America’s leadership expert : Huge Growth
Clay Staires: This is Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert with podcast number 61: The Start Steps to Freedom, creating a business that runs without you. Today we’re talking about stair step number five, the how. We have been going over each of these six steps to freedom, as Clay Staires Leadership … As Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, I’ve found over and over as I’m working with business entrepreneurs, business leaders, business managers, that so often we get trapped in the overwhelming amount of work that has to be accomplished everyday. Getting overwhelmed, just bombarded with the task, and putting out fires every single day. This is a trap that we fall in as business owners because yes, there is a ton of work that needs to be done every single day. Unfortunately because we haven’t properly assigned responsibilities in that … Remember, that was step number three. We don’t have an adequate accountability chart, or organizational chart.
What happens is the work just comes in, and I feel as a leader that I have to accomplish it because I’m the one that knows how to do it best. Or if I don’t know how to do it very good, I’ve just delegated it to somebody, but I’m finding that they are not doing it very well either because I’ve not been able to hold them accountable. I’ve not assigned them specific tasks each and every day.
As we move to step number four, what I train people as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, what I train people here in step number five, this is where you find freedom. This is the sweet spot. This is where we want to get. Right now in my company we are experiencing a huge growth spurt. My master to do list specifically for me, my action items are all about creating, and designing, and establishing, and identifying. It’s not, “Do this, make this phone call, and do this thing.” All of these are creating systems. It’s creating the how, so that in this growth spurt I can begin to delegate more and more activities to other people, so I can be focused on the cutting edge of my company. I can stay out ahead of my company.
If I don’t create the how, if I don’t create the systems, then what happens? I promise you by default, and I find this all the time as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, all the time with leaders, and business owners, and entrepreneurs across the country. They get trapped in the what. Just too many leaders get trapped, they get stuck in the overwhelming amount of work that needs to get accomplished everyday. Today as we’re talking about step number five, the how, we’re focusing on designing systems and processes, checklists.
Now that we’re doing … This is the working on the business, as opposed to the what is working in your business. Yes, both of them are important, but if you’re not careful you will get trapped in working in your business, and get, and never have the time to work on your business. Once again, this is the step, this is the sweet spot, this is where you find freedom. So many business owners are not able to get to this level because they are simply overwhelmed with the amount of work.
What happens is you get to a place, and I remember being in this place before. Before I became Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, when I was still in training, and then when I was working in a company, and leading a company. People would ask me, “Hey Clay, how’s business going?” My response, although it never quite felt right, this was the response I would have: “I’m as busy as I want to be.” Because I did not have systems in place that would identify the how. As we grew, as things happened, and we were growing as an organization. Growth meant simply more and more what. It created more and more work for me to do, rather than having a system that was in place that would allow me to build my company on the back of systems.
Again as we grew, and as things got more and more successful, the company simply became more and more heavy upon my shoulders because I wasn’t able to delegate, I didn’t know exactly who I … All I knew was that I needed help. As I became Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, I began to learn, and this was a huge learning curve for me. I dove into it and embraced it, and over the last six years have actually come to a place where I really thrive in this area. It’s an area that used to be very weak, but it wasn’t weka because it was not in me to do, it was weak because I had not built that muscle. I think it was there inside of me to be a strong manager, but I had just never exercised that muscle. I had never learned, I had never spent time as a manager.
Now that I’ve been doing it in my six different companies over the last six years, I’m finding that I actually enjoy and find a lot of energy in the management, in designing systems, and working on the how. What that’s done for me is it has allowed me to own six different companies, but I only have a three day work week. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This created time freedom for me. Mondays and Fridays have become simply just planning days. Days when I’m meeting with others for coffee. They are pretty open for me. Most of my work is accomplished on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It creates four day weekends. Can you imagine?
Again, this is how you do it. It’s all creating systems, and processes. It’s the how. It’s focusing on the how that will create freedom for you as a business owner. As Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, this is what I get to travel the country, talking to other business owners, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and managers. In creating the how, in designing the how in your company. Putting together systems. So often this is where the ball gets dropped. It’s easier just to do it yourself. This is how you delegate work to other people with a high confidence that it will actually get done correctly. When I say, “Done correctly,” what I mean there is the way you want it done, with the results that you want to have.
