They say you should spend 80% of your time in the business, and 20% of your time on the business. In theory, it's great. In practice, it's much more difficult. There's just so much to do, and so little time to do it. How can you possibly make time to work on the business when your day-to-day is so crowded? It's also hard to get the best out of others when you feel like you're not performing at your peak.
YPO member Mark Moses has spent his career helping leaders refocus on the big picture. "Too many people get caught up in the whirlwind of the day-to-day, at the expense of the things that really matter in the business," Moses says. He started and sold several successful companies, and discovered a knack for helping leaders lead. Today, Moses is the founder and CEO of CEO Coaching International, a leadership development consultancy that works with entrepreneurs and executives to help them grow their companies. The company has been included several times on the Inc. 5000 list. Moses wrote the international bestselling book Make Big Happen: How to Live, Work, and Give Big, and was awarded the Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. He is also an accomplished squash player, marathon runner, and triathlete.
On an episode of my podcast 10 Minute Tips from the Top, Moses shared some of this tips on how leaders can get out of the day-to-day and on to the more important things:
1. Focus on the Vision
Leaders have to know what they and their team are working towards. Having a clear goal in mind is critical, but in Moses' experience, "they usually don't," he laments. One of the first assignments Moses gives new clients is the crystal ball exercise, which "is to determine 3 years from now, what is success for you?" he explains. Once they know what they want, they need a plan. Moses says leaders need "the ability to follow the plan with clear focus and discipline, and not deviate with all the distractions or shiny new objects that come up."
2. Know the Numbers
With everything that needs to be done, it can be all too easy to lose some of the details. Moses says this cannot happen when it comes to the finances. "They're the one ultimately responsible for the cash in the business," Moses reminds, and there's no room for error. He even shares a story about a CFO who was producing incorrect numbers, and the CEO nearly didn't catch it. Moses encourages a curious mind, advising leaders to keep asking questions until they're satisfied. At the end of the day, there's just no way around it: "They need to know their numbers," Moses asserts.
3. Find the Right People
Moses is firm on what the most important element of leadership is. "The number one thing is putting the right peoplein the right jobs," Moses states. He believes expensive employees can be worth it if they're good. He suggests, "Hire the best people in the country in the key roles, empower them, and get out of their way!" He comes back to this point again, saying, "Our job as leaders is to bring out the best in our people. So micromanagement isn't going to be the best way to bring out the best in people." Moses encourages leaders to be an advocate for their team members, saying that a leader's purpose is "Inspiring them to be their best and helping them, asking them questions, being available to them to help them achieve the company goals and their goals."
4. Keep Learning
Moses is one of the premiere executive coaches in the country - but he's still learning, too. Moses shares proudly, "I have had three great coaches on the business side." One of the attributes of a good leader is a lifelong commitment to ongoing learning. Moses believes it indicates a high aptitude in other areas as well, such as "their willingness to listen to different perspectives, [and] their willingness to be asked the hard questions." He shares, "I think everybody needs someone to coach them through what's on their mind, the things that they're vetting, and work through some of their own blind spots, including a lack of self-awareness at times."
On Fridays, Kevin explores industry trends, professional development, best practices, and other leadership topics with CEOs from around the world.