As a business coach, I meet with a lot of business owners who have lost sight of their goals within their business. Somehow over the years, their business has started to stray, and it has become increasingly more difficult to get it back on track. And in the majority of cases, the reasons for such a drift are very similar. It all stems from your business's reliance on you, as the owner. Over the years, your team and your clients have become accustomed to coming to you for every little thing. They know that you are able to handle whatever comes their way, so they automatically come to you for solutions to whatever pops up in their day-to-day tasks.
And while relying on you to lead your team isn't a bad thing, it doesn't give you a lot of room to live your life. That vacation you took last summer to the mountains may have set your business back several months in terms of growth. The few months you took off to spend time with your new grandchild may have set you back a year or more in sales. The time you got sick and had to spend a few days in the hospital may have set your leadership growth back almost a year. And eventually they all start to add up and you experience slowed growth and development.
Your Two Choices
So how do you prevent getting off track in your business? You have two options. The first solution is you never leave. As long as you can keep yourself focused, you'll never have drift. Of course, that solution means that you always have to be there, and pay attention to everything. Which is really not possible, or at the very least it isn't sustainable. You are one accident away from going out of business.
The second solution is to mature your business. And you do that by focusing your time and attention on five elements.
Coherence: your team's ability to work toward a shared goal.
Strategic depth: your team's ability to cross train, so that there is always someone who can do your daily tasks in your absence.
Systems and controls: a set of guidelines and business controls that help your team do their jobs more efficiently in your absence.
Leadership time and attention: your leadership team's ability to focus on the things that make the most difference for your business and your company goals.
Strategic structure: your team's ability to recognize their core capacities and align those with your company goals for maximum efficiency.
And while you won't be drift-proof immediately, over time you will begin to notice that your time away from the office doesn't have such an impact. The few weeks every summer won't set you back for the rest of the year. You will be able to start taking longer and longer stretches away from the office without losing momentum. And, after a few years, you may be able to step away for much longer periods of time or take a more hands-off approach to your business altogether.