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Andi Gray: It’s all on my shoulders … help!

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Andi GrayI try to take on everything, fix everything and I can’t keep doing that. I don’t see my family enough. I’ve become the roadblock to so many things at work. But if I don’t check in or step in if help is needed, things might not get done right. Help. I’m stuck.

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: It’s a classical entrepreneurial set of traits: trying to control things by being involved and stepping in when help is needed. Building a talent team is the most crucial element of any well-run company. Scaling the company so it can grow means stepping out of the way — and that’s a skill that most entrepreneurs are slow to build. Your job as CEO is very different from your initial job of getting the business off the ground. How likely is it you’ve built the necessary skills to keep up with your growing company?

Finding a better way to manage means personal freedom. Being tied to every aspect of the business, working more hours rather than less, will only tire you out and eventually make you not want to be around.

Instead, try a bit of laziness. Step back and let others do, even if they might do things differently from the way you would do them. Put a priority on getting away from the business to spend time with family.

If you run on big ego, thinking you have the best ideas, are the most able to solve problems, if you often override your peoples’ decision — that’s a recipe for hitting a ceiling.

Lots of business owners inadvertently teach their people to stop making decisions, let the responsibility sit on the boss’ shoulders. They do this in lots of little actions that build up over time. “Let me see that before it goes out.” “You did it wrong, here’s how I want it done.” “Don’t overstep your boundaries.”

Instead, ask your people to take over doing things and encourage them to take responsibility for fixing problems that may crop up. Praise people for showing initiative. Loosen the constraints under which people operate by giving them goals to shoot for and then track their progress through reports.

Watch how well people do at hitting their goals. Hold them accountable for producing results. Provide education for people who want to grow. Give people more responsibility and room to operate as they step up, get their jobs done well and ask for more opportunity to show what they can do.

One critical measure of a healthy business is that it grows revenue and profits every year. As the business gets bigger, the owner can’t be involved in everything. There’s just not enough owner capacity to keep up with the growth.

If that’s true, why are most entrepreneurs so slow to step out of the way? The business is their baby. They care greatly about how things are going. They don’t want to see things messed up. And they practice longstanding habits of being involved instead of challenging themselves to grow new skills at managing.

Owners need to focus on strategy, long-term planning, making sure the company is well capitalized with good banking relationships, reporting accurately on the business’ accomplishments and ensuring sales and marketing programs are sufficient to meet the needs of the future. Good owners lead people, teach them how to perform at higher levels and identify additional talent necessary for future success.

Smart owners learn about management practices that will be needed to ensure success in the future. The best owners are constantly adding to their toolkit of abilities by engaging in education and challenging themselves to let go of tasks they performed in the past.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs” by Kevin D. Johnson.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.

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