4 Things You Must Do As a Business Owner
It’s one thing to know what you are responsible for as the business owner. It’s another thing to know how to make it happen. While you may need to initially tackle this work in a different order than I’m outlining here, every business leader has ongoing work to do in the following four areas:
- Set the Vision
- Establish Your Meeting Rhythm
- Organize the Work
- Hire, Lead and Fire to the Vision
Set the Vision
The number one responsibility of every great leader is to Set the Vision. People want to know where you plan to take them and how you plan to get there. Even better, people want to have a say in where we are heading together and how we will get there.
I love Jim Collins’ take on Vision where there isn’t an articulated Vision Statement but rather a Vision made up of a Purpose, a set of Values and a Mission.
The work you must do as the leader of your company is to pull together the right team members to create a Purpose, to articulate your Values and to state your current Mission. Wise leaders enroll their people through a co-creative process to do this work over a period of several weeks. The result is an energized (or, more often, a re-energized) team who worked together to lay the foundation of a great company.
Once the Vision is in place, your work as a leader is to continually reference and reinforce the Vision through everything you do. Whether in a team meeting, in individual conversations, via an email or a text, everything in your communication must be aligned with the Vision. You teach about it, talk about it, and write about it. Vision, Vision, Vision. All the time.
Establish Your Meeting Rhythm
A compelling Vision that attracts the right team members, partners and customers does absolutely no good if you don’t have a way to translate that Vision into reality. You can use the structure of a well-designed meeting rhythm to increase the odds of operationalizing your Vision.
You’ll want to identify the Annual and Quarterly Priorities and related SMART tasks required this year and in the coming quarter to achieve your Mission. Annual and quarterly offsite meetings will enable you to be super intentional with focus and resource allocation for the coming quarter and year. I recommend dedicating 2-3 days for an annual planning offsite. Then dedicate 1-2 days for the other three quarters in the year.
Monthly meetings (half day should do) will be an important checkpoint to evaluate progress on the quarterly priorities. They will also give you a chance to address any “Big Rock” items that have surfaced in the day-to-day operations of the business that can’t be easily handled in the weekly meeting.
You’ll want to review the key metrics for your business every week. A 1-2 hour weekly meeting on Monday morning is a great way to evaluate results from the previous week. It also allows you to identify any adjustments that need to be made this week.
Some business owners utilize a quick 5-10 minute daily huddle to make sure the team is aligned and focused for the day. During the huddle they can also make sure any important issues/context are reviewed for general awareness. In my experience, daily huddles was a powerful way to lead our team through especially turbulent times in our business.
Organize the Work
If you are like most entrepreneurs, you may be organizing the work in a very reactive way. You can create a much smoother path for your business and everyone associated with it if you’ll be a little more intentional.
Organization charts may feel like a “big company” way of operating. However, if you will use the idea of an org chart to represent how you are organizing work rather than simply reflecting the reporting relationship of functional job titles, you can gain great clarity from creating a “Future Org Chart”.
Take the time to intentionally design what your company’s org chart will look like in the future. (I recommend tying it to the completion of your current Mission.) Doing so will help you identify where you need to invest in additional capability. This includes seeing more clearly what role(s) you should hire next.
Remember, a good org chart is NOT about job titles. It is about organizing how work/responsibilities are to be distributed in your company. For each role, you’ll want to be clear about you expect of your team. You’ll also want to be clear as to how it will be measured and how it aligns to company goals. I recommend a close review of your future org structure annually. But you’ll want to review it periodically as you decide where to make your next investment in hiring.
Hire, Lead and Fire to the Vision
It isn’t enough to Set the Vision and to talk about it at every turn.
Every people decision you make and all of your leadership must reinforce the Vision. Every hire you make either strengthens or weakens your company’s culture and the chances of achieving the Mission. You must guard the front door to your company with great diligence. You know how painful it is to make a bad hire. Do everything you can to keep it from happening.
Once someone is selected to join your team, how you lead them includes setting them up for success (or not) through a thoughtful onboarding process, weekly 1:1s and quarterly reviews. These are great opportunities to set context and to provide feedback and coaching. They also give you a chance to recognize and reward exceptional behavior and results. Don’t underestimate the effect of your ongoing leadership to drive performance and preserve your company’s unique culture.
Finally, when you see that it isn’t working, make needed changes. I’m not encouraging you to fire people without working with them. I am insisting that you never drag your feet once you are certain that a team member is harming your chances of achieving your Mission. You can take necessary action with care and compassion. You don’t have to be a jerk about it. Almost always, you will be glad you let the person go when you’ve finally done it. Almost always, your other team members will thank you for finally taking action.
If you or your business are getting stuck because of unclear Vision, a non-existent or weak meeting rhythm, lack of effective organization of work, and/or leadership and hiring challenges, we can help! With our Elite programs, we’ve helped hundreds of business owners like you with the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets needed to grow your 7-figure business.