If you haven't already read Tony Robbins book, Unleash the Power Within, then you're in luck. He's made this book free to download. One of the questions he asks in his book is simple and yet extremely poignant, "Are you majoring in minor things?"
If you are an entrepreneur, this is one of your biggest risks--especially if you are starting your own company or have just launched a small business. Believe me, I know this problem intimately. More than 7 years ago, when I first started Trepoint, I was most certainly the "Chief Cook & Bottle Washer". I had financial control because I signed every check. I knew our new business pipeline because they were all my contacts. I knew how our vendor partners were doing because I was working with them every day. Does any of this sound familiar?
The point is, if you are doing everything, then chances are you are not focused on the big picture. And if you're not focused on the vision, the strategy and the overall Go-To-Market plan, then who is?
The Major Thing That Matters the Most
The most major of them all is defining your True North and discovering your purpose. If you haven't done this, then it's like the famous coach Yogi Bera used to say, "We have no idea where we're going, but we're making great time." Why run like hell when you haven't firmed up the direction on your corporate compass? Stop, step back and white board why you got into this business in the first place. What have you set out to do? And please don't answer "make money" or "be profitable" as these are outcomes of building a successful business. They are NOT the reason for starting a business.
If you need some inspiration, consider reading Blake Mycoskie's book, Start Something That Matters. It's a great inspirational book on Blake's journey to start Tom's Shoes and some of the really important lessons he's learned along the way. At the risk of oversimplifying his point, he wants everyone to start a company that matters ... not just to you and your employees, but to the world. Why should anyone care if you go out of business or survive and thrive? The root of this answer is not how much you take, but how much you give to the world; a similar theme to being a go-giver.
Once you have discovered, articulated, refined and rolled out your True North, then you job is about creating and maintaining the vision that inspires others "to take massive action" (borrowing a phrase from Tony Robbins here) right alongside of you. If you are pulled into the weeds on every minor detail, or are such a control freak that you can't trust your team to do what needs to be done, then you are doomed to remain a small business if you remain in business at all.
The Minor Things That Matter the Least
The problem is, all of the minor stuff tends to feel major at the time it's happening. When you see that you're behind on your email, that sense of panic sets in and you work double time just to keep up with your bloated in-box. (My answer to this was to opt-out of email completely).
When there's a problem in production, your immediate knee jerk reaction is to embody a fire fighter. Specifically, to "suit up and run into the burning building"--even when you are needed outside the flaming house the most. If you'll notice the Fire Chief rarely is the one inside the burning house. He or she can usually be found out on the street barking orders to ensure a concerted effort occurs.
When your sales pipeline is low, the gut reaction is to pick up the phone and dial for dollars. It's not that this doesn't work--it totally does, but it takes you away from the leadership position where you need to reside in order to understand what the problems really are. Specifically, why you're not getting referral business, why your current clients are not raving fans, and why your sales team are struggling to increase your pipeline.
And I could go on and talk about Finance, HR, PR, Marketing, Operations, IT, Promotions, Loyalty, and a whole host of others. That's because while each subject matters is incredibly important, most of the day to day tasks are left handled by your more capable counter parts. The less you do in these areas, the more you oversee and manage them.
So when you find yourself majoring in minor things. Take a deep breath and a step back. Figure out who, other than you, should really be handling the situation, and empower them to do so. This will free you up to focus on what truly matters to your business.