You know you shouldn’t be getting into the weeds of HR and Finance (which you’re probably not doing well), nor should you be handling expense reimbursements on a Sunday evening. As a business leader, you shouldn’t be doing email searches at the end of the month for receipts, and even less sending out late invoices to clients.
Too often, business leaders get stuck dealing with the minutiae of regular administrative tasks. Things like expense management, HR and benefits administration, and payroll questions, will eat up your time quickly. They are unrelenting.
We’ve looked at what successful business leaders do differently. Here’s a list, and believe us, it does not include back-office work:
1. Building Culture
A wise business professor once said that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast‘. Culture comes from the top down, and permeates everything about a company. When a business leader lives the values that they want the company to promote it creates loyalty and drives greater productivity.
2. Imparting Strategy
While the quote about culture above may be true, you still need strategy to get from A to B. Business leaders should develop goals and priorities and then lead with them in mind. When employees understand why an organization is doing something, and what their contributions are, they’re more likely to be proactive and thoughtful in their work.
3. Integrating Metrics
Focus on the metrics that underpin the organization. We like the quote “what gets measured can be managed.” Consider tying performance to measurable OKRs (Objectives/Key Results) in order to measure the work that your employees are doing. Aligning each team’s OKRs with the overall strategy drives the company in the same measurable direction and can bring bigger-picture thinking to employees at all levels.
4. Engaging Stakeholders
Focus on how you can build solid relationships with your board of directors, board of advisors, and/or investors. If you don’t have these people or groups in place, a key dynamic to the business’s success could be missing. Outside stakeholders can help to promote your company, provide guidance, make introductions, or just be a sounding board for what you’re doing and where you’re going.
5. Thinking about Optics
Too many business leaders we meet think that optics are old school. To attract and retain the talent you want, and to create or develop the brand you have been working on, you should be focusing on optics. Consider how your organization is perceived – both internally and externally. By creating the right messaging and practicing what you preach, you can live in alignment with your business’s mission and vision.
6. Handpicking Management & Leadership
Not only should you decide who is on your team (which is important) but hand-picking what they are responsible for. When it comes to your team, you’re responsible for removing obstacles, addressing challenges, and being the main point of inspiration. By handpicking and assigning areas of management you ensure that your high-level team is not distracted with low-level work. Too often a management team runs inefficiently because individuals get bogged with menial admin tasks. Hire assistants, or if that’s too costly, outsource it. Suitless can handle your HR and Finance tasks.
7. Keeping Friends and Family Near
The best business leaders are people who have the support of their friends and family. Everyone has their own reason for running a business. Some want notoriety, some want financial success, and some just want to make a dent in the universe. But everyone needs to have a foundation – one or several people to turn to for advice who have zero skin in the game (and only want the best for you).
8. Taking Care of Yourself
This may be the most important point in this post. Socrates said that the beginning of wisdom is to “Know thyself.” If a business leader can’t take care of themselves, they’re no good to anyone else. Know your limits. Know your strengths. We’re not saying that you need to drink kale smoothies for every meal. But taking some time to reflect on your organization, your journey, your failures, and your accomplishments will keep you in the proper headspace to prosper in the short, medium and long term.
Don’t let the perfect become enemy of the good. If you see yourself needing to step back as a business leader and get a better grip on your workload, reach out to us at Suitless. We can help you get your life back, and get you back to business.