THE 6×6 BOX ON TOP OF OUR SHOULDERS
Are you tired of getting mired down in the day-to-day technician work in your business? Exhausted by putting out fires all day long until there is little time left for anything else? If you find yourself in this cycle, chances are that your business is designed to rely on you too much, and you are paying a hefty price. You may say things like, “I just struggle to find good people,” “No one can do it as good and I can,” “If I’m not there, it won’t get done,” and the list goes on.
The truth is that your business cannot grow with you in the way. There are only so many fingers and toes that you have to put in the holes of the dam. With everything funneling through you, you may be stifling the very thing that you built, thus sabotaging your own success. Implementing a healthy balance of systems and mentoring your people to manage the systems is key to building a business that is sustainable and produces the results you long for.
The good news is that you can change this. But first, we must acknowledge that the only thing we can truly control is that 6×6 box that sits squarely on top of our shoulders. It’s time to start thinking differently and design the company to function with or without you. This is not easy and takes time. I’ve had clients describe this process as trying to re-design the plane while you are trying to fly it. It doesn’t have to be that way and by in large depends on your perspective and how you relate to the work of “working on the business.” Here are some essential steps to get you and your team on the right path:
- Step 1: Time Management (Self-Management). Develop and maintain a calendar that schedules regular time to work on the business. This is focused time without answering the phone, looking at an inbox, or allowing employee or client interruptions. This is time to design systems, processes and best practices. Time developing strategies for growth and long-term results. Without honoring this time, it is difficult to make progress.
- Step 2: Life Direction. Get clear about what you really want out of life and what you don’t want. Clarity of life purpose and direction are fundamental to ensuring that you build a business that serves your life.
- Step 3: Clear Vision. Set a clear vision for the direction of your business that serves your life goals as the Owner. Your company vision should be time bound, specific, and capture the essence of all aspects of the business including revenues and profits, employee engagement, client fulfillment, and systemization. I recommend casting a vision for your company that is no further than 3 years out. It’s just too cloudy to see much past that. Get into a habit of renewing the vision every 1 to 3 years adjusting it as necessary. It’s not about perfection. It’s about direction.
- Step 4: Organizational Strategy. Design an organizational strategy for the company that you envision. In developing an organizational strategy, you design a system of managing your business when it is fully developed, rather than how it operates today. In doing so, you engineer roles absent of people’s names initially and look to fill those roles with the right people over time as you work your way out of a job. A good Organizational Strategy is far more than an org chart. It defines roles, responsibilities, lines of communication and authority, shows employees a career path, and lays out a strategy for hiring, promoting and building a company that doesn’t revolve around you.
- Step 5: Systems Strategy. Time to develop a plan for systemizing your business. When developing a plan to systemize your business, envision all the processes and systems that are necessary to efficiently run the company that you are creating. Look to optimize what is going well and change what is not. This step doesn’t answer how, it answers what. Once you have listed all the systems that you can think of, prioritize them, assign responsible parties, and due dates. Move forward, designing and implementing systems that make your clients raving fans. A mindset of systemization, considers the business as the product itself, rather than a place to go to work every day.
- Step 6: Get Out of the Way. While this list is a good start, it is only a start. It’s now time to work the plan with consistency to get yourself out of the way over time, empowering your team to run the business in a systematic way with predictable results. Again this does not happen overnight. With commitment and consistency, controlling the 6×6 box on the top of your shoulders to change the trajectory of your business and your life.
“Without Commitment, You’ll Never Start. Without Consistency, You’ll Never Finish.” – Denzel Washington