Shawnee Love •
July 12, 2012
For owners and leaders in business, one of the biggest obstacles to operating strategically is the fact that they are saturated with decision making. Questions are thrown at them rapid fire all day every day. There is no rest or escape on evenings or weekends either because of those devious little devices carrying email and texts which are secured to hips and handbags at all times.
However, it is almost impossible to see the sky let alone the entire forest when you are standing at the base of and surrounded by the trees.
This challenge is a roadblock to successfully running your business no matter how big or small, because you are working in your business not on your business, just as as Michael Gerber from the E-myth observes. If you aren’t climbing to the treetops, you can’t see where you have been, where you are going, or what is coming at you, and as such, unless you are very lucky, you won’t be moving your company or team in the direction it needs to go.
Forced to react rather than anticipate and prevent, you are in firefighting mode. While firefighting gives a sense of success each time a fire is extinguished, and it is better to be someone who can put out fires than someone who can’t, it is far more effective leadership to anticipate and mitigate the risk of fires while keeping the organization moving towards its goals.
The solution for leaders drowning in decisions is to delegate. A simple directive for a not so simple task because it involves more than telling people asking questions to figure it out. It involves having:
- Working systems in place that people can follow,
- Documented and communicated processes where people can find their answers,
- Tools in working order,
- Clear direction,
- Training in what to do and how, and perhaps most importantly,
- People with the ability and motivation to take on more, find out the answers themselves, and willingness to get it done. (Check out Love HR’s article on qualities creating ROI.)
For the saturated leader, finding the time to do all of these things is almost unimaginable. However, the peril of not doing all these things is that you will remain saturated and unable to move your business forward. Stuck in the status quo at the base of the tree watching competitors fly by overhead is unappealing to me, but you have to judge that for yourself.