always easy. Often you can be left feeling like you need to validate why you’re doing what you’re doing. Communicate often, openly and honestly and those around you will appreciate the new level of clarity and direction you are able to provide.

Create barriers

Take time to get out of the office as a leadership team. Dream, plan and decide on the direction you’re going to take the company. By physically removing yourself from the office you’ll ensure you create a barrier to that conversation that starts with…”Can I just grab you for 2 minutes…”. Other barriers include; turning your phone off, blocking out the diary and being good at saying no.

Be first in your diary

It may seem simple but if you’re not in control of your diary you’ll not be in control of your day. Be proactive to block out chunks of time that are held sacred. The most important time should be the first thing in the diary, people we see doing this well usually have the next 12 months of time secured.

Play the long game

It’s not going to be a quick fix, overnight thing. We know that. If you look for those incremental changes that will move you in the right direction and manage to shift the dial by 2% every week in 35 weeks you’ll be operating in an entirely new way.

Start creating the change you want to see

Like most things, it’s not about what you hear, but about what you do. You know what your current situation is. You know the struggles of where you find yourself compared to where you want to be. We’d encourage you to start creating the change you want to see.

That may be through doing one of the above or something completely different, either way, we’d encourage you to shift the dial slightly today. And maybe even again next week…