Are You Working ‘On’ Your Business, or ‘In’ It?

Where you spend your time determines how much value you add

As an Executive Coach I am privileged to work with over 30 business leaders and one of the most common conversations I have with them is ‘how do you spend your time?’ As your business grows, one of the key challenges you will face as a leader, is where to spend your time so that it will add the most value to the business. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. When you started the business, there were only a handful of you and you all mucked in. In fact, you had to; it was a necessity. You sold and delivered, and you put together the business plan (most likely on the back of an envelope, down the pub with your fellow founders). However, as your business grows, if you don’t keep redefining your role, then you will become the blocker to the growth of your businesses. So, what do ‘on’ and ‘in’ the business mean?

'On' The Business

  • Setting the Core Purpose and Direction
  • Motivating, developing and inspiring people
  • Looking to innovate and change
  • Taking smart risks
  • Doing the right things

'In' The Business

  • Delivering against objectives
  • Focusing on systems and processes
  • Working with the status quo
  • Seeking control
  • Doing things right

If you are spending too much time ‘in’ the business, then who is running it? If you are working ‘in’ the business, then chances are you are not delegating enough or developing others enough and this will create long-term problems. If you are not growing your people, then you are not growing your business.

Once a year the management team and the CEO/MD should be looking at their respective roles in the business and re-evaluating how they are spending their time. At the top of the business you are paid the most and therefore must be doing the most valuable work. It is too easy to get side tracked into other people’s urgent or things you just enjoy doing. 

So, take some time, step back and ask yourself ‘Are you spending your time in the most valuable way to grow your business?’