OK, I get to have two New Year’s celebrations. But, I use the one that comes in September/October to re-evaluate my life and my choices. Since many of you (still) operate using fiscal years (or cater to the government), this is an appropriate time to evaluate your own enterprise and life. Here is a list of questions that should be addressed.
1. What systems need installation to afford me a better means to control my work (and personal) life?
Yes, as entrepreneurs, we tend to adore chaos, but our families, clients, and employees DON’T! And, I know you hate my preaching for a plan- but you really need one (business and/or marketing). For the next 45 days (until the new moon that arrives [7 November 2010]), keep a log of your work hours and how you spend your time for the next six weeks. Do the same for your personal life for a week or two.
Each week, determine which one or two key activities used more than a few hours of your time doing things you do not enjoy. Then, ask your consultant (I AM available 🙂 ) what tools or systems can automate those processes.
Your goal is to eliminate about 15 hours a week (about 20% of your time) doing things you least enjoy, and to creating systems for them by the end of the test period.
Regarding your family time, make sure you are spending enough time with each of your loved ones, and that you do things THEY enjoy (sometimes you won’t) to ensure what I call shalom bayit [domestic harmony, excellent family relations]. It will make things smoother at home- and, at work.
2. What avenues can I pursue to reduce my sense of isolation?
When we feel isolated or alone, our enthusiasm and creativity suffer. (Neither “coffee klatches” nor “water-cooler discussions” pervade smaller enterprises.) I have recreated that by finding a group of people with whom I interact every morning – in a coffee shop, of course!
Here are a few other ways.
- Find two or three key projects where you will involve your staff and/or business partners. This will also serve to increase their sense of participation and collaboration.
- Find one or two professional peer groups in your area and get permission to visit an upcoming meeting.
3. What is it costing me to be right all the time? Or… How can I stop holding onto my fantastic idea just a little too long?
Keep your own bravado in check: Make an accounting of all those ideas you are still carrying around with you; they’ve overstayed their welcome. If you can’t find at least 5, ask your employees or a consultant for help. Find a way to sell off or release those dead projects from life support by 7 November 2010. (Yes, I live my life by the moons…)
4. Can I be more effective If I outsource certain functions/ projects?
Can you name two or three projects worth outsourcing in your company right now? PC maintenance, HR support, administrative assistance and back office functions are good places to evaluate.
5. What would the value be of outsourcing the “people development” to someone else in my company? (Or, what leadership or peer groups would help me refine those skills?)
Many of us can hardly find the time to manage our own schedules and performance, let alone our employees’. Attrition due to poor leadership and people management can cost 2-5 times that employee’s salary!
If you are serious about becoming a leader, find some great development programs, and surround yourself with the leaders you emulate (see step 2 above). Join their business groups. Make it an ongoing process and be prepared to do the work. Ask your consultant (need I remind you again 🙂 ) to recommend some training for you. Be prepared to offload assignments that are consuming your time and are non-strategic, because this will consume significant and unnecessary energy.