Tue, Feb 26, 2013
Our conversation this morning with Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate focused on a problem he believes is endemic to small business: the owner’s inability (or unwillingness) to rise above fire drills and checkbook management to do the job called “CEO.”
Jim believes the next four years will be as turbulent as the past five years. Change will be constant. Uncertainty will be broad. A business owner who stays in the weeds will be ill-equipped to navigate successfully through such turbulence.
Nobody in a small business is likely to know what the owner knows, nor likely to know whom the owner knows. If the owner does not do the job of CEO, nobody else will.
So two questions remain: (1) how to make the time to be CEO? and (2) what to do with that time?
The first is the most frequent question I get as coach. I suggest starting by making a list of small steps such as off-loading something you do to someone else (setting expectations first and doing it with a task that is not bet-the-ranch); setting an hour each week with nothing on the calendar; assigning to one of your people the question of how to reduce the number of fire drills.
What to do with the time? Devote the weekly hour it to patterning past fire drills and looking ahead to anticipate fires (your options are always greater before the fire occurs), challenging your key assumptions, getting the perspective of a customer or prospect (in a non-transactional, non-selling conversation) on trends and changes in the problems they face; if you do have meetings with subordinates, asking one of them ahead of time to set the agenda and to run the meeting — baby steps that save owner time. If this turns out to be helpful, go deeper on getting an outside-in view of your business and of your competitors. Set for yourself the challenge of a list of ways to increase profits with and without investment.
That’s just my view. What’s yours? If you liked his post, tell your friends.
And to listen to this morning’s interview (and for a wealth of advice on small business) go to: