I am at a zoo in the English countryside with my daughter, watching rare breeds of monkeys play and eat. Once they have chewed on the best bits of lettuce they flick them off their perch onto the floor so they can make room for new supplies. They don’t hoard or persist in trying to nibble away at food that has passed its’ “sell by” date or they are bored with.
Yet in many expansive mid-market and larger businesses I see huge amounts of time invested and energy deployed in processes and activities that have long ceased to be effective. Managers lack sufficient focus, organisation, and the volition to make “tough calls” on what to abandon.
The consequence is that they are becoming less productive, they are self-limiting their value to their clients and the organisation’s growth potential.
Assuming there is no “spare capacity” in your business, in order to ascend to the next level of growth:
- What exactly are you going to stop doing or do less of this month and the month thereafter?
- When are going to schedule the time and where are you going to implement that?
- How will you measure progress and success?
- Who must be held personally accountable to ensure your goal is met?
In my own business, I have consciously made a decision to abandon working for owners of startups and early stage businesses unless they past a stringent “smell test”. I will only offer strategic advice on dramatic growth opportunitiest to investors with substantial means and managers of businesses with upwards of £50M enterprise value from 1st September. I plan to keep a bi-weekly calendar. Account for the time saved (emails not read, calls not scheduled, meetings not set, and follow up not required) in rejecting the offers and the increased productivity earned.
I currently receive 3+ requests a week from entrepreneurs and small business owners, particularly seeking help attracting growth capital. They have an unquenchable appetite for advice but by and large, a poverty mentality in paying for it and investing in their own performance. Sorry I need to better invest my time if I am to be more valuable to clients, who want to go where I want to go.
If monkeys can make that simple determination without fear, why cannot intelligent managers and ambitious organisations?
© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.