To what extent can your business thrive without you? Your business must be able to succeed and grow without you at the hub of all activities. Furthermore your employee’s should be able to operate independently of you.
Business owners, specifically the founders, are a pillar in the company. They tend to be involved in many different activities and roles in the organization. Ultimately resulting with many things go through him/her as a way to keep things under their control. Control is what will withhold the organization from growth.
Another factor that does not promote delegation and accountability within the organization is staying in the Comfort Zone. You must get out of your comfort zone and start to delegate to your executive and leadership team, so the business can thrive without you. Now your EGO is telling you loud and clear: “there is no business if I am not there”, which is exactly my point. If the business depends on you being there than it’s not a business, it’s just self-employment. Put your ego aside and allow your team members to be accountable. As a leader you should supervise and coach them and eventually you will be playing a much better game.
Here are some ideas to help you:
1. Smart brain in the room.
The people on the leadership team must be better than you in their own role. For example, if you know more than the CFO, than you probably don’t have the right person on the team in that role. On the flip side, if you have a CFO and you are not listening to their advice or expertise, you are identified as the bottleneck. You don’t need to have all the answers, which is the reason you hired an entire team. Use the team to provide their perspective, expertise and solutions to allow them to shine in their own role and responsibilities.
2. Get out of the “break/fix” business.
It’s a lot easier to train people how to prevent a problem than it is to show them how to fix them once it’s broken. For example, a swimming pool company can teach a summer employee to scoop debris out of a pool each week, but it needs an expert – often the company owner – to replace a pump that overheated due to a clogged drain.
3. Go on vacation and disconnect.
I know, I know. It’s hard to be disconnected these days. We feel this huge need to be connected all the time, but if you are connected all the time for sure there is something else you are not doing. In this case going on vacations will force you to delegate tasks, but more importantly you will have time to think. Start slowly by taking evenings and weekends off completely. Leave your cell phone and computer at the office; do not reply to messages. Then take a day off midweek and do the same. At first, employees won’t believe you’re serious, until they see that you‘re really not replying to them. Once they realize they’re on their own, the best ones will start to make more decisions independently. This is when the magic begins. When you realize things can be solved without you. It’s amazing how smart most people are if you give them a chance to show it.
4. Train your employees to think as an owner.
Ask your employees what they would do in your shoes. Encourage them to solve their own problems. When an employee comes to you with a situation, before jumping in with a solution, ask, “If it were your business, what would you do?” This simple question forces employees to think things through for the good of the business and triggers a decision, which then makes it a habit that when cultivated will have them thinking like an owner.