It’s not just delegating work, “Here, go do this thing,” and different people coming up with different ways that they liked to do it. It’s everybody following the same system, the same process. Once again, you cannot manage different. It’s very, very difficult to even lead different. We have to get everybody on the same page, doing the certain tasks the same way. Now I can manage. Once again, so often this is what keeps business owners. I’ve found so often as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert. I’ve found so often that this is the step that is missing in so many companies because the business leader, the entrepreneur, the owner of the company, the CEO. Rather than designing systems and processes, they just do it themselves. “I know better than anybody else how to do this, so I’m just going to do it myself. I’m better than anybody else, so I’m just going to do it myself.”
Again, it’s not that’s wrong, it’s just that if it’s going to be accomplished, it’s got to be you. All of a sudden your business is growing, but it’s not bringing you into time freedom. You may be getting financial freedom because the business is growing, you’re making more money. But you’re not experiencing the time freedom, and therefore you feel like you can never leave your company.
What I want to do again is talk a little bit about our to do list, and as we were talking about in our last podcast, talking about the what. I want to start with your to do list. We’re going to talk about seven different steps in focusing on designing a system for the daily work. It’s not just designing … It’s not just delegating work, delegating tasks. As a matter of fact what I say very often as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert is, “I never want to delegate a task again.” I shoot for that, that’s actually a goal of mine is not to delegate a task again. What I want to do is always delegate a system.
Let’s talk about how we do that. Step number one, how will each of the tasks need to be done? We need to identify. Now that you have this mastery to do list, and you have tasks in each one of these responsibility boxes, tasks that need to be accomplished. We need to be diving into each one of these tasks, and figure out the best practice. What is the best way for this task to be accomplished? Again, I want you to be very careful not to just give this to somebody and have them report back to you. You’re going to need to be a part of it. We do this as we go, do this as you go.
Here we go. Step number one, how will each task need to be done? Step number two, list the steps to accomplish each task. I have had, I’ve heard as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, I have heard from different managers and business owners, “Clay, isn’t this a little condescending? Aren’t people going to feel like it’s a little elementary for them, and they’re going to get frustrated and upset if I’m going to this level?” The answer to that question is no. You must do this. If people get upset and mad about it, then they have to prove themselves that they are able to do it exactly the way that you want them to do it.
You’re not saying that they don’t know how to do it. You’re saying that they may not know how to do it the way you want them to do it. With the results that you want them to come out with, okay? That’s very important when people begin to push back. “Well I kind of have my own way of doing this.” Your own way doesn’t work in this company. You do it my way, or I will promote you to customer status and you can now come and pay us for what we do, rather than us paying you.
Step number three, create videos where you can. This is the dynamic duo in each of those boxes when you have tasks that need to be done, that there’s not only a list. There’s not only a process, there’s not only a system in place. Step one, step two, step three. But there is also a video that shows the person how to do the steps. Whether it’s something on their computer where you have had recorded the screen while you have gone through the steps, or whether it’s actually taking a video camera into the warehouse, into the workshop, into the thing. And you’re showing people what it looks like when this is done correctly.
Step number four is do this as you go. Please don’t try to just start on a weekend, and start with a blank piece of paper and say, “Okay, I’m now going to come up with a system.” Do it as you go. Just design it as you go. Keep track of what you’re doing that is successful. Step number five, this is hard to delegate, because most people as we said a moment ago, most people don’t know how to do it. You are going to need to oversee the process of designing these systems. Once again, this is where leaders go. I’ve found this over and over as I consult companies across the country, as Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert. As I consult, what happens is a business owner wants to just tell one of their managers, “Here, you design the system and bring it to me,” okay?
Again, we just want to be very careful with that. It may just be the way they want to do it, and not necessarily the way you want it done. Step number six, this will create accountability. Now you can actually begin to monitor. If everyone does this specific task the same exact way, then it should create the same exact result each time that you do it. We want to remove the personality, the way the … All of the differences that different people bring to this specific task.
Then finally number seven, this creates a course, or a consistency, and organized. A reproducible, and a systemized way of doing everything. It’s how work gets assigned. How is it managed? How is it evaluated? How is it verified? What you’re doing now is for each task. You are putting together a system that you can delegate to other people. You’re putting together a system of the way you want it to be done. How is the work assigned, how is it managed, how is it evaluated, and how is it verified that it was completed? This is what systems allow us to do. Now as a business leader, now as an entrepreneur, now as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Exert, I am able to manage from a distance. I have to be a micromanager because these are my companies. There’s nobody that’s going to manage these companies better than I do. I just want to be able to micromanage from a distance.
What I do is I create systems that I can measure and evaluate from a distance. This allows me to do the things that I need to do, allows me to move forward, and create other companies. While I am managing the companies on a daily basis. This is Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert with podcast number 61: The Stairs Steps to Freedom. Step number five, the how.