Bosses Stuck in the Detail


I just spent a day with an excellent group of CEOs and MDs of small to medium-sized independent businesses. All great people with great businesses.

Here’s the irony of the day.

In charge of million pound turnovers and tens of staff they seemed to be obsessed about the wrong things. Most of the conversation was about how to get buy-in from the newest (and lowliest) members of staff. Rather than being preoccupied with the big stuff (how to cut bigger, better, fatter deals or how to maximise profitability) their focus, in public, was in the wrong place.

It seemed that some of them were too keen to examine the micro-detail and they had lost sight of the big picture. Sure, it is easier to discuss the minutiae. But that is at the risk of missing all the big stuff. These CEOs were suffering from Founder’s Dilemma. They had failed to move on from the early stage/start-up mentality where you worry about everyone and everything.

Despite having a perfectly competent team beneath them, they were still doing everything. The phrase that I heard several times over dinner was, “As long as I can make a better job of it than they can then I will continue to interfere if that’s what it takes for everyone to deliver to my high standards.” Oh, my!

Part of the ‘growing up’ is recognising that you are not the business and that you employ people so that you do not have to do everything.

My feeling is that you will never grow your business if you insist on working ‘in’ and not ‘on’ the business. To work in the business means that you value yourself at no more than £10 or £15 per hour, the wage of those you insist on replacing. Time to grow some.

Using the process of designing your future helps people to decide exactly what they are and that they are not willing to tolerate.

You are what you tolerate


Robs latest book is now available to purchase via crowdfunder